Animal Welfare

New Chief Academic Officer for Mark Morris Institute to Spearhead Expansion of Clinical Nutrition Training

The Mark Morris Institute (MMI) has appointed a new Chief Academic Officer (CAO) to spearhead the delivery of an ambitious strategy to enhance its non-commercial, free-of-charge teaching programs in clinical nutrition to veterinary students and veterinary professionals around the world.

Dr. Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, a Board Certified Veterinary NutritionistTM, previously an Associate Professor of Nutrition at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, joined MMI in the role of Chief Academic Officer on July 1, 2019. In addition to this part-time position, Dr. Heinze will continue to teach as an MMI faculty member. As the CAO, she will oversee the expansion of MMI’s training programs with the creation of a new online small animal nutrition curriculum to support veterinary students.  The program will develop their understanding of clinical nutrition through a series of flexible interactive modules that can be adapted to the needs of each school. 

Dr. Heinze earned a veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. After working in private practice, she moved to the University of California at Davis to undertake a veterinary residency in small animal clinical nutrition and a master’s degree in nutritional biology. She joined the Tufts faculty in 2011.

A not-for-profit organization, the Mark Morris Institute is a leading provider of clinical nutritional education for the veterinary profession. This most recent academic year, MMI provided around 30,000 total student contact hours of education at more than 20 veterinary schools in five countries in North America and the Caribbean.  Its curriculum is delivered through a blend of synchronous tools, including webinars, face to face lectures, and practical exercises, taught by members of the MMI Faculty.  Additionally, MMI supports veterinary schools by providing intern and resident presentations, attending clinical rounds, and offering individual clinical case consultations while our faculty members are on-site for our courses. MMI also advises schools on nutritional components of veterinary curricula.

Commenting on the appointment of Dr. Heinze, Dr. Deborah Davenport DVM, MS, DACVIM, Executive Director of MMI, said: “Optimal companion animal health starts with optimal nutrition but, with the veterinary curriculum increasingly crowded, today’s veterinary students don’t always have time to study clinical nutrition in sufficient depth and few vet schools offer a board-certified veterinary nutritionist on their staff.

“MMI helps to fill the nutrition education gap because our university teaching program offers independent, non-commercial nutrition-based learning activities at no cost to the hosting school.

“Our experience shows that we make the most difference when we can send faculty members to interact face to face with third and fourth-year students or those undertaking internships and residencies.  With this in mind, Dr. Heinze and her MMI team will utilize the latest technologies to build on our current programs to create a new competency-based online curriculum geared towards 1st and 2nd year veterinary students. Delivered on demand so that students can learn at a time and place convenient to them, the new program will give them the practical knowledge and skills they need in order to fully incorporate nutrition into their veterinary studies and later into clinical practice. By offering an online instruction option, especially to pre-clinical students, MMI will be able to better leverage its faculty and resources to provide high quality nutrition education to more veterinary students.

“In addition to increased demand for our services in North America and the Caribbean, we are also receiving more requests from international institutions.  These requests can be difficult to fulfil because of the logistics of time zones and costs of international travel.  In creating this new online program, we believe we will also be able share the expertise and experience of our Faculty with veterinary students around the world in a highly cost-effective way.”

Dr. Davenport added: “Not only is Dr. Heinze highly experienced in day-to-day nutrition practice but she is skilled in clinical consulting, research and teaching.  She offers a perfect package of experience and her passion for nutrition is clear.  She will help us to deliver on our new strategy and, in so doing, help us to enhance the nutritional practice of the next generation of veterinarians. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Dr. Heinze said: “I’m excited to be taking on this new role for MMI.  I’m very invested in teaching; providing veterinary students and veterinarians with high quality nutrition education is critical to facilitate optimal health of their current and future patients.”