The Mark Morris Institute (MMI) has appointed a new Chief Academic Officer(CAO) to spearhead the delivery of an ambitious strategy to enhance its non-commercial, free-of-charge teaching programs in clinical nutrition toveterinary students and veterinary professionals around the world.

Dr. Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, a Board Certified VeterinaryNutritionistTM, previously an Associate Professor of Nutrition at CummingsSchool of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, joined MMI in the role ofChief Academic Officer on July 1, 2019. In addition to this part-timeposition, Dr. Heinze will continue to teach as an MMI faculty member. As theCAO, she will oversee the expansion of MMI’s training programs with thecreation of a new online small animal nutrition curriculum to supportveterinary students. The program will develop their understanding of clinicalnutrition through a series of flexible interactive modules that can be adaptedto the needs of each school.

Dr. Heinze earned a veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in2004. After working in private practice, she moved to the University ofCalifornia at Davis to undertake a veterinary residency in small animalclinical nutrition and a master’s degree in nutritional biology. She joinedthe Tufts faculty in 2011.

A not-for-profit organization, the Mark Morris Institute is a leading providerof clinical nutritional education for the veterinary profession. This mostrecent academic year, MMI provided around 30,000 total student contact hoursof education at more than 20 veterinary schools in five countries in NorthAmerica and the Caribbean. Its curriculum is delivered through a blend ofsynchronous tools, including webinars, face to face lectures, and practicalexercises, taught by members of the MMI Faculty. Additionally, MMI supportsveterinary schools by providing intern and resident presentations, attendingclinical rounds, and offering individual clinical case consultations while ourfaculty members are on-site for our courses. MMI also advises schools onnutritional components of veterinary curricula.

Commenting on the appointment of Dr. Heinze, Dr. Deborah Davenport DVM, MS,DACVIM, Executive Director of MMI, said: “Optimal companion animal healthstarts with optimal nutrition but, with the veterinary curriculum increasinglycrowded, today’s veterinary students don’t always have time to study clinicalnutrition in sufficient depth and few vet schools offer a board-certifiedveterinary nutritionist on their staff.

“MMI helps to fill the nutrition education gap because our university teachingprogram offers independent, non-commercial nutrition-based learning activitiesat no cost to the hosting school.

“Our experience shows that we make the most difference when we can sendfaculty members to interact face to face with third and fourth-year studentsor those undertaking internships and residencies. With this in mind, Dr.Heinze and her MMI team will utilize the latest technologies to build on ourcurrent programs to create a new competency-based online curriculum gearedtowards 1st and 2nd year veterinary students. Delivered on demand so thatstudents can learn at a time and place convenient to them, the new programwill give them the practical knowledge and skills they need in order to fullyincorporate nutrition into their veterinary studies and later into clinicalpractice. By offering an online instruction option, especially to pre-clinicalstudents, MMI will be able to better leverage its faculty and resources toprovide high quality nutrition education to more veterinary students.

“In addition to increased demand for our services in North America and theCaribbean, we are also receiving more requests from internationalinstitutions. These requests can be difficult to fulfil because of thelogistics of time zones and costs of international travel. In creating thisnew online program, we believe we will also be able share the expertise andexperience of our Faculty with veterinary students around the world in ahighly cost-effective way.”

Dr. Davenport added: “Not only is Dr. Heinze highly experienced in day-to-daynutrition practice but she is skilled in clinical consulting, research andteaching. She offers a perfect package of experience and her passion fornutrition is clear. She will help us to deliver on our new strategy and, in sodoing, help us to enhance the nutritional practice of the next generation ofveterinarians. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Dr. Heinze said: “I’m excited to be taking on this new role for MMI. I’m veryinvested in teaching; providing veterinary students and veterinarians withhigh quality nutrition education is critical to facilitate optimal health oftheir current and future patients.”

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