An Interview with... Dr. Lonnie J. King - Veterinary Medicine
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An Interview with... Dr. Lonnie J. King


What do you consider the greatest threat to the profession?

  • The profession is underperforming in all aspects of public veterinary practice and may not be taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunities to meet societal needs.
  • The profession is being split into so many components, specialties, and factions that we lack recognizable themes and national strategies that may connect us to important societal issues.
  • We need to champion the development of a new cadre of veterinary leaders. The great thing about the future of veterinary medicine is that we still can shape and create it. Leadership and vision will determine our success.

Which animal health needs are currently unmet?

I envision the profession as a group of five overlapping circles: public health, biomedical research, ecosystem management, food systems, and companion-animal care. While our work in companion-animal care is becoming outstanding, we are not meeting the needs and challenges in the other circles. In addition, the overlapping circles offer extraordinary opportunities, such as the convergence of public and animal health. Our profession is at a defining moment. We need to commit to re-establishing our societal relevance and social responsibility.

What changes in veterinary medicine do you hope will occur in the next 100 years?

The profession will play a major role in the ecology of health of all species, including people. As populations increase, global epidemics will occur in both people and animals. The profession will need to be leaders in prevention and respond to these global events. As we push into the 22nd century, the roles of animals in our lives as we inhabit space and other planets may offer a new specialty field!

What is your sci-fi prediction for veterinary medicine?

Food will be produced through the fusion of nanoelements, rendering crops and food animals irrelevant.


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