Purdue Grandparents University Introduces Grandparents and Grandchildren to Veterinary Medicine

Friday, July 28, 2023

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The group takes a photo along with Dr. Chad Brown alongside the bronze sculpture in front of Lynn Hall
Each day, the 20 Grandparents University participants enrolled in PVM’s Advancing Animal Health major gathered at the Continuum Sculpture in front of Lynn Hall before going to class.

Purdue University threw open its doors earlier this month to grandparents and their grandchildren to introduce them to degree programs that represent tickets to exciting future careers for members of the next generation. And the College of Veterinary Medicine jumped at the opportunity to participate in the two-day event, called Grandparents University, by hosting one of the “majors,” entitled Advancing Animal Health.

Grandparents University is organized by the Purdue for Life Foundation, which recruits instructors from across campus to teach sessions related to various degree programs. Held on July 13 and 14, the program attracted more than 300 grandparents and grandchildren. 

Veterinary Nurses instruct participants how to do CPR on a canine model
A grandmother and granddaughter learn first-hand from Jennifer Ashley, BS, RVT, and Danielle Buchanan, RVT, VTS (SAIM) about giving a dog CPR using animal models in the Clinical Skills Lab.

The Purdue Veterinary Medicine major was filled to capacity with a total of 20 participants – ten grandparents and ten grandchildren – who took part in a variety of hands-on sessions covering the knowledge and skills of veterinarians and veterinary nurses. Topics covered on the first day included animal anatomy, conducting a physical exam on a small animal patient, auscultation of heart sounds, emergency and critical care, operating room procedures, working with microscopes, and interpreting radiographs. Staff and faculty gave the Grandparents University “students” the chance to learn first-hand about doing CPR on an animal model, suturing and various surgical instruments, using microscopes to view specimens, and listening to the heart with a stethoscope. 

During the second day of the program, the students’ attention turned to large animal medicine, with a particular focus on working with cattle. Participants were introduced to various aspects of this field, including performing thorough physical exams on cows and studying their unique gastrointestinal physiology. An intriguing hands-on experience involved reaching into a fistulated cow to examine microbes under a microscope. Additionally, the students gained valuable insights into working with total mixed rations, enhancing their understanding of cattle nutrition and management.

Kat looks on smiling as a GPU participants look into microscopes in the Clinical Skills Lab
Kat Tate, BS, RVT, helps Grandparents University participants learn how to use microscopes to read specimens on slides.
Participants share a stethoscope to listen to Omlette's heart as she lays on the floor assisted by Dr. Brown
Dr. Chad Brown, Veterinary Nursing Programs director, gives “students” in the Advancing Animal Health major the chance to use a stethoscope to listen to heart sounds in Omlette, a Pet Professor owned by Holly McCalip, RVT.

About a dozen staff and faculty served as instructors for the Advancing Animal Health major. Special thanks to everyone who helped. “It was a fantastic way to create lasting memories and inspire young minds,” said Dr. Chad Brown, director of Purdue Veterinary Nursing Programs, who oversaw PVM’s participation in this year’s Grandparents University. Veterinary Nursing Instructional Technologist Beth Laffoon, BS, RVT, added, “We had so much fun participating in GPU. What a cool event!”

Purdue for Life hosts Grandparents University annually for alumni and their grandchildren, ages 11-14. Participants were able to choose from 13 different majors taught by Purdue faculty and staff. This year’s program sold out in less than a day, and Purdue for Life plans to offer two programs next summer.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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