Association of Shelter Veterinarians
Center for One Health Research
Dr. Kuehl is a veterinarian and a clinical instructor in shelter medicine, as one of the first remote faculty for the college, based at Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue, Washington. She started her career as a shelter veterinarian in Madison, Wisconsin at the Dane County Humane Society. Around this same time this humane society became the clinical training ground for Dr. Sandra Newbury’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine. This started Dr. Kuehl on her journey as an educator, providing mentorship and hands-on training for shelter medicine residents, interns and 4th Year Veterinary Students through a shelter medicine rotation.
When a faculty position was created to focus on primary care and surgical education for WSU-CVM 4th year students imbedded at Seattle Humane Society, Dr. Kuehl was eager to take the educational experience for the students to the next level. In addition to an average of 30 surgical procedures per student in a two week period, Dr. Kuehl guides the students through several veterinary outreach clinics during the rotation where they have the chance to build their technical skills, communication and confidence as clinicians while working with at-risk members of the community in need of veterinary care for their companions. Through a partnership with the University of Washington’s Center for One Health Research and Neighborcare Health, the One Health Clinic is one of these experiences. Not only are the students providing veterinary care but this interprofessional clinic allows them to work alongside other professional students (Medicine, Social Work, Public Health) and gain a fuller understanding of the relationships between human and animal health and care for the entire family unit. Through this collaboration Dr. Kuehl’s goal is to bring other providers in the Seattle area together to create more effective and streamlined access to care for families in need as well as create a toolkit for other communities to implement their own integrated One Health care teams.
From a very early age I knew that I would become a veterinarian. I enjoy working with animals, but it is the reward of helping to create, strengthen and preserve the bond between people and their pets that has truly changed my life. Through my work in the One Health Clinic I have come to work very closely with individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; people who deserve quality care for their pets as much as the wider population of animal lovers. The reality of healthcare inequality that our clients and their animals face has required me to re-think and expand my clinical approach and to engage in interprofessional partnerships to create care plans for each family, for the humans and the animals together.
As a Clinical Instructor for Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, I’ve been given an incredible opportunity to create space in the curriculum for students to hone their skills through a variety of outreach experiences. It is incredibly gratifying for me as an instructor to see a spark lit in these students after an event. Often, they are excited to discuss how they can integrate outreach and volunteer work into their career ahead. Advances in veterinary medicine utilize cutting-edge technology and research at the teaching hospital, but the reality of practice is that only some pet-owners will be able to afford that level of care. In contrast this clinic allows the students to hone their most basic skills. They are forced to trust in the power of their observations and discussions with a client to create effective treatment plans in the absence of advanced diagnostics and therapies. Beyond the obvious benefits to the patients of this clinic, the experiences in this clinical setting is positively impacting the future of the veterinary profession through deepened empathy for at-risk populations, encouraging communication across disciplines and understanding of the strength and value of the human-animal bond.
Education, Training and Awards:
DVM, University of Wisconsin- School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison, WI (2012)
B.S. Biology, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC (2007)
General Research / Expertise:
One Health clinical care and interprofessional student education
Primary Care and Surgical Education
High-Quality, High-Volume Spay/Neuter Surgery
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