ASPCA Launches Shelter Medicine Residency Program

November 13, 2020

Julie Morris with dog

The ASPCA is launching the Julie Morris Shelter Medicine Residency to provide a three-year training program for licensed veterinarians interested in developing deep expertise in Shelter Medicine Practice to meet the unique health and behavior needs of homeless animals. The new residency program, which has been approved by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) and launches in 2021, will provide trainees with advanced knowledge and skills in all aspects of shelter medicine. This includes clinical medicine and surgery, shelter operations, population management, high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgery, community outreach, cruelty investigations and forensics and disaster response.

“The ASPCA has long recognized and supported the unique role that Shelter Medicine plays in advancing animal welfare, ending the euthanasia of adoptable cats and dogs and expanding access to veterinary care,” said Stephanie Janeczko, Vice President of ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services. “The role of animal shelters in communities continues to expand, with animal welfare organizations supporting not just homeless animals but owned pets and pet owners alike. There is an unprecedented demand for skilled veterinarians to design and oversee comprehensive programs that support community and shelter animal health and wellbeing, and the Julie Morris Shelter Medicine Residency Program will help meet this need by training the next generation of Shelter Medicine Practice specialists.”

Residents will receive training in all aspects of Shelter Medicine Practice during the three-year program. They will be directly mentored and supported by the ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services team, which includes five veterinarians board-certified in Shelter Medicine Practice. Residents will benefit from the extensive expertise across the organization as they also gain hands-on clinical experience through time spent at the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), one of the largest open admission animal welfare agencies in the country, and one of our close and long-standing partners. Residents will learn from and augment the support we provide to external sheltering organizations across the country through direct consultative work, research and teaching.

Shelter veterinarians provide a unique blend of individual and population level care for homeless animals, including a strong focus on physical and behavioral wellness. Shelter Medicine Practice was formally recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association as a veterinary specialty in 2014. This acknowledgement states that veterinarians who work with or for shelters require unique knowledge and skills to design and oversee comprehensive programs that support animals in shelters and at risk of homelessness. Our extensive programming and expertise readily lends itself to a robust residency program that provides veterinarians with an impressive depth and breadth of training opportunities, all in keeping with ABVP requirements.

The new residency program is named after former ASPCA Senior Vice President of Strategic Animal Welfare Partnerships and animal welfare visionary, Julie Morris, who played a pivotal role in the field of animal sheltering for more than three decades. Through the ASPCA Julie Morris Shelter Medicine Residency program, her legacy as a mentor and pioneer will continue to positively impact the lives of animals.