Georgia Aquarium and the University of Georgia Partner in Aquatic Veterinary Medicine
Aquarium to become Teaching Hospital for UGA Veterinary Residency Program
Atlanta, GA (November 10, 2005) – In addition to being one of the world's largest aquariums, with more than eight million gallons of marine and fresh water, the Georgia Aquarium will also serve as the leading facility for aquatic veterinary medicine. The Veterinary Services & Conservation Medicine Program, a cooperative endeavor between Georgia Aquarium and the University of Georgia (UGA), will be the largest facility to integrate a veterinary teaching hospital into an aquarium. Designed by world class veterinary professionals and conservation organizations, the 5,800 square-foot facility will provide an opportunity for research that will improve husbandry methods for animals and apply new discoveries to the conservation of aquatic life. All research will be shared with conservation organizations throughout the world who can then apply this knowledge to better protect the species studied. "When we first starting thinking about the Aquarium, we knew education and research were key principles. There is a void that exists today in research and aquatic veterinary medicine," said Bernie Marcus, benefactor of the Georgia Aquarium. "What better place than the Georgia Aquarium with more than 100,000 fish for veterinary residents to learn their skills." "The University of Georgia is very proud to be a partner with the Georgia Aquarium in the development of an aquatic animal medicine laboratory," said UGA President, Dr. Michael F. Adams. "This relationship will provide great opportunity for instruction, graduate research and faculty engagement in the area of aquatic medicine, all of which are vital components of UGA's mission as Georgia's flagship university." With an emphasis on research and preventative medicine we will be studying pathology. The program will have two aquatic pathology residents who will work on a rotating basis between the Aquarium and UGA. The three year residency program will begin in July 2006 and lead to board certification in veterinary pathology and will be for three years. "With the field of aquatic animal medicine still in its infancy, the partnership between Georgia Aquarium and UGA is a chance to get in on the ground floor and set the standard for aquatic research and aquarium medicine," said Dr. Howard Krum, Chief of Veterinary Medicine for the Georgia Aquarium. "We are confident that each day will bring a new discovery: new species, new diseases, new treatments and new phenomena. By learning what makes fish sick, we can learn how to make them better. These findings can then be used to enhance the quality of life throughout the waters of the world." The Aquarium program will be image intensive, using novel diagnostic imaging technology, and will be visually based. With current funding, it will include a staff of 15, including a full-time nutritionist and three full-time veterinarians, offering 24/7 medical coverage. At their disposal will be a digital and computed radiography, mobile/portable ultrasound, digital endoscopy, mobile gas and water-bourn anesthesia systems, in-house diagnostic tools, digital microscopy, complete surgical suite with instrument sterilization features and a custom computerized medical records system. "Georgia Aquarium and UGA's relationship stems back to October of 2003," said Jeff Swanagan, Executive Director, Georgia Aquarium. "University of Georgia's Dr. Branson Ritchie has worked closely with our veterinary staff to provide routine medical care and exams for our animals including check ups on the rescued beluga whales from Mexico City." The rescue of the beluga whales and the research planned through the agreement with UGA are all part of the Georgia Aquarium's 4R program (Rescue, Research, Rehabilitation and Relocation) designed to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of aquatic life from around the world. For more information on the 4R program visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/supportus. Both Georgia Aquarium and UGA have committed to raising the five million dollars necessary to pay for construction and equipment used to build the vet clinic. For information contact: Donna Fleishman Georgia Aquarium 770 241 8252 firstname.lastname@example.org The Georgia Aquarium has received strong support from the community; two weeks before grand opening over 50,000 people have become Annual Pass Members. General Admission tickets are on sale now at ww.georgiaaquarium.org. ABOUT THE GEORGIA AQUARIUM The Georgia Aquarium will open in Atlanta, Georgia on November 23, 2005, as one of the world's largest aquarium facilities. With more than 8 million gallons of marine and fresh water, and more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species, the Georgia Aquarium is a gift to the people of Georgia from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, and his wife Billi, through the Marcus Foundation. The Aquarium will be overseen by a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibitions and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and entertaining visitors' experiences, and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Additional information on the Georgia Aquarium can be found at www.georgiaaquarium.org.