Veterinary Livelihoods

male veterinarian inspecting a cat smiling

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Importance to Elanco and our Stakeholders

Many Elanco employees interact with veterinary clinics where they witness the emotional demands of the profession. Animal care providers can struggle with compassion fatigue, mental health issues and burnout, among other challenges. These individuals are highly trained to give care, but it is also important that we show care for them. One of the tenets of Elanco’s veterinary advocacy effort is that assisting in self-care is an ethical imperative. If animal caregivers fail to take care of themselves, they potentially endanger or lose the ability to care for the animals that depend on them.

According to a survey of U.S. veterinarians by the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinary professionals are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders compared with the general population of U.S. adults. Data suggest that nearly one in 10 U.S. veterinarians might experience serious psychological distress and one in six might have had suicidal thoughts.

While veterinarians and animal care professionals are highly trained to give care, it’s also important they practice the ethical imperative of self-care.

Our Action

Better care for pets by caring for veterinarians

Many Elanco employees are veterinarians who have experienced the emotional demands of the profession. We seek to support our veterinary partners who may struggle with the “cost of caring” for those in need.

We help train veterinarians on leading self-care practices, support them in combating the stressors of the profession and help them embrace the rewards inherent to the job. Elanco promotes well-being in the veterinary profession through:

  • Betterinary Series: A series of talks approved for continuing education credits to provide personal and professional well-being education for veterinary professionals.
  • Insights Discovery: A personality exploration workshop, used both internally and externally, that facilitates connection with colleagues and workplaces where innovation, creativity and productivity thrive. We also provide this training as part of the Power of 10 leadership initiative in collaboration with the Veterinary Medical Association of Executives (VMAE).
  • Fear Free®: A third-party certification program that provides veterinary professionals with the knowledge to address fear, anxiety and stress in animals – to improve the experience of veterinary care for all involved. Many of our consulting veterinarians are certified and help train veterinary staff.
  • Mental Health First Aid: A certification that teaches individuals how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health challenges among adults.

Across the globe, we sponsor virtual mental health conferences, partner with counselors to offer free sessions, deliver well-being insights through podcasts and offer face-to-face mental health and wellbeing workshops delivered by our staff. Since 2011, Dr. Heidi Hulon has served as a Regional Consulting Veterinarian at Elanco. Her current role as Well-being Consulting Veterinarian supports education on wellbeing topics to our veterinary customers across the country. Subjects in which Dr. Hulon has certifications include: compassion fatigue, positive psychology, QPR Institute suicide-prevention training, the human-animal bond, mental health first aid and FRANK communication training.

External Affiliations and Collaborations

We collaborate with many academic institutions to lend expertise, help advance leading practice and support the next generation of veterinarians. Elanco is proud to be the sole sponsor of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Leadership Academy, which helps provide leadership development in academic veterinary medicine.  This academy is designed for emerging leaders in academia, as a forum for building lasting ties between faculty members at veterinary schools and departments around the world. The forum contains more than 53 member institutions across North America and Europe, with 30 candidates in each class. Seven current veterinary medicine school deans are graduates of the AAVMC leadership academy.

Elanco developed the Power of 10 Leadership Initiative in partnership with the VMAE in 2012 to help recent veterinary graduates develop foundational skills in leadership, communication and business.

We also help increase access to graduate-level training for diverse student populations through Elanco R&D’s Animal Health Fellowship (part of the Elanco Scholars Program). We’re collaborating with Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to support an inaugural cohort of scholars who will be selected in 2023. Our intent is for this fellowship to have the following impacts:

  • Increase access to graduate-level training for diverse student populations
  • Elevate Elanco R&D as an employer of choice for early career talent
  • Support areas of research vital to our animal health solutions

Elanco is also a proud sponsor of many Veterinary Business Management Association student groups within veterinary schools.

The content of this brief is informed by the following ESG disclosure standards:

  • Policies and commitments to the material issue (GRI 3-3c) 
  • Impact Management of Resilience Issues (GRI 3-3d) 
  • Resilience and material issue action statements (IFRS S1) 
  • Mechanisms to integrate the material issue into strategy, decision-making and financial planning (IFRS S1) 
  • Board and management responsibilities related to the material issue (IFRS S1, GRI 2-12, 2-13, 2-14) 
  • Actions taken to respond to the material issue, with a qualitative assessment of how these actions support the ‘resilience’ of Elanco (IFRS S1) 
  • Industry associations, other membership associations, and national or international advocacy organizations in which Elanco participates in a significant role (GRI 2-28)  

1. Source: AVMA, Mental health study explores U.S. veterinary professionals’ well-being, published March 2015.

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