Makenzie Peterson

Director for Wellbeing


Makenzie Peterson serves as the AAVMC's first Director for Wellbeing. She brings a systems-oriented, community-wide perspective to the task of developing and implementing programs that promote wellbeing at AAVMC member institutions.

As a public health professional, Peterson’s expertise is in the development of community-wide programming that complements individual clinical counseling efforts to improve overall wellbeing. Her duties include catalyzing the development of a wellbeing initiatives for academic veterinary medicine and working with mental health professionals at all member institutions to develop outreach and other programs that enhance the wellbeing of faculty, staff and students.

Previously, Peterson served as Wellbeing Program Director at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and as Vice Chair of the the AAVMC's Veterinary Medical Health Professions (VMHP) group. At Cornell, Peterson developed and led a comprehensive wellbeing program to enhance community wellbeing, productivity, satisfaction, and academic and professional success for faculty, staff, and students.

She formerly served as a health specialist for an MIT/Harvard-sponsored start-up that was based in Harvard Business School’s Innovation Lab which focused on educating college students on health topics. Peterson is also a health and wellness coach, certified rape crisis counselor, and opioid overdose prevention educator.

Peterson regularly speaks on topics related to mental and physical health, stress reduction, suicide prevention, compassion fatigue and burnout, mindfulness and meditation, interpersonal communication, grief and loss, imposter syndrome, growth mindset and resiliency, ethics and core values, and other wellbeing-related topics.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in International Studies and a Master of Science (MSc) in health promotion and health education from the University of Utah. She will also be completing her Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) from the University of Southern California in 2022.

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