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Permanent Large Animal Department Head Named

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Dr. Sommardahl (center) and a medical resident and veterinary student ultrasound a brown foal while the mare stands in the background.

Dr. Carla Sommardahl has been named permanent department head of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. A “go-to” person when a critical program task needs to be accomplished, Sommardahl has served as interim department head since May 2020 and helped the department navigate the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Sommardahl has a reputation for being a great listener who makes decisions with a level head and calm demeanor.

Dr. Jim Thompson, dean of the veterinary college, says Sommardahl is poised to move the department forward. “Carla understands what is needed for faculty and staff to successfully advance in their careers, and cares deeply about the short- and long-term successes of the department and her people.”

Sommardahl has been at the college since 1989, first as a medical intern, then as a medical resident and graduate student earning a Ph.D. in the Comparative and Experimental Medicine program before joining the faculty. She is a clinical professor board-certified in large animal internal medicine. “I am proud to be a part of this successful department, and a member of a team of faculty and staff that brings expertise, collegiality, and passion to work every day.  I look forward to guiding and working with this team in continuing the success of the Large Animal Clinical Sciences Department.”

Although she planned to go into equine private practice after finishing her residency, Sommardahl fell in love with the academic atmosphere and realized she wanted to teach and joined the faculty. She also serves as director and attending veterinarian for the college’s large animal teaching herd at the Veterinary Research and Education Center and has served as Equine Medicine Section Chief, Large Animal Medicine Residency Program Director, and Large Animal Clinical Sciences Assistant Department Head. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at the University of Arkansas and completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.