Elizabeth Strand, founder and director of Veterinary Social Work, was recently named All Creatures Great and Small Endowed Clinical Associate Professor in Veterinary Social Work in the UT College of Veterinary Medicine
Tending to the Human Needs in Veterinary Medicine
Pioneering Veterinary Wellness and Social Work Summit Ahead

On a daily basis I learn an enormous amount about being a social worker and compassion from working with veterinarians. They are the most compassionate professionals I have ever been associated with but often times, that is at their own peril. Veterinary Social Work, a joint program of the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Social Work, tends to the human needs in veterinary medicine. Veterinarians, notorious for thinking they can take care of everything, are beginning to realize it is good to partner with people who have expertise that will make their jobs better and help them incorporate self-care in their professional and personal lives.

In response to a growing body of evidence that veterinary students are experiencing excessive levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, and that these factors negatively impact productivity, longevity, and professional enjoyment, Veterinary Social Work (VSW) will host the Veterinary Wellness and Social Work Summit (VWSWS) in Knoxville the first week of November. The meeting is targeted toward leadership in veterinary medical education as well as state and national organizations. It also serves social workers pursuing certification in VSW and others interested in partnering with veterinary medicine.

VWSWS is the combination of two meetings: the Health and Wellness Summit, which focuses on veterinary student wellness and health, that has been hosted for the past two years at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Fourth International Veterinary Social Work Summit (IVSWS) that has been hosted at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Social Work in Knoxville since 2008. The combined meeting is convened by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges with sponsorship from Zoetis and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

This is a wonderful opportunity to bring two professions, veterinary medicine and social work, together to combat the issue of poor wellness in veterinary medicine. Leaders in veterinary medicine are recognizing the need to consult with social scientists and mental health professionals to address the poor wellness that is present in the profession. As we begin to explore why that exists we are learning much of it is because at the end of every leash or at the head of every herd is a person. Veterinarians are highly trained to address animal issues, but human beings are a whole other factor. So many times the human interactions have a negative impact on many facets of wellness for the veterinarian, so partnering with a profession whose targeted patient is the person can help veterinarians protect their own wellness while providing excellent medical care for the animals they protect and heal.

This meeting is the culmination of thirteen years of dedicated effort. It’s a big deal, and I’m excited about what it means for the professions of veterinary medicine and social work. This is an opportunity learn from each other and advance both professions, which has been the intention and vision of VSW since its inception in 2002. I want to help veterinarians with their honorable work so they can keep their compassion alive without it harming them.


National Extension Honor Society Celebrates Six
Submitted by National Epsilon Sigma Phi and the ESP Tennessee Omega Chapter

Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) is the honorary Extension fraternal organization open to Extension educators across all disciplines and professional levels. The 2015 National Epsilon Sigma Phi Conference was held October 4–7 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Tennessee Extension was well represented at this national conference by Omega Chapter members. Ann Berry, professor and consumer economics specialist, presided over the conference, serving as ESP national president. Berry is currently serving the third of a four-year term on the National ESP Board. She also represents ESP on the Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP), composed of the presidents, president-elects, and past presidents of the seven Extension member associations.

During the conference Awards and Recognition Banquet, she was presented a clock for her leadership and service as well as a wooden key, the symbol for the association. The ESP key is a significant part of this meeting, as conference attendees each sign the key to be presented to the president. Donations are also made in honor of the president to ESP’s Development Fund. The Development Fund is used to provide members scholarships and stipends for participation in professional and leadership development opportunities. This year donations for the President’s Key brought in the highest total ever of $5,500, a testament to the support that Berry has from her friends, colleagues, administrators, and the Tennessee Omega Chapter. She represented Tennessee well, with grace and professionalism. She will continue to serve on the National ESP Board for another year as past president.

Our Tennessee Extension colleagues were also recognized during the conference. Joseph Donaldson, assistant professor for program development and evaluation, received the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Extension Professional of the Year, designed to recognize excellence is interdisciplinary Extension work. For the past 24 months, he provided leadership for a multistate local food-working group of Extension personnel from six states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia). The group represented 4-H youth development, agriculture, natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and community economic development. The group's work demonstrated the health, economic, and environmental outcomes of local food, and they have applied for more than $350,000 in extramural funds. Donaldson is known for fostering collaboration between and among 1862 and 1890 Extension programs. He was a presenter at an 1890 Extension conference, and he models teamwork for Tennessee State University and University of Tennessee projects. He was praised for his visionary thinking and integrity. This award also came with a cash award of $1,000.

Jane Gault, Extension agent, Davidson County, was the recipient of the Southern Region Distinguished Service Recognition. Gault is a thirty-eight-year Extension professional. Through her collaboration and leadership with other agencies and organization in the area of financial education, she provides families and individuals the tools and knowledge to improve their financial stability. She has served ESP on the chapter and national levels in numerous leadership roles.

Larry Moorehead, agent and director, Moore County, was the recipient of the Southern Region Visionary Leadership Award. Moorehead has been a visionary leader throughout his thirty-eight-year Extension career. He has educated professionals, farmers, and 4-H’ers. Moore County is predominately a livestock county, and this has been a perfect fit for him.

Dena Wise, professor and consumer economics specialist, was the Southern Region Continued Excellence recipient. Wise gives leadership to programs that reach more than 150,000 Tennesseans each year with information on personal finance and consumer issues and has received national recognition for her programming. She has served her ESP state chapter as treasurer and state president and has served on the organizational team for a number of state ESP meetings.

Robert Burns, associate dean of Extension, was the recipient of the Southern Region International Service Award. The joint UTIA/Croatian Extension programming effort Burns leads has resulted in a cooperative sharing of knowledge between Tennessee and Croatia. The resulting impact is the development of science-based Extension programming and demonstrations in Croatia, as well as meaningful professional development opportunities for Tennessee Extension agents and specialists. Kudos for our Tennessee/Omega Chapter members!


Extension’s Jerry Lamb Honored for Natural Resource Leadership

The Tennessee Forestry Association has honored UT Extension Rhea County agent and director Jerry Lamb with its 2015 Outstanding County Extension Award in Forestry. Lamb received the award at the association’s annual meeting in Chattanooga October 15.

During Lamb’s Extension career in Claiborne, Humphreys, and Rhea Counties, he has conducted many forestry and natural resource educational programs. Among his many achievements and impacts, he has:
  • Assisted in the organization of and programs for the Rhea County Forestry Association;
  • Served as a facilitator and conducted educational programs for Project Learning Tree for a professional development natural resource program for K-12 educators sponsored by the American Forest Foundation. Lamb has used PLT in his educational activities in 4-H clubs;
  • Received the Certificate of Merit from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and was recognized with a cover story for their magazine;
  • Served on the Tennessee Department of Education Vocational Agriculture Advisory Board for statewide forestry and wildlife curriculum development;
  • Conducted numerous programs for youth education: forestry and wildlife 4-H judging teams, Celebrate the Earth (eleventh annual), and Conservation Camp are a few examples; chaired the 4-H Environmental Stewardship Team;
  • Served as a member of the UT Extension Forest Landowner Initiative planning team; and
  • Taught Urban Forestry Classes for Master Gardeners in Rhea, Bradley, and Roane Counties.
Lamb is also a private forest landowner who harvested ten acres of mature hardwoods and planted five acres in yellow pines on his property.

He is recognized for his natural resource leadership within UT Extension. The UT Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries and the Tennessee Forestry Association congratulate Jerry Lamb for his exceptional youth and adult Extension education efforts in natural resources.