Sridhar Veluvolu, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology) (he/him)
What inspired you to become a Board-certified veterinary specialist?
I became interested in oncology during my first year of vet school. At first, I was drawn towards the team in the oncology department at Penn - they were incredibly warm and welcoming when I shadowed and spent time as a student-nurse. I was hooked when I started to learn more about the science behind the treatments I was seeing in the clinic and the potential for translational research with the med school down the street.
Are there any resources or pieces of advice that helped you along the way?
I made it my goal from the start to get as much in-person experience as possible. There is always a way – even during something as busy as vet school, internship, or residency – to carve out time to experience things you think you may enjoy. Affording yourself these opportunities is a surefire way to end up doing something you love rather than doing something just for the sake of it.
Is there a story or experience that stands out in your mind that reaffirmed your decision to work in specialty veterinary medicine?
My favorite patient during residency long outlasted our expectations for his disease. Although his success story ultimately did come to an end, he reminded me that it is possible to beat the odds (or literature); and it is our responsibility as specialists to ask “why?” and “how?” to inform treatment for patients in the future.
What is something you wish the general public knew about veterinary specialists?
Although Dr. Google can certainly give you a sense about what’s going on with a pet (and we are certainly guilty of consulting them from time-to-time as well), specialists are trained to more appropriately deliver pertinent information about a pet’s disease in a context-specific manner that Dr. G cannot factor into a treatment plan.
How is specialty veterinary medicine paving the way for advances in veterinary science?
Specialty veterinary medicine is essential to help realize the potential of translational research and medicine. The companion animal model is invaluable to not only progressing veterinary science, but human medicine as well.
When it comes to increasing diversity in veterinary specialty medicine, what kind of resources or changes would you like to see from the ACVIM and/or similar organizations? To phrase it another way, how can the ACVIM better support its diverse members?
The ACVIM can ensure that diverse student populations have equitable exposure to the world of specialty medicine during their training. Additionally, the ACVIM may be able to provide financial support, especially for those members that may be burdened with debt.
What impact has the ACVIM had in shaping your career?
The ACVIM has provided me an extensive network of mentors without whom I would not be where I am today. Since I started vet school, all my mentors have been members of the ACVIM (probably because I don’t like blood…which quickly ruled out surgery and pathology as careers) and they have each helped me develop as a professional in a unique way.
Read Dr. Veluvolu's feature on the ACVIM Career Center >>