The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and Chiang Mai University in Thailand have launched a veterinary education twinning project under the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Veterinary Education Twinning Program.
“Twinning” is an approach that enables peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experience between two universities. It is part of a wider OIE initiative to improve the capacity of veterinary services in developing countries. Veterinary Services are recognized as “global public goods,” and quality veterinary education is a cornerstone of good veterinary services.
However, in many countries, mostly developing and in-transition countries, the quality of veterinary education fails to meet the requirements for the delivery of highly competent veterinary services. The OIE Veterinary Education Twinning Program is expected to create opportunities for member countries to develop modern educational facilities and methods based on accepted international standards.
The two-year Chiang Mai-University of Minnesota Veterinary Education Twinning Project aims to ensure that graduates meet OIE recommendations on the competencies of graduating veterinarians and comply with OIE international recommendations. The project will give both universities an opportunity to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience.
“Partnering with Chiang Mai University on this OIE veterinary education twinning project will benefit us both as we strive to enhance the ability of our graduates to support the control of trans-boundary diseases and zoonoses and strengthen the veterinary services of our countries,” says Dr. Trevor Ames, dean of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lertrak Srikitjakarn, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Chiang Mai University, agrees.
“Thanks to the OIE twinning program, we are looking forward to improving our capacity so as to be recognized as a high-quality veterinary institution within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,” he says. The OIE also supports the improvement of veterinary services in member countries through the OIE Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway and Laboratory Twinning Program.
The Veterinary Education Twinning Program complements these global initiatives. “OIE twinning programs are successful because they are strictly based on direct agreements between potential partners and because they effectively reduce the gap in scientific expertise between developed and developing countries,” explains Dr. Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE.
“The veterinary education twinning program is of particular significance because education is an important foundation to any activities conducted by veterinarians; they must demonstrate a minimum level of qualification and education based on OIE guidelines in all our member countries.”