John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Internship in Shelter Medicine


John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Internship in Shelter Medicine


Elizabeth Berliner, DVM, DABVP; Janet L. Swanson Director of Shelter Medicine, PMDS/DCS


Holly Putnam, DVM; Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Clinician, PMDS/DCS


This proposal seeks to support the one-year specialty Internship in Shelter Medicine. This position was previously funded by Maddie’s Fund since 2010; however funding will end with this academic year (Aug 2015).

Since 2010, the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell has successfully trained nine interns in shelter medicine who have tremendous impact across the country on animal shelter communities, companion animals in shelters, and the ongoing development of the specialty. Additionally, their work inspires other veterinary students to take interest in the plight of homeless, neglected, and abused companion animals. Our internship graduates have assumed leadership roles in shelters across North America, including Denver Dumb Friends League, the Animal Welfare Alliance of Camden NJ, the Connecticut Humane Society, the Pet Community Center in Nashville TN, the Animal Rescue League of Boston and the Toronto Humane Society.

While engaging in their internship, our trainees have direct impact on students in all four years of training at the veterinary college: first and second year students participate with them in weekly rounds and weekly shelter clinics; third and fourth year students engage in direct clinical care on rotation at the shelters. Our students are instructed and inspired by our shelter medicine interns. The impact on animal welfare, from far reaching policy to the tiniest kitten, is real and immeasurable. It is not a stretch to say that we have saved hundreds of thousands of animals through education and care at this point, and our internship is central to our work. Continued funding for this internship is critical to our program and its lifesaving mission.

Intern with dog