Dr. Zenithson (“Zenny”) Ng is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Community Practice at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. He received his undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University and veterinary degree from Cornell University. He completed a Small Animal rotating internship at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital of the ASPCA in New York City before entering a combined ABVP (canine/feline) Residency and Master’s Degree Program in Human-Animal Bond Studies at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. It was through this unique program that he was able to enhance his medical and surgical skills while developing expertise in human-animal relationships. His clinical interests include dentistry, behavior, preventive medicine, and management of chronic disease. His research interests include the effect of animal-assisted interventions on both humans and animals, communications and the veterinarian-client relationship, and stress and animal welfare. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, any kind of pizza, horror movies, roller coasters, and crisp fall days:)
When he was in veterinary school, he made up his mind he did not want to become a specialist, he did not want to do an internship, he did not want to do a residency, and he did not want to do research. Yet, thanks to the advice and guidance of many mentors, most of whom he is still in contact with today, and thanks to staying open to serendipity, Dr. Ng is doing all the things he swore he’d never do – and he’s happier than he ever imagined he could be.
During this episode of the Voices of Veterinary Medicine Podcast, we discuss:
- Best practices for finding your own mentors in veterinary medicine
- How Dr. Ng ended up working in Beijing, China for 6 months despite not speaking Chinese (he graciously indulges my curiosity about veterinary medicine in China – since when I was working in Beijing circa 1993 they didn’t even allow dogs in the city! Click here to read about China’s attempts to institute a global ban on the essential drug called ketamine.)
- The difference between pursuing AVBP Specialization independently versus completing an ABVP Residency at an academic institution or approved facility, and how ABVP Specialization may be one way to make yourself competitive for a position as a General Practice Clinical Professor at a teaching hospital. (If specialization of any kind is something you think you may consider, ask your professors in veterinary school if they know of any available AVBP residencies at veterinary colleges or ABVP approved facilities. Follow this link for more information on the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and ABVP Specialization.)
- The importance of getting research experience as early as possible in your academic career, and the single most distinguishing thing you can do if you want to stand out as a veterinary school applicant
- What a Clinical Professor’s life is really like and the work he does when he’s not on clinical rotations teaching
- The importance of keeping all doors open and searching for and finding your unique and specific passion in veterinary medicine
- The emerging field of Veterinary Social Work and how this exciting and growing trend could offer at least part of the solution to combating burnout in the veterinary profession (click here for more information about The University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Program)
- And lastly, as a member of the University of Tennessee Admissions Committee, what his favorite question is to ask applicants and why he thinks the answer to this question is so important. (After listening, if you’d like some inspiration concerning this topic, check out my blog post entitled “What if You Don’t Get Into Vet School?” )
If you would like to show your appreciation to Dr. Ng for his generous time and advice, please consider making a donation to the wonderful program called HABIT (Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee). This is a program where trained therapy animals are brought into hospitals, nursing homes and other places to help provide emotional support and unconditional love to people who may be facing difficult or lonely times in their lives.
Follow this link to watch a video of the interview on YouTube.
Animal health professionals across the country now have the opportunity to become officially certified in the science of the human-animal bond.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), have teamed up together to develop a work at your own pace, online certification course for practicing veterinarians, veterinary support staff and veterinary practice managers to become “Human Animal Bond Certified.”
The course consists of six online modules and costs $299, with a 20 percent discount for AVMA members. The modules are being rolled out over time, with some available in late February 2018 and the rest anticipated to be available by the end of March 2018. The NAVC reports the course will offer 24 hours of continuing education for veterinarians, pending approval by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ Registry of Approved Continuing Education.
To earn the certificate in the human-animal bond, a candidate must be a practicing veterinarian, veterinary technician, practice manager, or veterinary assistant; complete the work-at-your-own-pace course; and pass an examination. Candidates who earn the certificate will receive a copy to display in their practice and online, and will receive marketing tools to help attract new pet owners to the practice via social media and other online avenues.