Research components of the program include both collaborative projects with other faculty and organizations as well as direct student mentorship and guidance in the area of research development, planning, execution, and publication.
Collaborative projects with other faculty include:
- Heartworm disease research
- Stem cell research
- Animal welfare projects
The program’s 2019-2020 intern, Dr. Jafarian, is also completing qualitative research regarding shelter medicine learning.
Through the WaterShed Initiative, the program is in the process of hiring Dr. Lauren Powell. She completed her doctoral dissertation at the University of Sydney School of Public Health focused on the impacts of human-dog interactions on mental well-being. She will examine quality of life assessments in the shelter and evaluate teaching in the shelter medicine field.
Mentored student projects include independent studies, the PetSmart Charities summer research student program, and the endowed Rosenthal Fellowship.
In addition to collaborative research, Penn Vet Shelter Medicine developed the endowed Rosenthal Shelter Medicine Fellowship Program. It provides funding and stipends for students to pursue shelter medicine research in a mentored program structure.
Students are engaged at all levels of research management (planning, relationship building with shelters, data collection, statistics, writing, publication, etc.) at any one time. Two students from each class are selected each year which allows for peer-learning. There are regularly scheduled “lab” meetings and journal clubs (discussion of peer-reviewed literature).
The first fellow, Charlotte Burns, was a PetSmart Charities Scholarship winner and was supported through the Ambassador Program to present her work at the 2018 ABVP Symposium. Her paper on an outpatient parvovirus treatment paper was accepted for publication through JVECCS.
Other current fellow project topics include:
- the impact for clients and providers in a one-health clinic (Meriel Walsh),
- Solliquin efficacy in the shelter (Tabitha Stillo),
- incidence of Toxoplasmosis in the shelter (Dani Mitchell),
- profile of exotic animal intake in the Philadelphia region (Anna Shirosky),
- impact of at-home visits for clients and providers through Pets for Life (Lauren Lundahl), and
- cost-benefit analysis of upper respiratory treatment options (Tianna Chin).