Students in a Worcester, Massachusetts high school are running a veterinary clinic from the school campus with the help of doctors and students at nearby Tufts University. After Worcester Tech's program — called Tufts at Tech — was profiled on NBC's Today Show, the innovative school drew national attention. Now local and state officials have gathered together to celebrate the school's accomplishments.
Worcester manager Michael O'Brian praised the program not only for bringing exposure to the city and the school district, but also for "serving as a catalyst" for job creation and as a support for the local economy. He also said that programs like these are instrumental to giving students much-needed skills and allowing them to get experience in a profession they might choose to pursue after leaving Tech.
The aim of the Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic is both to provide local residents with affordable quality vet care and to give students at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine an opportunity to get hands-on experience caring for and treating animals. The services at the clinic are available to all those who need them, but to qualify for the heavily subsidized fees – up to 75% less than the prices charged elsewhere – each client must be pre-approved by meeting the income requirement.
Under the leadership of Dr. Greg Wolfus, the Tufts at Tech student-run veterinary clinic provides low-cost care for family pets within Central Massachusetts' underserved communities. Together, Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and Worcester Technical High School address the healthcare needs of the area's beloved animal companions.
Wolfus said that Tech students get their hands dirty during the patient visits. They often assist with holding down animals that are being examined and help prepare and sterilize instruments used in the course of the visit. He said that the experience students gain at the clinic could be used to prepare them for a job right after high school graduation, or to help them pursue a two-year or a four-year degree in veterinary care. He was encouraged by the fact that the program has received so much attention from people all over the country.
He says the partnership has been a win-win for Tufts, the school and the greater Worcester community.
"Opening up our exposure to the high school student population and to all of the clients that actually need our services for their animals that would historically not gotten care, its mind blowing, dream come true," he says.