Social worker joins AVMA staff

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A leader in the effort to improve the mental health and well-being of veterinary professionals, Jennifer Brandt, PhD, has been hired at the AVMA to continue her work on a greater scale.

Jennifer Brandt, PhD

She started Aug. 21 in the newly created position of director of member wellness and diversity initiatives.

Dr. Brandt comes to the AVMA from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she has served as veterinary student affairs coordinator. She worked to provide students, faculty, and staff with the communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills essential to quality veterinary care and veterinary career success. Her professional coaching, consultation, and mediation services offered applied learning opportunities to increase self-awareness, improve wellness and resilience, resolve conflict, and enhance veterinary team communication.

Dr. Brandt has lectured nationally and internationally at veterinary colleges and conferences and has served as a master trainer and facilitator for the Institute for Healthcare Communication since 2003. Last year, she helped start the Veterinary Mental Health Practitioners group with Kathleen Ruby, PhD, a licensed professional counselor at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The group comprises about two dozen members who deal with veterinarian well-being, most of them based at veterinary colleges. These individuals have come together to provide a stronger voice and relevant expertise to help inform decisions being made by veterinary colleges and the profession.

Dr. Brandt previously served as a medical social worker, educator, and researcher specializing in work with survivors of crime and trauma and in bereavement facilitation. She received her master's and doctoral degrees in social work from The Ohio State University.