The University of Florida is now offering its students a shelter medicine certificate program. The program, which consists of a total of 15 units, is designed to address a shortage of veterinarians trained in the special needs of veterinary care in animal shelters, according to the university.
“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, Ph.D., director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. “Our initial program will be conducted at U.F., but it’s our hope to develop online offerings so that students at other veterinary schools have access via distance learning.”
The program aims to expose students to a cross-section of opportunities in shelter medicine, 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 15 units include 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 the university’s five shelter medicine faculty members who will work with the student to tailor a study plan that matches the student’s particular interests.
The certificate in shelter medicine is the fourth certificate program at the University of Florida. The others include international medicine, food animal medicine and aquatic animal health.