Working for a more diverse future in shelter medicine

Health care professions, including veterinary medicine, are notoriously lacking in diversity, but the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) wants to change that. And for the second year in a row, the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at UF has made sure veterinary care for homeless and community animals is part of that effort.

A group of 80 students currently under-represented in the health field from all over the country took part in the 6-week course.

SHPEP students

On their day at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Julie Levy, Dr. Brian DiGangi, and Dr. Patti Gordon welcomed them, introduced them to shelter medicine, showed them how to get gowned up, demonstrated instruments and suture/instrument handling, showed them a video on spay surgery and vaccination, and then supervised while they practiced vaccines and sutures on bananas!

Gowning up!

“Just like last year, it was an incredible experience to have the opportunity of recruiting diverse and under-represented students into the health professions, especially veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Levy.

Dr. Levy and students