Nursing students introduce Vancouver’s first Vet Pop Up Clinic


Photo Credit: Sandy Sharkey

                  Photo Credit: Sandy Sharkey

On December 4th, 2016   a team of UBC Nursing students collaboratively put on Vancouver’s first primary care clinic for clients and their pets. The idea for the clinic was proposed by Kelsi Jessamine, a 4th year UBC School of Nursing (SoN) student, who integrated development of the clinic into The SoN Synthesis Project course (N334). Kelsi worked on organizing, developing, and directing the clinic with devoted team of UBC Nursing students. The student team included: Jessica Ardley, Laura Gallagher, Livianna Cristea, Jennifer Hoffman, and Anna Dupas. The team of students partnered with the non-for profit agency, Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO), to provide free veterinary care to pets of under housed individuals, while offering health and social services to the owner(s).  CVO and the UBC Nursing students collaborated with groups including: Paws for Hope, Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver Family Services, to launch the highly success pilot at Directions Youth Services.

The Nursing Team from left to right: Elena Bernardi, Liviana Cristea, Laura Gallagher, Jess Ardley, Kelsi Jessamine and Jennifer Hoffman. Anna Dupas missing from photo.


The pilot was targeted to street youth with pets in the downtown region. Internal referrals for the clinic were made by Michlle Simms (NP, VCH); however, walk-in appointments were also accepted the day of the clinic. Paws for Hope provided veterinary care to 25 animals which included: immunizations, deworming, spay and neuter referral, nail trimming, and preventative education to owners. The UBC nursing students provided primary health care services to the pet owners. The services provided included the administration of 11 influenza vaccine youth and suppling 33 clients with naloxone kits and training. Additional care and education was provided on topics such as: dental care, STIs, and wound care.  The CBC story of the pilot can be found at the following link:

“We realize the potential of veterinarians and veterinary care to influence the health and welfare of marginalized people who are pet owners”, says Dr Michelle Lem (CVO founder). 

“The opening is the animal.”

UBC Animal Biology Student, Chloe Roberts assisting with the veterinary examination.

 CVO clinics are extremely influential in improving the public health of vulnerable populations, through harnessing the strength of the human-animal bond, especially in those who are marginalized. The same group of students and UBC Master of Public Health Candidate, Dr. Doris Lueng, are planning another clinic with CVO on May 1st at the Veteran’s Manor and Evelyn Sallor Center. This May 1st event will be promoted under the title, “Pet Fair and People care”. At this event primary care services will be offered to clients and grooming services to the pets. The event will be held from 12-4pm. This event will be offered as an UBC IPE event for both Nursing and Pharmacy students, with additional contribution from UBC Masters of Public Health Candidates. The will be opportunity for invaluable leadership and clinical experience for students. If you would like to find out more information about the upcoming event or future clinic, please contact Kelsi at: More information about CVO and how to get involved, please visit http://vetoutreach.

Special Thanks to:

Paws for Hope

Michelle Simmsm, NP (VCH)

Matt Smith (Assistant Manager, Directions Youth Services)

Dr Maura Mcphee, RN, PhD (UBC School of Nursing)

Joanne Ricci, MSN (UBC School of Nursing)

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