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Zoetis, OVC Partnership to Study Mental Health Issues Affecting Veterinarians

Zoetis has committed around $100,000 to an Ontario Veterinary College study that will look at the mental and physical challenges veterinarians face in their profession.

Christopher Futcher/Istock

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Zoetis Inc. and Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph are partnering up for a new research study.

Zoetis has committed almost $100,000 over the next three years to help OVC researchers understand factors affecting the mental well-being of veterinarians. The goal of the study is to develop training and other support programs for both undergraduate veterinary students and graduated veterinarians.

“Like many professions, veterinary work often comes with long hours, financial pressures, employee management and other stresses that can affect the mental and physical health of veterinarians,” said Jeffrey Wichtel, BVSc, Ph.D., dean of OVC. “This gift from Zoetis will help us identify ways that veterinarians can become more resilient in the face of these challenges.”

OVC studies veterinarian wellness issues and research through the Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Research and Education (AWAR2E) Group. The AWAR2E Group includes:

  • Colleen Best, DVM, post-doctoral fellow;
  • Andria Jones-Bitton, DVM, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine;
  • Joanne Hewson, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVIM, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Studies;
  • Deep Khosa, BSc, BVMS, MANZCVS, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Population Medicine;
  • and Peter Conlon, DVM, BSc, MSc, Ph.D., MEd, associate dean.

A combination of in-person interviews, online surveys and videotaped client appointments will help researchers within the AWAR2E Group understand veterinarians’ experiences and perceptions of mental wellness as it relates to their careers. The team expects to have results in 2017.

“We’ll use our research results to develop evidence-based educational resources and intervention strategies to help veterinarians better respond to the stresses associated with their work,” Dr. Jones-Bitton said. “We believe this will contribute to a stronger and healthier veterinary profession.”

Zoetis confirmed their commitment to the health of the veterinary profession.

“We at Zoetis are passionate about improving and advancing the health and care of livestock and pets. It’s clear that veterinarians, including our own Zoetis veterinary staff, must take care of themselves in order to provide the best care for animals,” said Nicole DeFraeye, DVM, senior manager of veterinary operations in the Companion Animal Division for Zoetis in Canada. “It is a tremendous source of pride for Zoetis to support this important research to benefit the veterinary community.”

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