Laurie's Blogs.


May 2023

An Untapped Potential: Veterinary Education and Interprofessional Collaboration

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT, Cert. Sm. Anim. Acup / Dry Needling



In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, interprofessional collaboration is increasingly recognized as a key driver of improved patient outcomes and comprehensive care. While veterinarians play a crucial role in animal health, it is important to acknowledge that their training programs historically have not placed significant emphasis on interprofessional collaboration. In this blog post, we will explore the current state of veterinary education regarding interprofessional collaboration, the potential benefits of enhanced collaboration, and the importance of bridging this gap to better serve animals, humans, and the environment.


The Current Landscape:

Veterinary education has traditionally focused on developing a strong foundation in veterinary medicine, encompassing areas such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, and clinical skills. While this knowledge is essential for veterinary practice, there has been limited emphasis on interprofessional collaboration and the integration of knowledge and skills from other healthcare disciplines.


Challenges in Veterinary Education:

Several factors contribute to the limited inclusion of interprofessional collaboration in veterinary education:


Curriculum Constraints: Veterinary curricula are already packed with a vast array of subject matter, leaving limited room for additional content. As a result, there is often insufficient time to explore interdisciplinary concepts and develop collaborative skills.


Siloed Training: Veterinary students are primarily educated within veterinary schools, with limited exposure to other healthcare disciplines. This siloed training approach may hinder the development of collaborative skills and the understanding of different perspectives.


Limited Resources: Veterinary schools may face resource constraints, limiting their capacity to expand educational programs that promote interprofessional collaboration. The availability of faculty, funding, and partnerships with other healthcare institutions may impact the integration of collaborative learning experiences.


Lack of Awareness: Some veterinary students and faculty may not fully recognize the value and importance of interprofessional collaboration in veterinary practice. This lack of awareness further perpetuates the gap.


Benefits of Enhanced Interprofessional Collaboration:

Integrating interprofessional collaboration into veterinary education can yield significant benefits for veterinary professionals, animals, and society as a whole:


Holistic Patient Care: Collaborative approaches enable veterinarians to work together with other healthcare professionals, leading to more comprehensive and integrated care. This facilitates a holistic understanding of health issues, better-informed treatment decisions, and improved patient outcomes.


One Health Perspective: By engaging in interprofessional collaboration, veterinarians can contribute to the One Health movement, which recognizes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. Collaborative efforts can address zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and environmental concerns more effectively.


Enhanced Research Opportunities: Collaboration between veterinary professionals and other disciplines can open doors to innovative research projects, combining expertise from diverse fields. This interdisciplinary approach can lead to ground-breaking discoveries and advancements in animal and human health.


Bridging the Gap:

To address the gap in interprofessional collaboration, the following steps can be taken:


Curriculum Revisions: Veterinary schools should consider integrating interprofessional education modules, exposing students to collaborative practice models, and promoting interdisciplinary interactions.


Interdisciplinary Experiences: Incorporating interprofessional experiences, such as joint workshops, simulations, and case studies, can provide students with opportunities to interact and learn from professionals in other healthcare fields.


Faculty Development: Providing faculty members with professional development opportunities in interprofessional education and collaboration can enhance their skills and enable them to effectively teach and model collaborative behaviors.


Partnerships and Collaborations: Building partnerships with other healthcare institutions, such as medical schools or public health agencies, can foster collaborative opportunities for veterinary students and professionals.



While veterinary education has traditionally placed limited emphasis on interprofessional collaboration, recognizing the importance of this approach is crucial for the advancement of veterinary medicine. Integrating interprofessional education into veterinary curricula can equip future veterinarians with the skills, knowledge, and collaborative mindset needed to provide holistic care, contribute to interdisciplinary research, and address complex health challenges. By bridging the gap in interprofessional collaboration, veterinarians can play an even more significant role in promoting the health and well-being of animals, humans, and the environment.


Moreover, addressing the gap in interprofessional collaboration in veterinary education aligns with the evolving expectations of society. Clients and pet owners increasingly expect a comprehensive and coordinated approach to animal care, where veterinarians can effectively communicate and collaborate with professionals from other healthcare disciplines.


As the veterinary profession continues to evolve and expand its scope, it is essential to recognize the value of interprofessional collaboration and take proactive steps to integrate it into veterinary education. By doing so, we can ensure that veterinarians are well-equipped to provide the highest quality of care, contribute to interdisciplinary efforts, and ultimately improve the health outcomes of animals and humans alike.



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