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New York Equine Medical Director sought

April 18, 2013

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The New York State Gaming Commission and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Thursday announced the framework and formal search for a New York State Equine Medical Director to oversee the health and safety of horses at all New York State Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetracks. A full description of the position may be found here.  

The Equine Medical Director position will be established cooperatively between the Gaming Commission and the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. The model of joint oversight by New York State and Cornell combines Cornell's commitment to advancing the health and well-being of animals and people with the efficient and inclusive regulatory powers of the Gaming Commission.

The creation of the position is a key recommendation of the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, which was formed at the request of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last year in the wake of 21 equine fatalities during Aqueduct's 2011-12 Winter Meet. The Task Force's full recommendations can be found here.
Governor Cuomo said, "This partnership between the state and Cornell University will build upon the vast improvements in equine safety already happening and further demonstrate why New York State's horse racing is unparalleled. We will establish collaborative, comprehensive and effective oversight with world-renowned expertise to protect the health and safety of horses and their riders.”
David Skorton, President of Cornell University and Chairman of the NYRA Reorganization Board, said, "New York State has moved quickly to adopt the recommendations of the Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety, including the hiring of an Equine Medical Director. Cornell is proud to be a part of the effort to usher in a new, improved era of stewardship. In addition, NYRA stands ready to assist in the search and implementation of this important position in any way needed.”
The New York State Equine Medical Director will be responsible for all aspects of equine health, safety, and welfare at New York racetracks and will directly advise the Gaming Commission members and staff regarding all related issues, including: equine medication policies, the safety and condition of racetrack facilities and surfaces, supervision of all on-track regulatory veterinarians and the New York State Equine Drug Testing Program laboratory, including equine testing procedures, compliance with all regulatory veterinary protocols, and analysis of incidents and the necropsy program.

A significant component of the position will involve ongoing education regarding research findings relevant to enhancing equine health and safety, and communication of best practices to all segments of the racing community and the public.

Robert Williams, Acting Executive Director of the New York State Gaming Commission, said, "This partnership with Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine greatly enhances New York's regulatory role in horse racing. The Gaming Commission and Cornell will find the best individual to develop further improvements in equine health and safety and give veterinarians the resources needed to bring an unprecedented level of protection to all racehorses in New York State.”

Michael Kotlikoff, Dean of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and Special Advisor to the NYRA Reorganization Board, said, "We are honored to partner with New York State to identify the best Equine Medical Director and to provide access to the College's resources and expertise. Cornell, like New York State's government, is committed to protecting equine athletes.”

The New York State Equine Medical Director must possess a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Veterinary Medical Doctor or equivalent degree and have a minimum of 10 to 15 years of experience in equine sports medicine and/or board certification in large animal medicine or surgery. In addition, the position requires:

· A valid license in good standing to practice veterinary medicine in the State of New York

· Significant experience with racing regulations and medical oversight, including knowledge of enhanced drug-testing protocols and comprehensive understanding of racing injuries

· An ability to closely monitor horse injuries and the racing environment to develop new innovative solutions, processes and programs to protect the health and welfare of the horse

· A minimum of five years of post-residency clinical experience
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