Accomplished veterinarian, Luis Morales Luna, helps students build confidence to become successful veterinary practitioners.
As far back as Luis Morales Luna can remember, his life revolved around animals. He grew up in Guatemala where his family owned a coffee farm and raised dairy cattle.
While he spent a fair share of time on the coffee plantation, Luna naturally gravitated toward the cattle. He developed a passion for working with animals that led to a lifelong pursuit of veterinary medicine.
Luna now brings the same passion, as well as years of knowledge and skill, to the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo as an assistant professor of practice with the cross-cutting subject matter expertise of general veterinary practice. He began his duties on June 20.
“Teaching others is something I have always enjoyed,” Luna said. “I am truly driven by the moments I am able to help someone find confidence in themselves after learning something new, and I am excited to bring this to Texas Tech University.”
Competency across a broad array of skills and knowledge is foundational to veterinary medicine. Just as important as competence in being a successful veterinarian, is the practitioner's confidence in their competence. Luna uses his expertise as part of a talented team to impart both competence and confidence in his students. For years, Luna has been in the trenches as a general practitioner in rural areas. He lives the mission of the School of Veterinary Medicine to serve the veterinary educational and service needs of rural and regional communities across Texas, New Mexico and beyond.
Luna also sees an opportunity to serve Spanish-speaking communities. With Spanish being the second most common language spoken in Texas, there is added value in helping students improve their Spanish-speaking skills to better serve areas where citizens may only speak Spanish.
“By being bilingual in both common and medical conversations, I hope to help contribute to the Spanish program at Texas Tech in which I can teach my students how to communicate with some of the workers or owners that only speak Spanish, therefore serving their rural communities in the best way possible,” Luna said.
Luna earned his veterinary medical degree in 2018 at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. After graduating, he spent two years as a general practitioner and researcher for the Health Department of Guatemala, monitoring rabies in dogs and cattle. During that time, he worked at a small animal practice in Guatemala City, which he eventually took over as practice owner.
In 2019, he began a one-year rotating equine internship at Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery (ESMS) in Weatherford. While there, he met the School of Veterinary Medicine's Laszlo Hunyadi. Hunyadi mentored Luna in managing complicated cases using minimal technology, which is an invaluable skill in rural medicine.
After completing his internship, Luna accepted a position as a gastrointestinal and anesthesia fellow at ESMS. There, he trained veterinary students and externs to gain confidence in working in a fast-paced, high-volume environment.
Luna is an owner of a mobile equine practice called Equivet. He manages and assesses patients from different equestrian clubs.
“Our hands-on, purpose-built curriculum is tailor-made for a talented, dedicated and values-based clinician like Luis,” said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “From the beginning, we built our program around the knowledge and skills needed to be a successful practitioner in rural and regional communities. We have an amazing team dedicated to delivering this program. Luis adds to the vibrancy of this team. In addition to his board experience, his background adds to the rich and diverse tapestry of our school, and I suspect he will help keep us well caffeinated.”
Luna is a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Guatemalan Association of Veterinary Practitioners. He currently works alongside a program called the Texas Equitarian Veterinary Project to help serve poor communities of rural Guatemala. The program provides medical, dental and nutritional care for working horses while also setting up community educational programs.
“Dr. Luna brings private practice ownership experience, Texas equine practice experience and a business acumen that has been honed from his family's coffee business in Guatemala,” said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. “He has a fresh view and enthusiasm to educate Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine students.”
About the School of Veterinary Medicine
Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas as well as the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo was established in 2018. In March 2021, the school was granted the all-important status of Provisional Accreditation, from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE).
The School of Veterinary Medicine recruits and selects students with deep life experiences in rural and regional communities. Its curriculum is focused on the competencies and skills necessary for success in practice types that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.