Veterinary Social Work
Dr. Elizabeth Strand is credited with developing the term “Veterinary Social Work” and is the founding director of Veterinary Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The program is pioneering in its formalization of key areas of human-animal interactions and integration of human support services into the veterinary profession.
The four pillars of veterinary social work are:
- Grief & Pet Loss
- Animal-Assisted Interactions
- The Link Between Human & Animal Violence
- Compassion Fatigue and Conflict Management
Veterinary Social Work Resources:
- American Veterinary Medical Association – Addressing human needs
- American Veterinary Medical Association – For human needs, some veterinary clinics are turning to a professional
- Michigan State University Veterinary Social Work Services
- National Association of Social Workers
- University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work
Pioneers in Veterinary Social Work Who Have Paved the Way:
Several colleges of veterinary medicine employ social workers or other mental health professionals, providing grief support and human services within their teaching hospitals. Increasingly, these professionals are called upon to provide support services for veterinary teams as they face the many challenges of veterinary practice. Some social workers are involved in teaching, preparing veterinary students for the emotional demands of the veterinary profession.
Private veterinary practices are also employing social workers. If you are a veterinarian looking to enhance your support services for clients, or a social worker looking to connect with a veterinary practice, please read through the resources here and reach out with any questions.