10/07/20 Supporting Families Through Access to Veterinary Care

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Recorded On: 10/07/2020

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All pets deserve access to veterinary care. But millions of families have limited access to veterinary care, mainly due to insufficient funds. Lack of needed veterinary care negatively impacts the whole family—human and nonhuman—and may lead to relinquishment to shelters. The community is also at risk from the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Dr. Blackwell, Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee, will speak about this national family crisis and AlignCare, a One Health healthcare system to address it. AlignCare improves access to veterinary care for families in need by aligning community resources and activities nationally. AlignCare is structured on One Health by:

  • Addressing the financial and emotional needs of pet parents/guardians (people)
  • Enabling veterinary service providers to help underserved pets (animals)
  • Controlling and spreading costs to address the impacts of low socioeconomic status (Environment or ecosystem)

The AlignCare System is the first healthcare model that encompasses human and companion health and wellbeing. As such, the AlignCare infrastructure involves close collaboration between veterinary social work coordinators and veterinary service providers committed to the AlignCare vision of keeping families together. 

This session is part of the Shelter Medicine series, a collaboration between the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

Read the interview with your presenter, Dr. Michael J. Blackwell.

This program (both live and recorded) has been approved for:

  • 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize RACE approval
  • 1 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credit
  • 1 CE by NACA 
  • 1 CE towards ACO CE requirements per Ch. 829 of the Texas Health and Safety Code by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

If you wish to earn RACE CEs, you MUST submit your veterinary/tech license number + license state after you watch the recording (due to new AAVSB RACE requirements)!

Michael J Blackwell, DVM, MPH, FNAP Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (Ret.)

Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee

A life of public service is what exemplifies Dr. Michael Blackwell. Like his father, he earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tuskegee University. He also earned a Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Blackwell currently serves as the Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee. His mission is to improve access to veterinary care for underserved families. He chairs the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition.

Previous to this position, Dr. Blackwell served as:

Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee

Chief of Staff, Office of the Surgeon General of the United States

Deputy Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration

Chief Veterinary Officer, U.S. Public Health Service

Chief Veterinary Officer, The Humane Society of the United States, and

Administrator of Young-Williams Animal Center

During 23 years on active duty, he achieved the rank of Assistant Surgeon General (Rear Admiral) of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Also, he owned and operated private veterinary practices in Oklahoma and Maryland. Dr. Blackwell has received numerous awards and recognitions, most notably, the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal (which is the highest personal honor award), and the Meritorious Service Medal (the second highest personal honor award). He also twice received the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal.

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