Internship in Shelter Medicine
The internship in shelter medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University offers training for veterinarians interested in the exciting new discipline of shelter medicine.
Shelter medicine differs from traditional small animal private practice in that it blends individual patient care with population health management, including preventive medicine and behavioral health. Prior to 1999, veterinarians working in shelters did so without formal training or external recognition of the specialized knowledge that comprises shelter medicine. The first course in shelter medicine, conceived by Dr. Lila Miller of the ASPCA and Dr. Jan Scarlett of Cornell University, was taught at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Since then, and thanks in large part to Maddie’s Fund, the specialized training in shelter medicine for veterinary students and graduate veterinarians has expanded on a yearly basis, and now incorporates over two dozen schools, offering everything from elective courses for first- and second-year students to externships, internships, and residencies.
Comprehensive veterinary care of shelter animals requires - in addition to a strong foundation in clinical veterinary practice - a focused expertise combining elements of preventive medicine, epidemiology, infectious disease diagnosis and control, behavioral science, public health, and surgery. Additionally, the shelter medicine specialist must have an expanded understanding of other areas not emphasized under traditional veterinary medical training; these include, but are not limited to, shelter facility design and operation, animal husbandry (nutrition, sanitation, disinfection), companion animal welfare, cruelty investigation, public health, personnel management, psycho-social aspects of sheltering, resource management and risk analysis, and strategies for animal population control.
In 2001 the Association of Shelter Veterinarians formed to further advance the interests of shelter veterinarians both within the profession and in the public eye. Accomplishments to date include advancement towards a specialty board in shelter medicine to be recognized by the AVMA, as well as several groundbreaking documents outlining standards of care and protocols for high-quality medical practices within shelters. It is an exciting time to be a part of shelter medicine.
The application and selection process for the Shelter Medicine Internships occurs through the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching
Prerequisites for entering the matching process are a DVM or equivalent degree AND active licensure in at least one state in the United States (preferred) or country of origin. Preference will be given to candidates demonstrating previous interest and experience in shelter medicine. Requirements for applying to the VIRMP Program are:
Our internship in shelter medicine has specific objectives:
Elizabeth Berliner, DVM
Director of Clinical Programs
Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program
S1-068 Schurman Hall
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853