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Envisioning A More Equitable Future For Veterinary Education And Healthcare

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January 12, 2022

In photo: Dr. Shane Bateman, Ontario Veterinary College, with student veterinarians.

In November 2019, longtime Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) and OVC Pet Trust supporters Kim and Stu Lang made a transformational $11-million donation to the college through their Angel Gabriel Foundation to create the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program (CHPP). The program brings OVC faculty, veterinarians and clinical staff, students and partners together to expand animal healthcare for vulnerable populations and, ultimately, help shape a more equitable future for veterinary education and care.

For almost two years, Dr. Shane Bateman has guided the initial development of the program as Interim Veterinary Director. Dr. Bateman is an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Studies at OVC and is also a member of the Board of the Guelph Humane Society. He serves as the Regional Co-Director for Community Veterinary Outreach, a charity that provides free preventive veterinary care for pets whose owners are homeless or at risk of homelessness. He also participates in several initiatives that deliver preventive care at low cost to First Nations communities in southwestern Ontario.

During his tenure as Interim Veterinary Director, Dr. Bateman led several successful Phase 4 student rotations in underserved communities with the CHPP, providing telemedicine and in-person clinical care to more than 2,000 patients. He has also collaborated with a team of curricular experts and OVC faculty to create an innovative curriculum proposal designed to transform the experiences of student veterinarians and engage future professionals and partners in the core aims of the program: to identify, understand and remove the barriers that prevent equitable access to veterinary care.

“Dr. Shane Bateman’s unwavering advocacy was the catalyst for what has become the Ontario Veterinary College’s ground-breaking Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program,” says Jeff Wichtel, Dean of the Ontario Veterinary College. “When few others were speaking about social justice issues in veterinary medicine, Shane envisioned a program that would recognize the universality of the human-animal bond and prepare our veterinary graduates to provide care for those most at risk and underserved. We thank him for bringing us on this journey, and for his exemplary leadership as Interim Director of CHPP.”

Now, the Ontario Veterinary College is delighted to announce the appointment of several key leadership positions in the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program.

Dr. Lynn Henderson
Veterinary Director of the Kim & Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program

Dr. Lynn Henderson has been appointed the Veterinary Director of the Kim & Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program and joined OVC on November 8, 2021. Dr. Henderson will lead the program’s clinical and learning teams who are engaged in community service and service learning. She will oversee the relationships and partnerships between OVC and many community stakeholders and committed organizations with a focus on improving access to veterinary care. In addition, Dr. Henderson will be responsible for the learning environment for student veterinarians from all four phases at OVC.

Dr. Henderson has been involved in clinical companion animal practice in many forms since graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2007. Having worked in companion animal general practice, emergency medicine, house-call medicine, and hospice and palliative care, she has always been most interested in the areas of veterinary medicine that allow engagement with the human side of practice. Dr. Henderson owned and operated a successful veterinary house-call practice for 10 years, gaining certification in veterinary hospice and palliative care through the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care in 2019. She believes strongly in relationship-building, authentic communication, and accountability in delivering on promises.

Dr. Henderson has served as a facilitator within the OVC Clinical Communication Program’s Simulated Client Interview laboratories and has held multiple teaching positions within the Ontario College system, most recently teaching Shelter Animal Care and Veterinary Nutrition at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology.

Dr. Henderson is completing a Master of Education degree in Higher Education in the Health Professions alongside a Collaborative Specialization in Indigenous Health through the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at The University of Toronto (U of T). Her interest in higher education began with a desire to work within veterinary education, in student support or in curriculum development in the field of end-of-life care. These interests broadened and evolved through experiences at U of T that exposed her to the social inequalities within healthcare including unequal access to services and education, and the prejudice surrounding race, gender, and socio-economic status within our communities.

Dr. Henderson hopes to be instrumental in changing the way we understand and educate about social justice issues in veterinary practice, with research interests surrounding healthcare service provision, practitioner reflexivity, and development of practitioner critical consciousness. She believes that the Community Healthcare Partnership Program has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which veterinary students are educated about the world, and the way in which they engage with practice upon graduation.

Dr. Lauren Van Patter
Kim & Stu Lang Professor in Community and Shelter Medicine

Dr. Lauren Van Patter, the newly appointed Kim & Stu Lang Professor in Community & Shelter Medicine, will join OVC in January 2022 to lead the research enterprise. Dr. Van Patter is an animal studies scholar whose research focuses most broadly on questions of ‘living well’ in multispecies communities. She earned her BSc in Environmental Sciences and MA in Geography from The University of Guelph. Her Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded master’s thesis explored community responses to, and the lives of, feral cats, generating strategies for mitigating competing values and management preferences. Her SSHRC-funded doctoral thesis at Queen’s University engaged wildlife managers, residents, and community scientists to understand human-coyote conflicts and paths to coexisting with urban animals. She has been a member of The Lives of Animals Research Group since 2013

Dr. Van Patter’s work is interdisciplinary and holistic, drawing together diverse methods and theoretical approaches to ask questions that are at once socio-cultural, bio- and ecological, and politico-ethical pertaining to human-animal relationships. As an action-oriented scholar, she has worked collaboratively with veterinarians, wildlife practitioners, biologists, philosophers, and political theorists to produce outputs that extend dialogues around policy and practice for a range of domestic and wild species. Dr. Van Patter is also passionate about teaching and learning; she designed and instructed an upper year special topics course on The Lives of Animals at Queen’s University in 2019.

Dr. Van Patter is a past Fellow of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) at the University of Guelph, a current Fellow of the Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law, and Ethics (APPLE) Research Cluster at Queen’s University, and in 2020 was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. She is co-editor of the newly released volume A Research Agenda for Animal Geographies with Elgar, and has published in peer-reviewed Veterinary, Animal Studies, Geography, African Studies, and Wildlife Management journals.

Dr. Van Patter’s community-based research will focus on understanding barriers faced by marginalized communities who are underserved or do not have adequate access to veterinary care. This information will inform the future directions of the program and how the program can best serve the needs of the community. It will also ask broader questions about wellbeing in more-than-human communities and multispecies justice. In addition, Dr. Van Patter’s research will study the learning outcomes and impact of this program on student veterinarians and their future careers.

Meghan Longley
Clinical Services Manager

Meghan Longley was appointed to the role of Clinical Services Manager in July 2021. In this role, she will provide critical strategic and operational support for the clinical program and student veterinarians participating in the program.  Meghan completed her undergraduate degree at Lakehead University where she received an Honours Bachelor of Science in Natural Science. She then went on to complete her Post Graduate Certificate of Education through the University of Sunderland. After teaching overseas, Meghan decided to follow her passion for animals and returned to Canada to attend the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus to become a veterinary technician. Meghan joined the OVC community 11 years ago and has furthered her education and training by working in various areas throughout the hospital, including small animal and large animal surgery, ICU, large animal wards and, most recently, in the Clinical Studies department as part of the Clinical Skills team, assisting in teaching labs for phases 1 through 3 of the DVM program. Meghan continues to keep her skills current and grow her knowledge through her employment at a local emergency clinic, as well as through volunteer opportunities.

Meghan will harness her critical skills in customer care, logistics and planning and student learning in pursuit of creating a welcoming and supportive environment for clients of the program and OVC’s student veterinarians.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Lynn Henderson, Dr. Lauren Van Patter, and Meghan Longley into their leadership roles with the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program,” says Wichtel. “We at the Ontario Veterinary College think this program is essential to maintain the role of the veterinarian as the valued and trusted steward of animal health in our communities and believe in its mission to bring veterinary expertise and compassionate care to those for whom it might not otherwise be accessible. I am confident Lynn, Lauren and Meghan will inspire student veterinarians and community partners alike with their wide-ranging expertise and dedication to social accountability in veterinary medicine.”

“Two years ago, we announced a donation to the Ontario Veterinary College to establish a community-based veterinary partnership program with a clear vision in mind: to improve the lives of animals and the people who love them. This vision was born out of our love for animals and the enduring belief that, together, we could make a true difference in the world,” says Kim Lang. “Since then, under the thoughtful and passionate leadership of Dr. Shane Bateman, OVC faculty and students have established lasting relationships with partners built on mutual respect and shared goals to improve access to veterinary care. They have provided compassionate care to almost 2,000 beloved pets in underserved communities and developed the framework for a socially conscious curriculum that will inspire generations of future veterinarians. As interim Director, Dr. Bateman has laid a remarkable foundation for this program through his many contributions.”

“As we look toward the future, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Lynn Henderson, Dr. Lauren Van Patter, and Meghan Longley to the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program. With the unique perspectives, broad expertise, and trusted guidance they collectively bring to this newly-established leadership team, the CHPP is well-positioned for future success,” says Lang.

 

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