Shelter partnerships are an extremely important component of the Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Participation of area shelters should serve to expand student opportunities, highlight the partners and help to ensure that the program remains relevant.
Shelter partners can be any animal rescue or sheltering organization that provides an opportunity for students to observe or participate in the application of shelter medicine principles in practice. Example experiences for students might include: observing routine health examinations and sick animal checks; participating in physical examination and treatment of animals; observing, assisting with or performing surgery (under supervision); designing and implementing research projects, particularly those designed to improve the quality of veterinary care offered by an animal shelter. The specific learning objectives will be defined for each partner and experience.
A level-of-partnership system has been created to ensure that every type of organization can have a place in the program. Partnership levels and associated expectations are explained below:
Shelter Medicine Program Steering Committee
Cummings School initially reached out to the shelter medicine community to help plan the shelter medicine program by creating a working group with representation from several key organizations. The working group continues as the steering committee and includes at least one representative from each primary shelter partner, as well as members of the faculty.
A primary partner of the Shelter Medicine Program is defined by partners who can:
- Take students at their facility and incorporate them into pre-defined, formal core shelter medicine rotations.
- Assist in guiding the direction of the program curriculum.
- Participate in teaching (one to five hours).
- Provide project mentors.
- Participate in humane research for the benefit of shelter animals.
Benefits for primary partners include:
- Representation on the Shelter Medicine Program Steering Committee.
- Affiliated clinical faculty appointments.
- TUSK and library access.
- Access on campus meeting rooms (subject to availability).
- Attend Continuing Education Programs at reduced rates.
A supporting partner of the Shelter Medicine Program is a partner who can:
- Take students, as they are able.
- Give a lunch time talk.
- Be asked for input on the program curriculum.
Benefits for supporting partners include:
- Access to on campus meeting rooms (subject to availability).
- Access to continuing education programs at a reduced rate.