Bayer HealthCare scholarship encourages veterinary students to learn how to effectively communicate with pet owners

SHAWNEE, Kan., Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A veterinarian's ability to effectively communicate with a client is key for determining the best course of care and treatment for an animal and developing good client relationships. Yet, as evidenced by findings from the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, because of a perceived communication gap, a discrepancy exists between the value placed on regular veterinary care, including annual pet well-visits, between veterinarians and pet owners.

To help future veterinarians develop strong communication skills to close the gap, Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division has launched the inaugural Bayer Excellence in Communication Award. The competition consists of eight scholarships to be awarded to veterinary students who display the strongest communication skills during a client interview in a clinical setting. One scholarship winner will be named the national winner and will double his or her scholarship.

"The Bayer Excellence in Communication Award was created to focus attention on the importance of good communication between veterinarians and their clients," said Ian Spinks, president and general manager of Bayer HealthCare Animal Health, North America. "We are proud to offer these scholarships to future veterinarians, who, already as students, have committed to making themselves the best veterinarians they can be by being better communicators."

Shaping communications skills from the beginning
In 2001, Bayer HealthCare Animal Health partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Communication to develop the Bayer Communication Project. This collaborative partnership developed a communication skills training module offered to colleges of veterinary medicine for incorporation into their curriculum. Selected faculty from all U.S. veterinary colleges have been trained via the Bayer Communication Project "Train the Trainer" development program.

The Bayer Excellence in Communication Award is the next phase of this project. Piloting in eight leading veterinary schools, veterinary students will be able to submit a filmed client interview. One student from each school who demonstrates effective communication skills will be awarded a $2,500 Bayer Excellence in Communication Award scholarship.

Each school's winner will then compete as a finalist for the national Bayer Excellence in Communication Award scholarship, with the national winner receiving an additional $2,500 scholarship.

In addition, the national winner's school will receive complimentary tuition and travel for one faculty member to attend the Bayer Communication Project's "Train the Trainer" course.

The Bayer Excellence in Communication Award is available to juniors and seniors enrolled at the eight pilot veterinary colleges. Competing students will be filmed during a client interview in a clinical setting. Judging will be conducted by an independent panel of Bayer Communication Project-trained faculty members, who will use a standardized Score Sheet to evaluate each submission. The eight initial winners will be selected by March 1, 2013 and the national winner will be announced by May 1, 2013.

Bayer Excellence in Communication Award Pilot Schools
Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 17.2 billion (2011), is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 55,700 employees (Dec 31, 2011) and is represented in more than 100 countries. Find more information at

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SOURCE Bayer HealthCare LLC