It was a sunny day in Wisconsin’s capitol of Madison the day a group of medical assistant (MA) students and veterinary technology students from Globe University-Wausau met in the parking lot of Covance Laboratories. The Wausau MA and vet tech students were donning “visitor” badges and signing confidentiality forms for a tour of Covance Research Laboratory.
Veterinarian Dr. Diane Scott of Wausau’s vet tech program approached the medical assistant program chair Kerry Miller-Mouzon about an upcoming tour of one of the largest drug research labs in North America.
Dr. Scott had taken students in previous quarters and extended the invitation to the MA program. Kerry felt it was an excellent opportunity for the MA students to learn about drug trials and research.
“Going to Covance labs was a great learning experience. The tour was very eye-opening with how the drugs get tested,” medical assistant student, Tricia Giese, stated.
The students were given an extensive tour of all aspects of the testing facility. The tour guide explained the importance of animals in drug research and development. She assured the students that the utmost care is given to each and every animal in the facility. She shared a few personal stories about people close to her that had been saved by medications that were originally tested in the Covance Laboratory.
The tour concluded with a question and answer session in which the guide explained the importance of humane treatment of animals, especially in research facilities. She stated that studies have shown that animals that are stressed are not good subjects for research and testing, therefore even the mice and rats are given lots of treats and enrichment toys.
“I thought it was very interesting and educational. I could see myself working in a place like that. I had a great time and learned a lot,” said April Willcocks, medical assistant student.
Students were excited to learn that Covance hires graduates not just from the veterinary technician programs but also those with an associate degree in healthcare related fields. Covance has a “human” laboratory as well as their animal testing facility. People are allowed to sign up for drug trials and regularly report to the facility for studies and tests. Kerry Miller-Mouzon, program chair, is working with the Covance Laboratories to secure a tour of that portion of the facility for the spring quarter.
“This was probably one of the best tours I have been able to take the students to since coming to work at Globe University,” said program chair Kerry Miller-Mouzon. “Seeing the animals was hard, but knowing the overall concept of research and helping to save human lives helped to put everything into perspective for myself as well as the students. It was a great day!”