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Dairy cattle expert named to lead UC Davis Tulare center

June 6, 2011

Terry Lehenbauer, an expert in dairy cattle health, welfare and economics, has been named director of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, effective June 1.

Lehenbauer, who joined the center in 2008 as associate director for food systems, takes the helm from James Cullor, who has successfully led the center for the past 15 years. Cullor is returning to his faculty research and teaching duties.

The center, located at the hub of California dairy production, opened in 1983 to serve regional dairies, provide practical training for veterinary students and develop scientific studies on cattle health and food safety. It also is home to the dairy veterinary specialist in Veterinary Medicine Extension, the Tulare branch of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, and a district office of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

As director, Lehenbauer oversees academic and clinical training programs for veterinary and pre-veterinary students. He also manages the three-year Dairy Production Medicine residency for veterinarians, works closely with the community to develop research and training programs, and supervises clinical services for more than 100,000 animals at local commercial dairies and calf ranches.

Lehenbauer earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Oklahoma State University in 1979. He completed a food-animal residency, as well as Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Ph.D. degrees at UC Davis, and then spent more than seven years in private practice as a California dairy veterinarian.

He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine in epidemiology, and has extensive clinical experience in dairy and beef cattle herd health, as well as preventive veterinary medicine.

Lehenbauer’s research interests include animal health economics, assessment of dairy cattle health and welfare, epidemiology of cattle production systems and evaluation of diagnostic tests. He represents the American Association of Bovine Practitioners on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee, which develops position statements on food animal health and welfare issues.

Lehenbauer will build upon a number of successful programs established or expanded by Cullor, including the Milk Quality Laboratory, which has contributed to healthier cows and higher quality milk.

As center director, Cullor established a second branch of the Dairy Food Safety Laboratory, which has provided rapid response research, training and technology transfer focused on higher quality milk and safer dairy products. He led efforts to develop vocational programs in partnership with Tulare High School and the College of the Sequoias, a high school laboratory internship, and regularly scheduled tours and conferences. He also expanded the clinical training program to welcome foreign veterinary students. A consumer education pavilion was built in 2005 to support these and other educational programs for students at the elementary through postgraduate school levels.

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