While businesses are the vehicle for delivering veterinary services and developing new lifesaving products, veterinary academia has largely ignored the business of veterinary medicine as a subject for teaching and research.
The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine is taking a new approach by launching the Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship (CVBE), a new inter-disciplinary program intended to spur research, training and outreach in veterinary business to improve animal healthcare.
“I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the Center for Veterinary Business & Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business,” said Lorin Warnick, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell. “The center is the culmination of extensive needs-based assessments and planning, and will answer the urgent need in the veterinary profession to provide essential training for students, faculty and alumni to launch, manage and succeed in a business or org of any kind.”
“We are very pleased to support this new venture with the veterinary college,” said Kevin F. Hallock, dean of the SC Johnson College of Business. “It’s an excellent opportunity to create an interdisciplinary collaboration between our institutions, and to help veterinarians strengthen their businesses and explore entrepreneurism more fully.”
The CVBE focuses on four programmatic pillars: education, eco research, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Through its educational program development efforts, the center will offer a variety of educational programs including a new D.V.M. certificate program, as well as post-graduate executive education. The center will establish a veterinary eco research program through a strategic faculty hire and collaborations with Cornell's Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Its entrepreneurship program will focus on creating a robust pipeline from scientific discoveries to commercialization, and intrapreneurship activities will focus on creating an environment that incentivizes and supports innovation and improvement.
The educational programs will be delivered through inter-disciplinary collaborations with the SC Johnson College of Business and a variety of industry and private practice partners. All veterinary students will be expected to demonstrate mastery of new core business competencies, while elective courses will offer students an opportunity to acquire higher-level competencies tailored to their career interests. Students who complete an eight-credit business pathway will receive a certificate in veterinary business management.
“Our uniquely integrated curriculum will embed the principles of well-run businesses and orgs into students’ medical and surgical training,” said Jodi Korich, associate dean for education in the college. “We’re using a lot of case-based exercises and on- and off-campus learning experiences at hospitals and companies to provide students with living laboratories in which to observe the business principles in action.”
As part of the CVBE launch, Cornell now offers two new business courses for veterinary students: Veterinary Practice Management, taught by Robert Karpman, professor of practice at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management; and Agile Innovation, taught by Wesley Sine, professor at Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Agile Innovation is an experiential course that integrates with the Cornell Animal Health Hackathon and teaches students creative problem-solving skills that can be applied to animal health challenges. Over time, business and management course offerings will grow.
Karpman, who worked as an orthopedic surgeon and chief operating officer of a hospital before shifting to teaching business management to students in the life sciences, noted that these problems exist in both human and animal medical training programs. “This is a problem in a lot of professional schools,” said Karpman. “You learn the science side, you learn how to treat patients and diagnose their problems, but you don’t know how to manage a business.” Rather than learning through trial and error, the new center will help veterinarians build and contribute to effective practices right out of the starting gate, he added.
Beyond benefitting individual veterinarians and practices, this kind of training has a more collective benefit.
“Many major companies are trying to do good things in the world. They need leaders who understand the science behind doing that,” Sine noted. “Veterinary business education at Cornell will send out a cadre of great veterinarians who know how to lead people, innovate and manage teams in a way that enables them to address these relevant problems in the world.”
“We are confident that this new center will position our graduates for success in a wide variety of careers, facilitate the transition of biomedical discoveries to commercial products that benefit more animals, harness the power of eco to strengthen animal health businesses and orgs, and provide a platform for veterinary academia to participate in critical conversations about the future of veterinary animal health,” said Korich. “The launch of the center signifies a new frontier for the college, and one that will define the institution long into the future.”