A $ 30 million donation from Margaret and Richard Riney endowed and named the Cornell Margaret and Richard Riney Canine Health Center at College of Veterinary Medicine to improve dog health and wellness through world-class research, awareness and engagement with dog lovers.
The transformational donation accelerates the launch of the center and provides essential funding to advance research and innovations related to canine health.
“We were inspired by the college’s plans for a new dog health center ”, said Margaret Riney. “The ability to bring diverse expertise in dog research – from across college and university – under one roof, is a great way to catalyze the research process.. “
“We know firsthand the importance and the benefits of the relationships that humans have with animals, especially with our pets ”, said Richard Riney. “We wanted to support large-scale research initiatives that can help dogs live their best lives, while recognizing that canine disease research can help advance human medicine.. “
The Rineys have focused their philanthropic efforts on health, education, the arts and animals across the Margaret and Richard Riney Family Foundation. They are particularly interested in leveraging their philanthropy by funding research initiatives, an intention that fits well with the many ways the College of Veterinary Medicine has created internal research support opportunities for its faculty.
“We are very pleased to see the vision of the Cornell Margaret and Richard Riney Canine Health Center come to fruition,” said Dr. Lorin D. Warnick, Ph.D. ’94, Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Thanks to the visionary support of the Rineys, canine health faculty and staff at the College of Veterinary Medicine and the university will come together to advance research, discovery and public engagement to help dogs to live longer, healthier and happier lives. This effort will also benefit veterinary care for other species and support the college’s work impacting human and public health. “
The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) – one of the world’s leading veterinary colleges – is uniquely equipped to host the Canine Health Center, with over 50 researchers working on canine health-related research across many departments . Along with clinicians from Cornell University Hospital for Animals, researchers from the Baker Institute for Animal Health and Cornell Veterinary Biobank, and diagnosticians from the Animal Health Diagnostic Center, the university has the breadth of expertise and ‘infrastructure to conduct and apply research at all levels, from fundamental discoveries to translational and clinical research to treatment delivery.
“As we raise awareness of dog health-related activities in college, the Baker Institute will feature prominently, given its past, present and future commitment to dog health discoveries and advancements,” said Dr. Scott Coonrod, Professor Judy Wilpon. of Cancer Biology and Director of the Baker Institute for Animal Health. “This generous donation will provide the catalyst needed to dramatically accelerate our discovery-driven research at the Baker Instutute, College and Cornell.”
The donation positions the Canine Health Center to become a primary source of dog research-based information. The funding will initially endow a large internal grants program for research related to canine health, with particular emphasis on the study of cancer, genetics and genomics, infectious diseases and immunology – building on the strengths of Cornell’s current program.
“The college has always funded internal projects, and this donation from the Riney Family Foundation will greatly expand the opportunities for our researchers,” said Dr. David Lee. ’88, DVM ’94, MBA ’99, CVM associate dean for external programs.
“The Canine Health Center grant program will be especially important for early career faculty, to help them get started with seed money to pursue innovative ideas before they know if they should be scaled up,” he said. said Lee. Such funding will also give the college a competitive edge in recruiting the best and brightest faculty, he added.
“This donation will allow researchers to design rigorous dog-specific programs without having to sacrifice or give up important goals due to budget or personnel constraints,” said Dr. Kelly Hume, associate professor of clinical sciences at CVM. “Ultimately, this will allow research and discovery to progress more quickly. ”
The donation will also help staff key strategic faculty positions that will help recruit top researchers to develop the centre’s strategic vision and leverage the strengths of the college and Cornell.
In addition to enjoying the traditional support of Cornell and CVM alumni, former clients, industry practitioners and veterinarians, the center is particularly interested in engaging dog lovers, who share a vested interest in canine health. The center plans to become a valuable resource for people who care about dogs through special events, citizen science programs and clinical trials.
The launch of the Margaret and Richard Riney Canine Health Center comes at an unprecedented historic moment as the pandemic has made it possible for people to spend more time at home, strengthening the bonds many pet owners have with their pets. Breakthroughs and advancements in telehealth, diagnostics and therapeutics have made the potential for advancement in canine research greater than ever.
With this in mind, the center aims to establish itself as the most trusted source of information related to canine health – produced, delivered and approved by the experts at Cornell. The centre’s website will feature helpful health videos, webinars, stories and explanations that meet the needs of dog lovers and owners, breeders and veterinary care providers. Online sites will be created to facilitate two-way communication between the centre’s experts and content developers and the public.
“We designed this model to be sustainable, growing, relevant and uniquely designed to meet the needs of dog lovers,” said Lee.