In 2016, AVMA was proud to host three Reaching UP clinics, which provided high-quality, high-volume (HQHV) spay/neuter and preventive care services to underserved populations in New Mexico. These clinics were made possible through the involvement of dedicated volunteer veterinarians, veterinary students and veterinary technicians, and strengthened by funding support from a variety of private sponsors.
Reaching UP provides valuable services for Native American populations that historically have had minimal access to consistent veterinary care. The program demonstrates the connection between veterinary medicine and public health, and serves as a reminder of what drives so many veterinarians to enter this profession: the opportunity to improve the health and welfare of animals and people.
This unique program not only provides care to a community; it also leaves a profound impact on its participants. AVMA member veterinarians and Student AVMA (SAVMA) volunteers came away with a renewed sense of purpose, passion and perspective after each clinic.
“Every member of the veterinary team and staff wanted to be there and put passion into their work,” shared student volunteer Christopher Clement, a 2019 DVM candidate enrolled in a joint program of University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado State University. “For me, this was inspiring and revitalizing. It confirmed my reasons for deciding to go into veterinary medicine, for the people and their pets.”
The November 2016 clinic was the first clinic to engage SAVMA members as volunteers, and their professionalism and assistance encouraged Reaching UP organizers to continue seeking student volunteers for future clinics.
2016 impact by the numbers
In 2016, Reaching UP engaged the help of 20 AVMA member veterinarians, six SAVMA veterinary student volunteers and five veterinary technicians. Over the course of three clinics spanning four days each, volunteers:
- saw 850 patients
- performed 475 spay/neuter surgeries
- performed 375 preventive care or outpatient medical care exams and treatments
- distributed 1,200 pounds of cat and dog food
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of the dedicated volunteers, without whom Reaching UP would not be successful. We also thank the Banfield Foundation for providing funding for Reaching UP in 2016, and Purina for its donation of dog and cat food.
Get involved in Reaching UP
Applications are currently being accepted for volunteer veterinarians and veterinary students to assist with clinics to be held in April and November 2017. The deadline to apply for the April clinic is February 17. AVMA and SAVMA members interested in volunteering can find application forms and more information at avma.org/ReachingUP.
Thank you to the Banfield Foundation for funding the 2016 Reaching UP program, and to the following sponsors who provided generous in-kind donations: Ceva, Purina, Solvo and Zoetis.