Gary R. Johnston, DVM, MS, has joined Western University of Health

Sciences (WesternU) as the University’s first professor in its new College

of Veterinary Medicine, scheduled to open in fall 2001.

Dr. Johnston comes to WesternU from the College of Veterinary Medicine at

Washington State University. He is a board certified radiologist, and

successfully worked toward incorporation of radiology concepts into the

curriculum of first-year veterinary students at Washington State, a

concept he also hopes to implement at WesternU.

“”IT was a whole new slant for the first-year anatomy program, to bring

radioographic anatomy into the freshmen curriculum,”” Dr. Johnston

said. “”The sooner the students have an understanding of radiology and

normal radiographic anatomy, the better they will be prepared for courses

in the second and third years where radiographic examples of disease

conditions are presented.””

Dr. Johnston currently is working to create a database of software

programs available for veterinary teaching, and examining those programs

to see how they could fit into the WesternU curriculum. He also is working

on a Web site for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

He earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Washington State

University, and his master’s in science from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Johnston also is a diplomate of the American College of

Veterinary Radiologists and a member of the American Veterinary Medical

Association. He has received numerous research grants, and has published

more than 100 articles in scientific publications.

WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine will be the first veterinary

school to open in Southern California and the first in the United States

since 1983.

According to a Veterinary Medicine Task Force Report produced by WesternU,

Southern California is the last major metropolitan area in the United

States without the direct presence of a program to educate veterinarians.

Although the region hosts a rich supply of animals, supporting virtually

every element of veterinary practice, the number of veterinarians in the

western United States remains low in comparison to national averages.

California has 1.64 veterinarians per 10,000 people – substantially less

than the national average of 2.16 veterinarians per 10,000 people.

WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, has said the University intends

to create a distinctive veterinary school of which the entire profession

will be proud.

“”To undertake such an effort, it must mesh with our university’s primary

care, student-centered culture and humanistic environment while

significantly advancing veterinary medicine and veterinary education,”” Dr.

Pumerantz said.

Dr. Johnston lives in Claremont with his wife, Shirley, who is the

founding dean of WesternU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The couple has

two children.

“”It is really good to have the whole family here together,”” Dr. Johnston

said. “”This is a wonderful chance for us to do something special: to build

a veterinary college from scratch.””