Transforming the Future of Veterinary Medicine

Staff member with puppy

Staff member with puppy

This summer, we’re dismantling the two biggest barriers to veterinary care—cost and transportation—with our new Community Veterinary Clinic in the Excelsior neighborhood. This site will offer low-cost preventative services, such as vaccines, and flea and heartworm preventatives, as well as treatment for minor illnesses such as skin and ear infections. These services will help prevent unnecessary illness while keeping pets out of the shelter and in their own homes.

“The Community Veterinary Clinic is about getting away from a one-size-fits-all approach to care, by listening to our clients and working with them to develop a treatment plan that considers their individual goals and resources,” said Dr. Jena Valdez, Chief Medical Officer, Hospital and Community Medicine.

Modeled after the Call-Ahead Clinic at the San Francisco SPCA Mission Campus, the Community Veterinary Clinic will provide lifesaving care in a way that can be replicated by other organizations. While the national veterinary shortage continues, this clinic will increase access to the preventative services that keep small problems from becoming more serious. Said Dr. Valdez, “We’re creating ways to help prevent animals from being surrendered to shelters and identifying what we can do to help animals stay in the best home possible: the one they’re in.”

New Program Opens Doors to the Veterinary Field

Stephanie Patzan and Tony Yung in multiple training pictures

CoMET trainees Stephanie Patzan and Tony Yung train out in the field

Thanks to our new Community Medicine Education Training (CoMET) program, a more diverse population of aspiring animal care professionals is now entering the veterinary field. The CoMET program was launched this fiscal year with support from Maddie’s Fund and will introduce veterinary medicine to historically under-represented individuals in San Francisco. During a four-month mentorship, trainees learn under the expertise of SF SPCA Chief Medical Officer, Hospital and Community Medicine Dr. Jena Valdez and Community Medicine and Community Medicine Program Manager Laura Birdsall.

“This program is essential to expanding access to care by ensuring that BIPOC individuals see animal welfare as a viable career path,” Dr. Valdez says. “It’s essential to expanding the veterinary field.”

Our aim is to increase the communities represented and languages spoken in veterinary care, as well as to address the veterinary shortage. CoMET equips participants, like recent program graduates Stephanie Patzan and Tony Yung, with the necessary tools for careers in veterinary medicine. Stephanie and Tony are now veterinary assistants and have joined the San Francisco SPCA’s Community Medicine team.

“The CoMET program has given me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Stephanie says. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without the program. I am a useful translator to many Spanish-speaking clients and it’s a way to help underserved communities in San Francisco.”

You can help ensure programs like CoMET continue for years to come by including a gift in your estate plan to the San Francisco SPCA. To learn about your options, contact Director of Planned Giving June Hom at (415) 430-3251 or today.