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Dr. Sam Crosby

As one who followed in his father’s footsteps as an equine veterinarian, Dr. Sam Crosby has a natural affinity for mentoring veterinary students. His persistence and commitment to the next generation of the profession is helping provide veterinary students in the Southwest with skills training and opportunities to kick-start their careers.

Dr. Crosby, who specializes in performance horse medicine at his Crosby Equine Service in Arcadia, Okla., is a founding board member and driving force behind Dr. CrosbyVeterinarians Encouraging and Teaching (VET), a non-profit organization that coordinates hands-on clinical experiences for veterinary students at no cost as well as a biennial “Pathways to Success” career symposium that connects students with internships, residencies and associate positions.

VET’s origins trace to a December 2017 meeting at the Lazy E Ranch, during which 15 area equine veterinarians, faculty and staff from Oklahoma State University, and representatives from several pharmaceutical companies discussed means of augmenting the practical experiences of veterinary students to complement the vast “book knowledge” acquired in school.

On his own volition, Dr. Crosby began pursuing initiatives discussed at the meeting. He organized a student wet lab in May 2018, recruiting six instructors and 30 veterinary students to an indoor arena in Carney, Okla., to refine skills related to colic emergencies and horse handling. VET formed shortly thereafter when Dr. Crosby mobilized the support of colleagues to implement a career symposium. The inaugural symposium, held at Heritage Place in October 2018, brought together guest speakers, representatives from more than 30 equine veterinary practices and 15 pharmaceutical companies, and 90 veterinary students from Oklahoma State and Texas A&M universities. The success of the event spurred considerable interest in the next symposium, scheduled for October 2020.

In the meantime, VET organizes regulteaches the finer points of handling horses in a stallar wet labs in central Oklahoma to provide veterinary students with necessary skills in dentistry, podiatry, reproduction, horsemanship and other areas. The result is better-prepared graduates ready to make a difference in the health and well-being of horses. 

“I am so thankful that veterinarians from around Oklahoma want to help in the success of future veterinarians by creating opportunities for students to get hands-on experience and build connections,” said Seth Hiddink, a third-year veterinary student at Oklahoma State.

Dr. Crosby envisions expansion of the VET concept and has spoken with practitioners in other states. “We want to help other regions set up the same thing with their vet schools,” he said. “It just takes practitioners who are passionate about veterinary medicine and want to help.”

In addition to his work with VET, Dr. Crosby has contributed his extensive knowledge and practical experience responding to tornados to a virtual course at Texas A&M that trains veterinary students in disaster response. The course encapsulates specific disaster situations such as tornado, hurricane, fire or chemical spill into a video-game style experience in which the student is an avatar on the scene of a disaster and then must work through the challenges likely to be encountered and make appropriate decisions.

Closer to home, Dr. Crosby is especially proud of the students who used time working in his practice as a steppingstone to veterinary school. 

“In the last five or six years, eight students have gone through my practice and gone on to get into vet school, including one who actually met his future employer at our career symposium last year,” he said. “So yeah, I’ve always had a passion for students and enjoy teaching them.”