AVMA welcomes first director of wellness and diversity

Published on September 13, 2017

Jennifer-Brandt-300wThe AVMA is excited to announce that Dr. Jen Brandt has joined our staff as the association’s first-ever director of wellness and diversity initiatives. Dr. Brandt is internationally renowned in the field of veterinary mental health and has an extensive background working with veterinary students and veterinary professionals to promote well-being, wellness and personal care.

“Wellness and diversity are more than buzz words. Adding a permanent staff member as director of wellness and diversity provides the day-in and day-out consistency and resources necessary to make a difference in our members’ lives,” said AVMA President Dr. Mike Topper.

Dr. Brandt has been at the forefront of veterinary mental health, working to provide the veterinary community with the communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills essential to providing quality veterinary care, and achieving career success and life satisfaction. She already is working on materials to help AVMA members take charge of and improve their well-being, such as these tips to restore well-being following a crisis.

If you attended the 2017 AVMA Convention you may already have met Dr. Brandt, as she presented a Hot Topic CE session, “Practical Tips for Stress Management,” where she discussed techniques for veterinary team members to use in managing the stress in their everyday lives. In case you missed it, the recorded webinar is posted in the wellness section of our website for viewing by all AVMA and SAVMA members.

Veterinarians’ mental health and emotional well-being have long been key priorities for the AVMA. The new position filled by Dr. Brandt is one more way we are upping our commitment to protecting and advocating for the health of our members and the rest of the veterinary team. Here are some of the other tools and services we encourage you to take advantage of:

  • Our directory of state wellness programs for veterinary professionals provides a contact point to seek services in each state, plus a summary of state laws, regulations and confidentiality provisions governing state wellness programs.
  • The Wheel of Well-being that we distributed at AVMA Convention lists more than 30 simple activities that veterinary team members can do during a break from work to boost mental and physical health. We’ve collected many of these wellness tips here on AVMA@Work for those of you who were unable to attend AVMA Convention.
  • Wellness gatekeeper training provides free training to help AVMA and SAVMA members identify the signs that someone may be considering suicide, establish a dialogue with them, and steer them to get professional help. This is a pilot program with a limited number of training seats available, so we encourage you to sign up now.
  • The Veterinary Wellness and Well-being Community on LinkedIn offers a community forum for AVMA and SAVMA members to connect with one another to discuss mental wellness and well-being in the veterinary profession.

We’re looking forward to sharing many more exciting wellness-related resources with you as Dr. Brandt settles in to her new position.  In the meantime, visit the wellbeing section of the AVMA website (avma.org/wellbeing) to learn more ways you can incorporate wellness and self-care into your life.


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