RUSVM Research and Pathology Building officially opens
Photo 2 – Completed Research and Pathology Building
Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 10, 2018 – Another project which was initiated under the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) administration of then Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas was officially opened on Wednesday 10th July.
Ground breaking for Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM)’s Research and Pathology Building took place in mid-November 2014.
Officiating at the ground breaking ceremony for the 19,000 square-foot structure were then Minister of Education, Information, Agriculture, Marine Resources and Cooperatives, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty; Ms. Ashley Danowski, RUSVM Student Government Association; Dr. Elaine Watson, RUSVM Dean, and Dr. A. Lee Willingham, RUSVM interim head of research.
In his remarks, Minister Carty said that the new facility is important and a step in the right direction in having a leading research institution in St. Kitts and Nevis and the region that will serve the RUSVM faculty and students.
“The future of the University is intimately linked to the well-being of the surrounding community, and St. Kitts and Nevis as a whole. This building represents an opportunity for RUSVM, researchers and Government ministries to work together on common areas of interests, such as health, agriculture and the environment that are all critical to the development of our country,” Minister Carty told invited guests.
“This facility, upon its completion, has the potential to attract some of the best minds in cutting-edge fields of research from across the various disciplines, and from across the world,” said Mr. Carty.
The Research and Pathology Building will facilitate multidisciplinary research collaborations and provide an academic platform for students and faculty to address pressing One Health issues – the interconnectivity of animal, human and environmental health.
Ross University in a statement said the grand opening ceremony took place on the campus and was attended by dignitaries from the St. Kitts government, leaders and Trustees of RUSVM, and executives from RUSVM parent company Adtalem Global Education, including president and CEO Lisa Wardell.
The research building represents a US$10.5 million investment in the educational programs at RUSVM. The building features 13,000 square feet of research space that includes eight laboratories, 2,000 square feet dedicated to pathology that includes necropsy and histology suites along with a viewing gallery to enhance student learning, and 4,000 square feet for small group meetings and student needs. The research and pathology sections of the building are designed to BSL-2 biosafety standards.
“Our commitment to research is essential to the future of veterinary medicine, which will involve collaborations across multiple disciplines to address zoonotic diseases that pose devastating threats in the Caribbean region and beyond,” said Dr. Sean Callanan, dean at RUSVM.
“The Center also represents our commitment to provide our students with an innovative and advanced educational program that prepares them to become leaders within the One Health realm.”
Research in the new facility will allow for an improved understanding of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, such as leptospirosis, dengue and chikungunya, reducing the development of antimicrobial resistance, and protection of threatened and endangered species and ecosystems in the Caribbean. Research within this new facility will specifically address sea turtle conservation, feral animal immune contraception strategies as well as NIH-funded research on arboviruses.
Also during the opening ceremony, an additional portion of the new building, the Dr. Donald F. Smith Learning Center, was dedicated to RUSVM Trustee, Dr. Donald F. Smith, who passed away in 2016.
An accomplished large animal surgeon, veterinary historian, writer and speaker, and former Dean of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Smith’s book on the fiftieth anniversary of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, Pathways to Progress, was released to acclaim in 2016.
Dr. Smith’s wife and children were present as the building’s Learning Center was dedicated in his honor. His memory and commitment to leadership will live on with a plaque in his honor including his portrait and biography, displayed inside the learning center.