Student Supervision

 ‘Enhancing wellbeing in underserved more-than-human communities through veterinary care access

Under the supervision of Dr. Lauren Van Patter, two funded MSc positions are available in the Department of Clinical Studies at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, working with the Kim and Stu Lang Community Healthcare Partnership Program (CHPP).

Project overview

The aim of the CHPP is to identify, understand, and remove barriers that impede access to healthcare for animals. This involves both delivery of companion animal healthcare services to underserved and placed-at-risk 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: regional and remote Indigenous communities; urban pet owners experiencing housing insecurity; and animals in shelters or those cared for by animal welfare organizations.

The aim of the research program is to enhance wellbeing in underserved, more-than-human communities by engaging mixed-methods and qualitative approaches to questions of One Health, lived experience of the human-animal bond, and multispecies justice.

Job description

We are recruiting two master’s students to undertake case studies as part of the project ‘Enhancing wellbeing in underserved, more-than-human communities through veterinary care access’. The project will unfold through empirical investigations within partner communities, guided by the following sub-objectives:

I.     Document lived experiences of the human-animal bond to deepen understandings of more-than-human health inequities;

II.   Identify partner community needs and priorities to guide future respectful engagement, consultation, and service provision;

III.  Synthesize preliminary best practices for respectful companion animal care provision within underserved and placed-at-risk communities.

Students will have the opportunity to design a case study aligning with their interests/goals. Methods could, for instance, range from quantitative surveys measuring community partner needs and priorities aimed at generating best practices, to qualitative approaches such as photovoice or multispecies ethnography which delve into the complexity of shared life in multispecies communities and more-than-human social determinants of health. Research will contribute to emerging work in the Veterinary Social Sciences and One Health.


Candidates must hold either an honours baccalaureate degree or a DVM degree. Experience/interest in veterinary social sciences &/or qualitative research an asset. Applicants are encouraged to provide details as to their experience working with placed-at-risk communities, and/or the skills they possess which qualify them to successfully mobilize an anti-oppressive approach to research.


Minimum guaranteed funding of $18,500 per year for two years, with possible opportunities for additional funding.

The program

The successful candidate will be enrolled in a Master’s of Science (MSc) by Thesis in the Department of Clinical Studies. The MSc program provides focused research training in areas related to veterinary medicine. The thesis option requires a minimum of 6 semesters (2 years) of full-time study. The program involves a minimum of three 0.50 credit graduate level courses. Candidates are required to carry out an independent research study and produce a thesis. The student will also have the opportunity to register in the Collaborative Specialization in One Health.

Start date: September 2022 or September 2023


Interested individuals should email Dr. Van Patter ( with a CV, unofficial transcript, and statement of research interest (~1 page providing an overview of research interests, topics, questions/aims, methodologies, impact/outcomes, etc. These don’t need to be final and can be developed collaboratively, but it is important to communicate what motivates you to do this research, how you would approach the research, what outcomes you are hoping for, etc.).

At the University of Guelph, fostering a culture of inclusion is an institutional imperative. The University invites and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in employment, who may contribute to further diversification of our Institution. In the Van Patter lab, we believe incorporating diverse viewpoints, knowledges, and experiences both strengthens the work we do, and is vital to combatting colonialism, racism, cis-heteropatriarchy, and ableism in research endeavours and institutions. We therefore encourage individuals from equity-deserving groups, and those with lived experience relevant to the CHPP’s mandate, to apply. For any inquires, assistance, or accessibility needs, please contact

The University of Guelph resides on the ancestral lands of the Attawandaron people and the treaty lands and territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We offer our respect to our Anishinaabe, Hodinöhsö:ni’ and Métis neighbours as we strive to strengthen our relationships with them.

Learn more about the University of Guelph’s Indigenous Graduate Scholarships here:

For admissions details, please see:  
or contact Caroline Bombino, Department of Clinical Studies Graduate Program Assistant:

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