Externship opportunity for CSU veterinary students gives a taste of One Health, Mexico

May 6, 2016

Colorado State partnership with Mexican university veterinary program brings experience, enhances community health.

The CSU Todos Santos Center. (Photos courtesy of Colorado State University)Through its already existing Todos Santos Center in Todos Santos, Mexico, Colorado State University (CSU) has established a formal externship program for CSU veterinary students with Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur (UABCS), a Mexican university with a veterinary training program.

CSU veterinary students participating in the externship will have 10 days of training alongside Mexican veterinary students in livestock production and handling as well as the chance to practice their surgical skills by helping with free spay and neuter clinics for dogs and cats.

Part of the externship involves free spay and neuter clinics for the local community.“Our students benefit tremendously when they learn about livestock production in a developing nation from experts at an established veterinary school,” says Mark Stetter, DVM, DACZM, dean of CSU's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in a release from CSU. “They also gain from surgical experiences that promote clinical skills while also serving communities by helping people and their pets.”

Ready to go home after a spay at the Todos Santos spay-neuter clinic.The connection among human, animal and environmental health, known as One Health, is a goal of this program. Four externships occurred during the 2015-2016 academic year. During one of these, three CSU veterinary students helped spay and neuter 134 dogs and cats in Todos Santos. In 2016-2017, seven trips will occur involving 21 students total.

And, according to the release, spring 2017 may bring a rotational experience for UABCS students at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The UABCS campus in is La Paz, which is about 50 miles from the CSU Todos Santos Center.

Will Pass, a CSU veterinary student, was one of the externship participants in 2015-1016. He had previously visited Nicaragua and found the externship a chance to continue his ties with Latin America and contemplate service learning.

“Relationships are built with time, and what CSU is doing down here is a long-term investment and a long-term relationship with Todos Santos,” he said in the release. “This is just the beginning of what we can work with the community to create.”