Northwest Center Researchers focus on Occupational Health among Veterinary Workers

April 21, 2016

A recent article in the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association highlighted a recent study on mental health risk factors for professionals working in the veterinary field. This risk factors study found that mental health and well-being issues run high among veterinary professionals, and risk factors for depression and suicide are prevalent.

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Dr. Heather Fowler, picture: University of Washington

Following these findings, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz and Dr. Heather Fowler, of DEOHS’s Center for One Health Research, reached out to the principle investigators with an interest in addressing mental health issues among veterinary workers through an occupational health approach.

Through the new Northwest Center ERC training program in Occupational Health at the Human-Animal Interface (OHHAI), the Center for One Health Research will focus on the occupational health of animal and veterinary workers.

They plan to implement research that would incorporate mental health into occupational health outcomes, and encourage greater interdisciplinary collaboration on this issue. Dr. Rabinowitz hypothesizes that increased collaboration and communication between human health workers and animal workers may be essential to achieving better mental health outcomes for veterinary workers and students.

Drs. Rabinowitz and Fowler will look at professional burnout, compassion fatigue, and stress from animal euthanasia, along with other factors as they work to understand mental health outcomes for veterinary professionals.

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