Zoetis adds wellness course to VETVANCE program

New web-based modules respond to growing body of evidence showing vets experience higher rates of mental illness.

Zoetis Inc. announced Oct. 18 the addition of seven new Personal Wellness modules to VETVANCE, its free, web-based learning resource for the veterinary community.

The new two- to three-minute video modules, part of Zoetis’ ongoing "Commitment to Veterinarians" platform, are a response to the growing body of evidence that veterinary professionals worldwide experience mental illness, depression and suicidal tendencies at a significantly higher rate than the general population.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, for example, found that among 10,000 working veterinarians, 6.8% of men and 10.9% of women showed signs of serious psychological distress — including feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness — since graduating from veterinary school. For comparison, in the general U.S. adult population, 3.5% of men and 4.4% of women showed similar symptoms.

“Zoetis is deeply committed to addressing the increased risk for mental illness across the veterinary industry,” said Dr. Christine Jenkins, Zoetis chief veterinary medical officer, U.S. operations. “These new modules are designed to help prepare veterinary professionals to proactively recognize and address the warning signs. They represent just one of several recent steps we’ve taken to support the health and wellness of the veterinary community.”

VETVANCE was created in 2014 to provide veterinary students and recent graduates with tools and resources to support their career development.

VETVANCE, available at www.VETVANCE.com, offers learning modules on a range of non-technical topics that supplement the veterinary college curriculum, including 100-plus multimedia modules that cover topics relevant to professional development, business skills, financial literacy, online networking and job opportunities.

Zoetis said the new VETVANCE video modules add Personal Wellness to the catalog of course offerings, providing information and suggested techniques for enhancing personal mental health and well-being. They are narrated by Dr. David Bartram, Zoetis director of outcomes research, international operations, who has spent much of his career conducting empirical research into health and wellness in the veterinary profession and has authored multiple articles on the topic. To further support this effort, Zoetis also has added links to online information and resources about mental health and well-being to VETVANCE.

“Veterinary students and practicing veterinarians alike are often exhausted and overly stressed and typically don’t have time to find support after hours. The new VETVANCE modules are designed to provide a proactive approach to achieving mental health,” Bartram said. “Our intent is to raise awareness of mental illness in this community while simultaneously providing tools and resources for earlier detection and prevention so veterinarians can better manage the day-to-day challenges of their jobs.”

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