GAINESVILLE, FL — University of Florida veterinary students now have a new opportunity to embark upon an intensive course of study designed to address a shortage of veterinarians trained in the special needs of veterinary care in animal shelters.
The Certificate in Shelter Medicine will expose students to a cross-section of opportunities in the field, including care of sheltered animals, animal disaster management, cruelty investigations and forensics, shelter animal behavior and welfare, high-quality high-volume sterilization surgery, and research in shelter medicine. A Special Projects elective offers the opportunity for mentored participation in an in-depth topic, such as working with a shelter to perform a shelter population management analysis, an infectious disease outbreak intervention, or the creation and implementation of shelter medicine protocols.
“The certificate will identify students who have completed an intensive training program in this field, providing a valuable credential for those seeking a career in animal sheltering or competing for residency training,” said Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at UF. “Our initial program will be conducted at UF, but it’s our hope to develop on-line offerings so that students at other veterinary schools have access via distance learning.”
Students can earn the certificate by completing 15 units of newly developed elective courses, clinical clerkships and externships focusing on shelter medicine topics. Certificate course offerings span all four years of the veterinary curriculum. Each participating student will be mentored by one of UF’s five shelter medicine faculty members who will work with the student to tailor a study plan that matches the student’s particular interests.
“When I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, I did so because I wanted to be a shelter veterinarian,” said Lauren Unger, a junior veterinary student who is president of UF’s student chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. “I couldn’t have started veterinary school at a more appropriate time. The shelter medicine program at UF offers an internship, a residency and now has options for a shelter medicine certificate, which credentials a specialty I am so passionate about.”
Certificate programs are unique to UF. The Certificate in Shelter Medicine is the fourth such program, joining other intensive training programs in International Medicine, Food Animal Medicine, and Aquatic Animal Health.
Recent UF Health Science Center news releases are available at www.news.health.ufl.edu/
The University of Florida Health Science Center - the most comprehensive academic health center in the Southeast - is dedicated to high-quality programs of education, research, patient care and public service. The Health Science Center encompasses the colleges of Dentistry, Public Health and Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine, as well as the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and an academic campus in Jacksonville offering graduate education programs in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. Patient care activities, under the banner UF&Shands, are provided through teaching hospitals and a network of clinics in Gainesville and Jacksonville. The Health Science Center also has a statewide presence through satellite medical, dental and nursing clinics staffed by UF health professionals; and affiliations with community-based health-care facilities stretching from Hialeah and Miami to the Florida Panhandle.