Director for Wellbeing
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Makenzie Peterson serves as the AAVMC’s first Director for Wellbeing. She works to advance AAVMC’s strategic goal of fostering a culture of wellbeing throughout academic veterinary medicine by promoting preventative, systems-based initiatives. Peterson provides subject-matter expertise on the science and application of evidence-based health and wellbeing practices, as well as the development and implementation of strategic organizational changes to enhance the wellbeing of faculty, staff, and students and improve the overall wellbeing of academic communities. She also speaks on a variety of wellbeing-related topics across the profession to drive positive change.
Peterson previously served as Vice Chair of the AAVMC’s Veterinary Medical Health Professions (VMHP) group, and as the first Wellbeing Program Director at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and. 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. Peterson’s previous roles include being 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. She served on the Wellbeing Committee for the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative. Peterson is also a certified rape crisis counselor and opioid overdose prevention educator.
Born and raised in Alaska, Peterson earned a Master of Science (MSc) in Health Promotion and Health Education from the University of Utah, and will be completing her Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) from the University of Southern California in 2022.