Arts Society & Culture

UGA offers yearlong certificate program in comparative medical illustration

Will McAbee

Program now available through UGA College of Veterinary Medicine

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine has launched a yearlong certificate program designed to teach medical illustrators the fine art of veterinary illustration.

The college’s Certificate of Comparative Medical Illustration will provide further instruction for students who have previously obtained a master’s degree from one of the four accredited medical illustration programs in the U.S.

Will McAbee, the first student accepted into the program, earned his master’s degree in medical illustration from Georgia Regents University in 2013. He began his training at the College of Veterinary Medicine this month.

“The Georgia Regents University training program is all human illustration, so this program is a great way to get into what veterinary illustration is all about,” McAbee said. “I’ve learned human anatomy and physiology, and it’ll be great to have a more specific academic program that prepares me for an entire section of the field that most illustrators aren’t getting into right now.”

The Certificate of Comparative Medical Illustration program is based within the college’s Educational Resources Unit,, which works with faculty to create educational materials. McAbee will study under Brad Gilleland and Kip Carter, two medical illustrators in the college who are both members of the Association of Medical Illustrators and adjunct faculty in GRU’s training program.

The veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis is sponsoring McAbee’s training and has agreed to sponsor two subsequent students in 2015 and 2016.

“One of the difficulties in teaching particularly anatomy and physiology is that a flat picture in a book only gives you so much,” said Elizabeth Settles, a veterinarian and associate director of corporate development alliances and solutions for Zoetis. “We saw this opportunity as a very innovative way to use technology to educate and better the profession, not only for veterinarians but also for the clients.

“When we think about teaching with technology, usually it’s taking something on paper and putting it in a digital form, whereas this is creating a whole new way to teach and learn.”

Settles worked with James Moore and Scott Brown, both professors in the college, to establish and fund the program. Moore, a professor of large animal medicine, and Brown, a professor of small animal medicine, are co-directors of the college’s Educational Resources Unit.

“Some medical illustrators earn an M.D. or D.V.M., but they don’t get additional illustration training,” McAbee said. “No one in the field has a certificate like this, so I feel that I’m really going to be prepared for a wide open field coming out of this program.”

Students currently enrolled in an accredited medical illustration training program and interested in applying to the certificate program should contact either Brown at 706-380-4615 or or Moore at 706-340-4210 or for more information.

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine
The College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946 at UGA, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, conducting research related to animal and human diseases and providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share. The college enrolls 114 students each fall out of more than 900 who apply. For more information, see