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Lauren E Van Patter

Kim & Stu Lang Professor in Community and Shelter Medicine
Department of Clinical Studies
Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
vanpattl@uoguelph.ca

Overview        

I’m the Kim & Stu Lang Professor in Community and Shelter Medicine in the Department of Clinical Studies at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. I’m a settler scholar of Finnish and Dutch descent living on the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, and within the ancestral territories of the Anishinnabe, Hodinöhsö:ni’, and Attawandaron peoples. I’m an interdisciplinary animal studies scholar and my research focuses most broadly on questions of ‘living well’ in multispecies communities, drawing together diverse methods and theoretical approaches to ask questions that are at once socio-cultural, bio- and ecological, and politico-ethical pertaining to human-animal relationships. My work is interdisciplinary and holistic, pairing a mixed-methods toolkit with cultural and critical theory, particularly drawing on feminist, posthuman, and decolonial intellectual traditions.

CHPP

The Kim & Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnerships Program aims to identify, understand, and remove barriers that impede access to healthcare for animals. This involves both delivery of companion animal healthcare services to vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved communities, as well as delivering and assessing pedagogical opportunities for veterinary trainees to gain experience providing compassionate care to such communities in a manner that respects self-determination. The primary communities served by the CHPP include: (1) regional and remote (northern) Indigenous communities; (2) vulnerable urban pet owners experiencing housing insecurity; and (3) vulnerable animals in shelters or those cared for by animal welfare organizations.

Current Research

My research program has two primary areas of focus:

A) Enhancing wellbeing in marginalized, more than human communities

The research program prioritizes mixed-methods and qualitative approaches to questions of One Health, lived experience of the human-animal bond, and multispecies justice. It mobilizes community-engaged, decolonial methodologies to address questions such as:

  • How are more-than-human health, wellbeing, and care understood by diverse communities?
  • How does marginalization operate across species lines, and what are the implications for wellbeing?
  • How can we most effectively enhance and promote multispecies health equity?

B) Veterinary pedagogies for social justice

The aims of this research are to assess pedagogical opportunities and best practices in terms of:

  • Addressing implicit bias, improving cultural humility, and understanding social inequity;
  • Experiential learning and community engagement in veterinary curricula;
  • Changing cultures of veterinary practice to improve service provision to marginalized or vulnerable community members.

Past Research

My background is in Environmental Sciences and Geography. My SSHRC funded MA thesis at the University of Guelph explored community responses to, and the lives of, feral cats, generating strategies for mitigating competing values and management preferences. My SSHRC funded PhD thesis at Queen’s University engaged wildlife managers, local residents, and community scientists to understand human-coyote conflicts and paths to coexisting with urban animals.

As an action-oriented scholar, I have worked collaboratively with veterinarians, wildlife practitioners, biologists, philosophers, and political theorists to produce outputs which extend dialogues around policy and practice for a range of domestic and wild species. In recent collaborations, I have worked with members of the Lives of Animals Research Group, the Animals in Philosophy, Politics, Law, and Ethics (APPLE) Research Cluster at Queen’s University, Coyote Watch Canada, and the Vital Geographies research group in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge.