AVMA welcomes first director of wellness and diversity

Jennifer-Brandt-300wThe AVMA is excited to announce that Dr. Jen Brandt has joined our staff as the association’s first-ever director of wellness and diversity initiatives. Dr. Brandt is internationally renowned in the field of veterinary mental health and has an extensive background working with veterinary students and veterinary professionals to promote well-being, wellness and personal care.

“Wellness and diversity are more than buzz words. Adding a permanent staff member as director of wellness and diversity provides the day-in and day-out consistency and resources necessary to make a difference in our members’ lives,” said AVMA President Dr. Mike Topper.

Dr. Brandt has been at the forefront of veterinary mental health, working to provide the veterinary community with the communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills essential to providing quality veterinary care, and achieving career success and life satisfaction. She already is working on materials to help AVMA members take charge of and improve their well-being, such as these tips to restore well-being following a crisis.

If you attended the 2017 AVMA Convention you may already have met Dr. Brandt, as she presented a Hot Topic CE session, “Practical Tips for Stress Management,” where she discussed techniques for veterinary team members to use in managing the stress in their everyday lives. In case you missed it, the recorded webinar is posted in the wellness section of our website for viewing by all AVMA and SAVMA members.

Veterinarians’ mental health and emotional well-being have long been key priorities for the AVMA. The new position filled by Dr. Brandt is one more way we are upping our commitment to protecting and advocating for the health of our members and the rest of the veterinary team. Here are some of the other tools and services we encourage you to take advantage of:

  • Our directory of state wellness programs for veterinary professionals provides a contact point to seek services in each state, plus a summary of state laws, regulations and confidentiality provisions governing state wellness programs.
  • The Wheel of Well-being that we distributed at AVMA Convention lists more than 30 simple activities that veterinary team members can do during a break from work to boost mental and physical health. We’ve collected many of these wellness tips here on AVMA@Work for those of you who were unable to attend AVMA Convention.
  • Wellness gatekeeper training provides free training to help AVMA and SAVMA members identify the signs that someone may be considering suicide, establish a dialogue with them, and steer them to get professional help. This is a pilot program with a limited number of training seats available, so we encourage you to sign up now.
  • The Veterinary Wellness and Well-being Community on LinkedIn offers a community forum for AVMA and SAVMA members to connect with one another to discuss mental wellness and well-being in the veterinary profession.

We’re looking forward to sharing many more exciting wellness-related resources with you as Dr. Brandt settles in to her new position.  In the meantime, visit the wellness section of the AVMA website (avma.org/wellness) to learn more ways you can incorporate wellness and self-care into your life.

12 thoughts on “AVMA welcomes first director of wellness and diversity

  1. Thomas G Venard, DVM, MPH US Army Veterinary Corps Retired, private practice for 26 years and counting said:

    I have Bipolar Disease, have been hospitalized several times and would love to help others in the greatest profession in the world. If there are those out there that would like to talk feel free to contact me.

  2. Dr. Brandt is such an amazing person. I could not think of a better person to fill this position. She was instrumental in teaching students to use compassion and empathy with every client and develop a relationship with the client before being a “Doctor” in the exam room. Thank you for your wisdom and help during my time at OSU!

    Congratulations!!!!
    Dr. Daniel Bestic
    OSU class of 2006

  3. I am very glad to see this move by AVMA. I began my new career at Clear Path Veterinary Mentoring back in June of this year. I am coaching successful veterinary professionals for happiness and satisfaction . My focus is helping them overcome doubts and frustrations that destroy confidence.
    Dr Brandt, I wish you all the best in your efforts. If I can help in any way please feel free to contact me.
    Andy@cpvmentor.org.
    585-471-1947
    Andy Fleming DVM

  4. Congratulations on this excellent position and great hire!
    Wellness activities and resources are very well described in the announcement. I’m wondering if you could do the same for the “diversity” aspects of this new role?
    Great work, AVMA!
    Mark Starr, DVM, MPVM

    • Dr. Brandt is such an amazing person. I could not think of a better person to fill this position. She was instrumental in teaching students to use compassion and empathy with every client and develop a relationship with the client before being a “Doctor” in the exam room. Thank you for your wisdom and help during my time at OSU!

      Congratulations!!!!
      Dr. Daniel Bestic
      OSU class of 2006

  5. Both important areas that need leadership, guidance and support. Congratulations to the AVMA for recognizing the need and to Dr. Brandt.

  6. Congrats Dr. Brandt and AVMA for hiring this empowered woman! Looking forward to more awareness & promoting all aspects of health in this increasingly emotional field of medicine.

  7. Congratulations Dr. Brandt and the AVMA for hiring this empowered woman! Looking forward to more awareness and promoting all aspects of health in this increasingly emotional field of medicine.

    • Dear Dr. Brandt:
      I am thrilled that the AVMA has an official Wellness director.
      I am the Chairman for the Wellness Program for the Kentucky Veterinary Board of Veterinary Examiners and have been for over 15 years.
      It is awesome that we are bringing Wellness issues out of the dark and into the light.
      These programs can not only save careers, abut can and have saved lives as well.
      Should I could ever be of service to you do not hesitate to e-mail or call me-502-741-3590
      Godspeed!
      Samuel B. Vaughn, DVM

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