Rochelle Aran, BS

Describe an engaging aspect of your program and why you like it. The anatomy program in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences is one of the most dynamic, engaging and thought provoking elements of our program. The Anatomist’s inspire you to go further while supporting you through the process of learning the information that our cases have driven us towards. Very interactive and motivating!

Who at WesternU has made you feel supported and how? The College of Veterinary Medicine’s student affairs office, administrative staff, professor’s and group facilitators have made it clear that they are here for us with their actions not just their words. They want us to get the most out of our days here and it shows.

Peter Kummerfeldt

Who at WesternU has made you feel supported and how? Everyone has made me feel supported since the moment I walked onto campus my first day. WesternU really goes out of its way to develop an environment where students can thrive, both academically and personally. The professors, facilitators and staff that we interact with on a daily basis have one main goal: to support the student. Not only do the professors go out of their way to make sure we understand the material, but the class and college in general is structured around collaboration. We are all here to become doctors, and it is our job to support each other to become the best that we can be.

Wael A Khamas, PhD, MS, BVM&S

Professor of veterinary anatomy & histology, Year I curriculum director

Why did you choose to work at WesternU? I was a Fulbright scholar at Purdue university and I was invited to give a lecture on Iraqi veterinary medical education and problem based learning amazed me. It is something that I did not experience before and now I consider as an integral part of any medical education. Student center learning have been proved to be the best for education our future generation of health professionals.

Have you taken advantage of the research opportunities offered at WesternU? Please describe your research and it’s importance. “I frequently get small grants through the office of the Vice President for Research and Biotechnology to buy supplies needed for my research. I recruit one or two summer students to help out in my research. They are usually offered a stipend by the same office mentioned above after they write a mini grant proposal. My research is focused on thermoregulation of male and female genital systems and the current projects are focused on the sea lions and elephant seals.”

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Kristopher Irizarry, PhD

Assistant Professor, Bioinformatics, Genetics, Genomics

WesternU distinctive: Our pre-clinical curriculum employs a problem-based learning educational style, which places students at the center of learning. Because of our unique educational philosophy, our students are provided with an effective student-to-teacher ratio of about 7 to 1 for the first two years of our veterinary program. Once students enter the third year, they leave the classroom and learn in real practices alongside real veterinarians working on real patients owned by real clients! During this phase of our curriculum, the effective student to teacher ratio is 3 to 1.

This unique program produces veterinarians who are well trained, excellent team members and life-long learners.

Beyond the classroom: I am involved in the research club, the behavior club as well as other clubs pertaining to zoo animal medicine, wildlife, and food safety.

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Peggy Barr, DVM, PhD


Dr. Barr joined the CVM faculty in December 2003 as an Associate Professor of Veterinary Virology and Immunology. Some of her accomplishments include:

Served as chairperson for the Admissions and Scholastic Standing Committee, and as a member on the Curriculum, Student Affairs, and Research Advisory Committees.

Honored with an Outstanding Educator Award in the Merrill Presidential Scholar program at Cornell

Served as an infectious disease consultant to the US Cheetah Species Survival Plan

Worked to enhance the interest of girls in science as a workshop leader in the Expanding Your Horizons program for 6th to 10th grade girls

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Jennifer L. Buur, PhD DVM DACVCP

Associate Professor of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology

How do you think the interprofessional education (IPE) curriculum will enhance student’s professional lives? Veterinary medicine is often excluded when people talk about human health. But we are an important facet of One Health. IPE allows students of all the health professions to discover where THEIR profession and OTHER professions fit within One Health. And it lets them practice working in a multi-professional group just like they will do when they graduate. IPE helps students develop the valuable skills of knowing who to talk to for a patient/client and how to effectively communicate with that profession to maximize patient/client care.

What would you tell a prospective student who’s considering becoming a student at WesternU? WesternU feels like a small liberal arts college focused on health care. Everyone here has the same goal: maximize patient care. You will get a diverse set of experiences in the veterinarian’s role in human and animal health while developing the essential skills you need to be an effective doctor. We prepare you for life after graduation.

Linda Kidd, DVM, Ph.D., Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Associate Professor Small Animal Internal Medicine

Which student clubs are you involved with (as an advisor or otherwise) and what impact have your experiences had on you and/or the community served? First and second year veterinary students in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Club have enthusiastically joined in our online internal medicine rounds with fourth year veterinary students at our CORE medicine sites. For me, observing these students at different stages in their education working simultaneously through a case has crystallized the concept that the foundation of sound clinical reasoning based in knowledge about physiology can be introduced and mastered in the early years of the curriculum.

Have you taken advantage of the research opportunities offered at WesternU? Please describe your research and it’s importance. Yes! The Associate Dean of Research for the CVM, the Dean of the CVM and the WesternU Office of Research and Biotechnology have implemented several programs and other means of support that facilitate every aspect of the research process. Ensuring that interested students are afforded the opportunity to participate in research and work directly with a mentor is a top priority. Furthermore, the distributive model of veterinary education WesternU CVM utilizes in the fourth year has allowed me to have several exciting research collaborations with state of the art private veterinary specialty practices in southern California and several large research institutions across the country. My research is clinically oriented, and is focused on the investigation of the link between vector-borne disease and immune-mediated disease, and on mechanisms of thrombosis in proinflammatory hemolytic states, specifically in dogs with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). Discovering what causes immune-mediated disease and its complications has important implications for the health of dogs, cats and their human companions, who suffer from similar diseases.

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Tyler Kent Sugerman-McGiffin, DVM

DVM, Class of 2015

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? The DVM program is completely unlike any other school. You will always be challenged since most people are used to getting all their information from a lecture and we get ours through books and our experiences. Comparing my knowledge to those from other schools, I may not be able to recite lists and pathways, but I can problem solve quickly and think on my feet. Even though the curriculum is tough, the faculty there always make you feel like you are part of a family. Just remember, hundreds of other students have done it before you, it can be done. If that isn’t enough, I did it while my wife and I had a baby during second year of vet school three days before a week of finals. All the challenges really will make you into a better doctor.

Brittany Lancellotti, DVM

DVM, Class of 2015

Describe your best clinical experience and why it was memorable. My shelter medicine rotation during fourth year was at Best Friends in Kanab, Utah, the country’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. During that month I performed well over 100 spays and neuters, as well as other surgeries needed by the shelter animals and employee pets. This was my last rotation of veterinary school, and not only was I able to spend it at a place at which I had externed while in veterinary technician school, but I was treated as a colleague by the other veterinarians. They encouraged me to make decisions as a doctor and be able to justify those decisions because the following month I would be a doctor. The confidence I gained was invaluable.

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? WesternU’s program is designed for highly motivated, enthusiastic students. This challenging course will prepare you for a challenging career in veterinary medicine. The faculty are thoughtful and personally involved in each and every student’s education, and are an invaluable resource both during school and throughout your career. You will get out of this curriculum what you put into it, and the possibilities are endless.

Brad Ahrens, DVM

DVM, Class of 2012

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? I chose Western University College of Veterinary Medicine because the non-traditional, self directed curriculum suited my style of learning, and allowed me the autonomy to pursue my specific interests and gain unrivaled experience in my future area of expertise while ensuring I still learned the basic knowledge necessary to be a competent, well rounded veterinarian. The novel curriculum also afforded me the opportunity and the time to learn about things I enjoyed, far beyond what was required, by providing a motivated faculty of experts eager and available to teach me anything I wanted to learn or didn’t understand without limiting my education to a classic curriculum of pre-selected, finite material from monotonous lectures to memorize. Without putting these traditional limits and expectations on their education, the capacity for clinical and didactic learning at this University exceeds that of any other curriculum. While an average student will still receive an above average education, a well motivated student can achieve an experience that far surpasses that of any other school. You and every person that wants to hire you will know it.

Jenna Danielle Hinton, DVM

DVM, Class of 2015

What one or two elements of your education proved to be the most valuable to you in your career? My education at WesternU enabled me to practice quality medicine in a wide variety of environments with positive interactions with both clients and staff. Notably, the faculty and staff contributed more than just knowledge of medicine, but also provided unparalleled mentorship and guidance that helped me tremendously throughout the journey of veterinary school and since beginning a career as a partitioner.

What would you tell a prospective student about WesternU? You’re being given an opportunity to study at a University that strives to produce exceptional medical professionals; don’t take this for granted. Upon completion of your program you will be amazed to realize how much you have learned that you never could imagine possible. Make the most of your time at WesternU and the learning and growth you can achieve will seem limitless.