Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program

Saving lives through science, leadership, and service.

Shelter Medicine: The Past, Present and Future of Saving Animals' Lives

***Due to Cornell University's new travel restrictions related to COVID-19, we are unable to travel for on-site shelter consultations at this time. Please continue to email us at for remote assistance. Thank you.

What is Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell?

Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program is a comprehensive shelter medicine program at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine made possible by Maddie’s Fund®.

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Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell

Shelter medicine differs from traditional small animal private practice in that it blends individual patient care with population health management, including preventative medicine and behavioral health. Prior to 1999, veterinarians working in shelters did so without formal training or external recognition of the specialized knowledge that comprises shelter medicine. The first course in shelter medicine, conceived by Dr. Lila Miller of the ASPCA and Dr. Jan Scarlett of Cornell University, was taught at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.  

Since then, our shelter medicine program has grown to offer 3 shelter medicine courses to CU veterinary students, internship opportunities to newly graduated veterinarians, on-site consultations services and outbreak response assistance to animal shelters, and much more.  Our team now consists of 7 full-time staff:, and we expect the services and opportunities our program has to offer will only expand as recognition and awareness of shelter medicine continues to grow. 

Our Mission

To provide veterinary students and practitioners with specialized knowledge of shelter medicine and the skills to enhance the medical and behavioral health of sheltered animals, and to save animal lives through science, leadership. and service. This mission is delivered through the following core strategies:

  • Training of veterinary students and practitioners in the problems of homeless animals, the animal sheltering system, and medical and behavioral care of individual animals and the shelter population as a whole
  • Advanced training of veterinary students, interns, and fellows to become experts and future leaders in the shelter medicine specialty field
  • Outreach consultation services to assist shelters with implementation of industry best practices regarding animal health and welfare and provision of disease outbreak diagnosis, response, and prevention strategies
  • Providing shelters and humane organizations access to subsidized diagnostic services through our Maddies'® Shelter Lab

Our Vision

Our vision is an army of practice-ready shelter veterinarians who have the knowledge, experience, and wisdom to join a shelter and make an immediate positive impact for shelter animals and the communities they live in.

Made Possible by Maddie

Maddie's Fund®is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday® co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $208.9 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter management leadership, shelter medicine education, and foster care across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie's Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them much joy. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl for ten years and continues to inspire them today.

Maddie's Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat. #ThanksToMaddie.

Veterinarians Oath

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Our Services


  • Consultation Services

    We are available for consultation—from quick questions, to ongoing issues, and even on-site visits.

  • Lectures and Workshops

    We offer educational lectures and workshops to animal shelters, addressing medical or behavior issues.

  • Student Training

    We offer a wide variety of opportunities for veterinary students to further their knowledge in the field of shelter medicine and gain hands on practical experience.