The AAVMC’s Academic Veterinary Wellbeing Professionals (AVWP) provide the academic veterinary community with the support and wellbeing expertise necessary for students, staff, residents/interns, and faculty to be healthy, successful professionals in veterinary medicine. The work that AVWPs do is integral to the positive evolution of the veterinary medical education system, as research shows that veterinary medical professionals overall can experience mental health concerns at a rate higher than the general population.

To support and address the interconnected wellbeing needs of academic veterinary communities by fostering a culture of wellbeing as an institutional and health profession priority.


  • Serve as a resource for academic veterinary wellbeing professionals.
  • Share comprehensive, evidence-based wellbeing supports and programming to develop the individual and community wellbeing of their institution’s students, staff, residents/interns, faculty, and leadership.
  • Support members in assisting their institutional curriculum committees and faculty in graduating students with the wellbeing competencies necessary to become resilient professionals and compassionate future leaders in veterinary medicine.
  • To provide recommendations for research initiatives and council related to wellbeing to the AAVMC Academic Affairs Committee.

AVWP members strive for ethical best practices in veterinary mental health supports and overall wellbeing promotion within their college. AVWP membership is comprised of:

  1.  licensed mental health professionals working within AAVMC member institutions and/or
  2. a full or part-time paid position at an AAVMC member institution where it explicitly states in their institutional job description that providing formal wellbeing services to their CVM community (mental health support or wellbeing programming) is a major focus of their role responsibilities.
    a.  There are separate member groups at AAVMC for those engaged in career advising, leadership development, and financial literacy. Please engage with those groups if your institutional role focuses on those topics.

Member institutions or student groups interested in inviting a wellbeing speaker or hiring a wellbeing professional to their institution, are encouraged to refer to AAVMC’s suggested guidelines for assessing wellbeing expertise.

There are many within the academic veterinary profession who are passionate about wellbeing and would like to be engaged. For those who do not meet the AVWP membership guidelines, we encourage you to reach out to your institution’s wellbeing professional(s) or leadership for engagement opportunities. Improving the overall wellbeing of the veterinary profession is a community effort.

AAVMC Director for Wellbeing:

Makenzie Peterson, MSc

AVWP 2020/2021 Co-Chairs:

Stephanie Johnson, LCSW, Louisiana State University
Alex Rowell, PsyD, Oregon State University

AAVMC Academic Affairs Committee Liaison:

Lynn Maki, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison

AVMA Liaison:
Jen Brandt, LISW-S, PhD, AVMA Director for Wellbeing, Inclusion, and Diversity Initiatives