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AAVMC hires its first well-being director

Makenzie Peterson and on-campus mental health professionals will implement programs designed for veterinary students, faculty and staff.

AAVMC hires its first well-being director
Makenzie Peterson

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges has appointed a well-being specialist as part of an initiative to support the mental health of students, faculty and staff at member institutions.

As the AAVMC’s first director for well-being, Makenzie Peterson will develop and implement specific programs, often in collaboration with mental health professionals already working at many veterinary schools.

Peterson previously served as the well-being program director at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“This is a critical moment in the development of a very important program for us,” said the AAVMC’s CEO, Andrew T. Maccabe, DVM, MPH, JD. “Makenzie’s expertise, network and systems perspective will be instrumental in helping us elevate the quality of well-being programs throughout our academic community.”

Studies have found that veterinarians tend to suffer from higher levels of depression and job-related stress compared with the general population. Their suicide rate also is higher.

“In times like this, well-being is more important than ever,” Peterson said. “I’m excited to be part of the AAVMC team and collaborate with all the member institutions to help us collectively work towards a culture of well-being in academic veterinary medicine.”

Peterson earned a master’s degree in health promotion and health education from the University of Utah and is on track to receive a doctorate of social work from the University of Southern California in 2022.

Among AAMVC member institutions are 53 veterinary medical colleges and schools worldwide accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education.

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