Vet med starts new center in animal health research


February marked an important step in animal health research at K-State. The Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) was publicly launched Feb. 25.

The purpose of the center is to provide an area for researchers from multiple disciplines to evaluate the economic value and health impact of animal health interventions.

“The center is a research and training center of excellence for applying and enhancing outcomes research in the animal health sector,” Dr. David Renter, director of the center, said via email. “Outcomes research as a discipline is focused on demonstrating the health and economic value of interventions – including treatment, prevention, management or diagnostic activities that are intended to improve health.”

While it has been a major sector of the human health field, outcomes research has not been as developed in animal health. CORE is one of the first centers of its kind in the world, and hopes to develop the outcomes research field at the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine and the entire animal health field.

CORE was publicly launched with Renter, a veterinary epidemiologist, as the director. Renter said he believes CORE will be beneficial to the College of Veterinary Medicine as it will be a resource for veterinary practitioners, faculty, industry partners and students.

Graduate and professional students will be able to work with faculty and industry partners on research through CORE. Many of the opportunities will be “in the field” working with practicing veterinarians. Second-year veterinary medicine student Hailey Clemons said she believes the center will be very advantageous for veterinary students.

“There are only a couple different programs that veterinary students can be involved in research through,” Clemons said. “People don’t really have anywhere they can go to do research, so the center will help them get involved in research.”

CORE will generate and synthesize evidence on health interventions and train animal health professionals on how to best utilize that evidence to influence health care decisions. This means CORE will conduct research and provide information that veterinary practitioners and students can use when deciding what treatments will work best and be most economical.

Dr. Brian Davis, 2009 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said he believes the center will be a bridge between veterinary research and research being done at the college.

“Dr. Renter is providing a means for veterinarians to contact researchers to help them find beneficial, cost-effective treatments,” Davis said.

Davis said he believes the center will be a great way for veterinarians who have been out of school for several years to find out what current research is being done and what the health and economic evidence is behind certain treatments.

“CORE was started because multiple leaders inside and outside the college recognized the need for a center like this in animal health,” Renter said.

CORE will focus on all species of animals including companion animals and animals used for agriculture purposes. It will involve many disciplines and programs including veterinary medicine, agriculture economics, statistics, infectious diseases and public health.

The center was funded partly by a $250,000 donation from Zoetis, a leader in the field of outcomes research in animal health. Renter said he believes Zoetis shares the college’s vision for enhancing the implementation of outcomes research for animal health. Sabina Gasper, the global head for outcomes research at Zoetis, will serve on the advisory board for CORE. CORE will also work on grant projects.

Renter said CORE will develop partnerships and be supported through private and public sources.

“We will work on research, service and training initiatives funded through grants and contracts, as well as through donations,” Renter said. “We recently were awarded a four-year grant from the USDA that focuses on risk management strategies to reduce the impacts of respiratory disease in commercial beef cattle.”

The center will be an important part of increasing the college and university’s research capabilities, a key component in the university reaching the K-State 2025 goal of being a top 50 public research institution.

Veterinarians are interested to see how the center will work. Dr. Chad Hommertzheim, 2004 graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said he believes the center has the right idea and hopes they can implement their goals.

“The main thing is are they going to be able to execute their goals,” Hommertzheim said. “If this center works out and they are able to get some good research studies out of it, those are things we can take and put into effect here in the field. The biggest question is are they going to be able to have something that will transfer over to us practicing veterinarians?”

CORE will help the animal health industry better handle animal diseases and treat animals. What has been done in the human health field can be accomplished in animal health as well with the help of this center.