Learn, help, get inspired: Applications open for next Reaching UP clinic

Published on June 22, 2018

Reaching UP program accepting volunteer applicationsAre you interested in learning about and serving communities with limited access to veterinary care? Veterinarians and veterinary students can do both by volunteering at the AVMA’s next Reaching UP clinic in New Mexico.

Applications are being accepted through July 5 from AVMA and Student AVMA members interested in participating in this clinic, to be held Aug. 30 - Sept. 2, over the Labor Day weekend.

Delivered through a partnership of the AVMA, the Native America Humane Society and the communities it serves, the Reaching UP program provides spay/neuter and other targeted preventive care services to traditionally underserved Native American populations. This strategy positively impacts animal welfare, animal and public health, and the human-animal bond. The program is coordinated by the AVMA and funded by the Banfield Foundation.

Both students and veterinarians learn from their experience

Students who participate in the program learn about public health and safety, and also have a chance to work alongside practicing veterinarians to provide preventive care and other services to animals in need. Student volunteers are involved in pre-surgical assessment, anesthetic monitoring, and recovery processes, as well as community education.

The insight and experience they gain can help shape their careers.

“The clinical and client communication skills I learned from Reaching UP will stick with me as I continue my veterinary education,” said Maria Albino, a 2019 DVM candidate at The Ohio State University who has volunteered at two Reaching UP clinics. “Moving forward, I can definitely see my veterinary career focusing on serving underrepresented populations.”

Practicing veterinarians, too, can gain new perspective. Participants tell us that applying their skills, compassion and enthusiasm to benefit a community in this capacity provides a meaningful way to renew their commitment to veterinary medicine. Reaching UP clinics offer opportunities to meet dedicated peers, teach aspiring veterinarians about our profession, and, most of all, provide help to the animals we care about – and the people who care about them.

“Each clinic benefits from the participation of 10 to 15 volunteer AVMA member veterinarians serving in a wide variety of roles, including providing preventive care services and supporting the surgical team,” according to Dr. Kendall Houlihan, Reaching UP program manager and assistant director in the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division. “Veterinary student involvement, conducted with oversight by graduate veterinarians, further facilitates our ability to provide community education and preventive care.”

AVMA members interested in a non-surgical volunteer position must have a current rabies vaccination, and health and professional liability insurance coverage. SAVMA members who serve as volunteers receive food and lodging during the clinic, as well as up to $500 toward travel costs.

Learn more about the program and download the volunteer applications at avma.org/ReachingUP.

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