Cornell’s shelter medicine program awarded $1.6M five-year grant

The grant that helped make formalized shelter medicine education a reality at the College of Veterinary Medicine – and has improved the lives of countless dogs and cats in the process – has been renewed on its 15th anniversary.

This year, Maddie’s Fund® approved a new $1.6 million grant, which will support Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University through 2024. Maddie’s Fund is a national family foundation established by Cheryl and David A. Duffield ’62, MBA ’64 to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.

A dog at the Tompkins County SPCA.

“We’re so grateful to Maddie’s Fund for its enduring support. We will continue to build on our strong foundation of comprehensive shelter medicine practice, training and service to better the welfare of people and animals,” said Elizabeth Berliner, D.V.M. ’03, the Janet L. Swanson Director of Shelter Medicine.

The program has been in operation at Cornell since 2005. With support from Maddie’s Fund, Dr. Jan Scarlett first launched the program to educate veterinarians and veterinary students in shelter medicine, to provide medical and behavioral outreach to animal shelters, and to advance what was then a new discipline. This grant will support the programming and outreach efforts for the next five years.

Between six and eight million dogs and cats enter shelters in the United States each year, a number which can inundate facilities, stress budgets and overwhelm staff. In addition to its regular duties to address these issues in New York, Cornell’s program is currently leading veterinary service trips to multiple locations in Puerto Rico as part of the Spayathon for Puerto Rico initiative, an endeavor organized by the Humane Society of the United States to alleviate difficult conditions for animals in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, one of the few comprehensive shelter medicine programs in the country, is furthering the field of shelter medicine through their strong education, outreach and research efforts,” said Laurie Peek, D.V.M.’96, Maddie’s Executive Leadership team member. “The training of interns is extraordinary, and builds leadership in the animal welfare industry.”

Maddie's Fund® has awarded more than $225.7 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 10 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