Dental Wet Labs at SAVMA Symposium
The history of the Dental Wet Labs at the SAVMA Symposium dates back to the development of the Veterinary Dental Educators (VDE) committee by Dr. Heidi Lobprise when she originally introduced it as the University Program Committee to stimulate veterinary dental education at the veterinary medical universities in North America. VDE was a committee of the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) that is currently the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry. In 2002 Dr. Bill Gengler conducted a survey of all veterinary medical universities in the US. The survey was repeated in 2003. The results of the surveys identified the dire need for dental training for veterinary medical students. At that time Dr. Sandra Manfra-Maretta from the University of Illinois developed a distance based module of ten outstanding lectures that students could learn on their own receiving a certificate upon completion. Dr. Richard Meadows at the University of Missouri was the first, outside the University of Illinois, to introduce this program to his students. With the aid of other members of VDE who were affiliated with universities, and the initiation of veterinary dental clubs within schools, the modules have been incorporated into student training throughout North America. The modules have been updated recently and continue to provide much needed veterinary dental education. Additionally, the VDE recognized that hands-on wet labs would be an important part of student training. The annual SAVMA symposium hosts 1100-1500 students yearly and is an excellent venue to hold basic dental wet labs. The first wet lab was held in 2009 at the Ohio State University. Since that time VDE has traveled to Wisconsin, Purdue, LSU, CSU, MN, ISU, and TAMU. This year three wet labs were conducted at UPenn with 90 students in attendance.
There have been many sponsors to thank over the years including AVDC, AVDS, AVD, Pfizer/Zoetis, Banfield and most currently the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry. The University of Missouri and Dr. Richard Meadows has been the driving force for the wet lab initiative. All of the equipment for the wet labs is maintained and transported to the SAVMA location yearly in a rental truck personally by Dr. Meadows. Without this commitment, generosity and tireless work the SAVMA symposium dental wet labs would not exist.