Pet and People Services at Evelyne Saller’s Community Connect Event

Led by UBC nursing graduate Kelsi Jessamine, Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) and Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (PFHFA) provided care for pets and their people as part of Evelyne Saller Center’s Community Connect Event on October 12, 2017.  The team of volunteers was comprised of  fellow UBC School of Nursing alumni Elena Bernardi, Alexa McCarthy, and Blair Cramer. The team joined forces with current UBC School of Nursing students and faculty to deliver quality care and service to local community members. Blood pressure readings were completed as well as naloxone training and kit distribution. For those with four legged friends, pet food and products were distributed.  The CVO team deemed the event a success, indicating that 20 blood pressure readings and cardiovascular teachings were completed, 7 naloxone training sessions completed and kits issued, with over 35 bags of pet food distributed from donations by Royal Canin.

The aim of this event and the three preceding Pet Fair and People Care clinics throughout the past year, have been to connect with people that may not otherwise be connected with health care in the community. Event organizer Kelsi Jessamine and the Community Veterinary Outreach team place this ability of animals to transcend or positively build upon potentially negative experiences impacting individuals of the downtown eastside community at the center of their mission. Jessamine explains saying “often within this population the pet is the one grounding factor in a person’s life. If they’ve experienced a lot of judgment or trauma in their lives – whatever their story is – the pet is often a very positive influence.”

Additionally, at the Community Connect Event the nursing team showcased and provided referrals to the “One Health” Clinic at Direction’s Youth Services on November 26th. The One Health will take place from 1:00-4:00pm and will offer a range of human health services provided by CVO nursing volunteers and UBC School of Pharmacy, in combination with free veterinary services delivered by Paws for Hope Animal Foundation.  This event will include clothing, blankets, food items and pet product distributions for those in need.

Looking forward to the November event and others in the future, event organizer Kelsi Jessamine sees boundless opportunity for Community Veterinary Outreach and the One Health care model in Vancouver.  “The human-animal bond is a powerful thing- and one that seems to transcend socioeconomic, health status and other potentially marginalizing factors—it is apparent that the Pet Fair and People Care events continue to leverage this special relationship and serve those most in need within our community” , says Jessamine.

Community Veterinary Outreach Volunteers Present at Vancouver One Health Clinics at the 2017 Community Engagement Health Care Improvement Conference

This fall, two recent UBC Nursing graduates, Kelsi Jessamine and Jessica Ardley, were invited to present their fourth-year nursing project and continued work in Vancouver, at the 2017 Community Engagement Healthcare Improvement (CEHI) Conference, in San Antonio Texas.  Jessica and Kelsi, along with a team of UBC graduate RNs, and MPH Candidate, Dr. Doris Leung, work with Community Veterinary Outreach to coordinate primary care clinics for marginalized clients and their pets.

Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) is a Canadian charity that operates in partnership with Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (PFHAF) to expand the “One Health” initiative in the Vancouver region.  One Health is the connection between people, pets and their shared environment.   The One Health Vancouver clinics have been extremely successful in reaching the city’s most marginalized individuals and connecting them and their pets to care. Jessica and Kelsi attended the CEHI to present this care-model, with the results of the Vancouver pilot clinics.

Kelsi and Jessica presenting their academic poster titled “Connecting Homeless and Marginalized Populations to Health Care through Pet Services” at the CEHI conference

UBC Community Instructor, Ranjit Dhari, was the one who encouraged the team to apply to present their work at the 2017 CEHI conference, and with their application the two recent graduates were awarded a scholarship from the University of Texas, to attend the conference. The One Health care model and the structure of the Vancouver clinics were extremely well received by nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals across the United States.  For any nurses, especially new graduates, this was a very proud moment. By presenting the project with honesty, knowledge, and kindness, the two CVO volunteers were even able to change and open a few minds along the way.

In addition to presenting their work at the CEHI conference, Jessica and Kelsi attended several presentations and educational workshops by current leaders and researchers in the field. Themes of the presentations and seminars included topics that focused on improving public health through community-based research, program development, and evaluation. These education seminars were of particular interest to the new RNs, given both their community-based nursing with CVO and additional work in inpatient care.

Jessica currently works at Fir Square, affiliated with BC Women’s Hospital, an acute perinatal unit for socially at-risk women with addictions. Jessica is dedicated to providing compassionate care to these women and infants through harm-reduction.  At the CEHI conference Jessica was provided with the opportunity to promote the structure of care at Fir Square to clinicians, researchers and patients attending the seminars. Jessica also gained tremendous insight on what care looks like for at risk mothers and infants in various states across the US and the struggles they and their health care teams face.

Like Jessica, Kelsi also cares a highly vulnerable population in inpatient care.  Kelsi works in pediatrics medicine at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH), where she cares for both acute medical and psychiatry patients.  At the CEHI conference, Kelsi was able to share some of her new knowledge and experience caring for patients through the care continuum and learned added strategies to promote best possible patient and public health outcomes.  Having this opportunity to share their experiences and learn from leaders in the field was instrumental for the new graduates with their goals with CVO and their evolving careers.

The next One Health clinic will be held Nov 26, 2017 at Directions Youth Services. The two nurses plan to integrate what they learned from the CEHI conference into their approach and analysis of this upcoming CVO and PFHAF event.

Save the Date” posters credited by Jessica Ardely, which were advertise the 2017 One Health Clinic, at the Community Connect Event at Evelyne Saller Community Center.

Jessica and Kelsi would like to thank the School of Nursing, its faculty, and Community Veterinary Outreach for supporting their attendance to the 2017 CEHI conference.





Pet and People Primary Care: In Conversation with Kelsi Jessamine UBC SON Alumni


This summer I tracked down Kelsi Jessamine to pick her brain on her unique synthesis project. For current students attending UBC who have a project they are dreaming of, here is an inside look at how Kelsi made hers happen!

What did you do before entering the UBC accelerated BSN program?

Before entering the UBC accelerated BSN program I completed my Bachelor of Science, with a Major in Animal Biology at the University of Guelph. After graduation I worked at the university’s Animal Health Laboratory  while continuing to work and volunteer at a couple local veterinary clinics. My work with animals in the agricultural field and clinical setting soon brought me to Ottawa, ON where I was introduced to Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) and began volunteering at their clinics.

How did that experience inform your project?

Volunteering with Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO) was an extremely inspiring experience. Despite already having extensive experience working with animals, CVO clinics introduced me to how effective leveraging the human-animal is in clinical practice and just how effective the “One Health” care-model is in engaging with marginalized and vulnerable populations.

At CVO clinics, clients receive free veterinary care, food and supplies for their pet, and are then offered parallel human health services from a nursing care team. It quickly became evident how powerful the role of the veterinarian is in not only providing pet health education but in gathering a social history from the client. Pet health education from the veterinarian covers topics from nutrition, immune, respiratory, and cardiovascular health, which share common themes with the health of their owners. The client’s willingness to engage in the offered human health services is only enhanced after consulting and building trust with the veterinary team. Even before beginning my nursing degree it was clear to me how unique the inter-professional collaboration within the “One Health” care model is and how it dramatically improves the public health status of both pets and people in a community.

Who did you approach in the SON to collaborate on the project? In the community?

For my final nursing synthesis project, I approached nursing instructors Maura McPhee and Ranjit Dhari. They were extremely supportive of my proposal right from our initial meeting and have continued to support the project along with a number of other UBC School of Nursing staff and instructors. After receiving approval from CVO to expand the initiative to Vancouver, we then partnered with Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (PFH) and launched Vancouver’s first primary care clinic for marginalized clients and their pets. The event was held at Directions Youth Services on December 4th, 2016 and was a huge success. Additionally, we held a second UBC SoN. CVO, and PFH partnered event at Evelyne Saller Community Centre on May 4th, 2017 that engaged even more clients and their pets.

Were there any roadblocks and how did you overcome them?

This was my first time leading a group of students and coordinating with various community partners to organize a healthcare clinic. It is both challenging and time consuming preparing for each clinic but it’s something that I enjoy and believe in, to not become discouraged by obstacles that inevitably arise in the organization of events like these.

What advice can you impart on current students wanting to do something alternative?

Go for it! Find an avenue to harness whatever interests you and create a space for it in the traditional healthcare field.  This integration will not only complement your nursing practice but will offer unique platforms to therapeutically engage with clients.

What are you most proud of that resulted from this project?

That it’s still ongoing!  🙂
I am thrilled to say that we have begun to establish a sustainable project. We will be holding our fourth community primary care clinic for people and their pets on November 26, 2017. At this clinic we will continue to collaborate with CVO, PFH, Directions Youth Centre, and the UBC School’s of Pharmacy and Nursing. I will also be attending the Community Engagement and Healthcare Improvement Conference this September in San Antonio,Texas. The conference will give me the opportunity to present my final nursing project and share the ongoing work being done with CVO and PFH in growing the “One Health” initiative.

Anything else you would like to add?
There are many opportunities for SoN and healthcare students to get involved with our Vancouver “Pet and People Primary care clinics”. These opportunities will be offered and advertised through the Community Nursing Course and Interprofessional Education. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Kelsi Jessamine (RN, P) at

These One Health clinics wouldn’t be possible without our community partners. Big thanks to:

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (PFH), who provides the veterinary services and animal care products
Royal Canin — pet food donations
Warner Brothers- The Flash — printing and media
Three Bridges Clinic (VCH)
UBC School of Nursing
UBC School of Pharmacy

Turning Point Recovery Presentation

By Joshua Pelletier and Allan Robinson

On July 6th 2017 during our community nursing rotation at Richmond Public Health, we had the opportunity to partake in a community partnership with Turning Point Recovery Society.  Turning Point is a non-profit organization that offers supportive recovery services for men and women who are on their journey to abstaining from drug and alcohol use. Supported by UBC instructors Kathy Hydamaka and Sharon Williams we were invited to the recovery home to offer a workshop for the clients living in the home.  Initially we performed a needs assessment which involved visiting the home and consulting with the site manager to identify what might be useful for the clients. The site houses up to ten men at various stages in their recovery journey. When we returned a week later for the workshop, we were greeted by a round table of eight men who were clearly skeptical of the activity in which they were expected to participate. They had no knowledge of the material that was going to be presented and were justifiably reserved. However, opening the discussion in a manner that highlighted that we were not experts put everyone on the same level, and the climate of the room quickly changed. The group immediately opened up and participants felt comfortable to share deep insights into their lives and experiences.

The clients brought various skills and approaches to dealing with substance use, as they all had been successful in maintaining an abstinence based program thus far. As nursing students, we wanted to provide a new tool that clients might find useful in navigating abstinence and mental health challenges. Our tool of choice was highlighting a section of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) called Radical Acceptance. DBT in a community setting is often performed under the supervision of a psychiatrist or a registered clinical counsellor, and some of the clients stated they had integrated some aspects of DBT through their own recovery journey.

We put together a workbook with an introduction to DBT, two exercises on Radical Acceptance, and follow up resources for clients interested in the treatment modality. Fundamentally, the principles of emotional intelligence and emotional regulation underlie the radical acceptance exercises, and we wanted the clients to feel that they were free to explore their emotions and experiences in a safe space. Our approach in the group session centered on finding and establishing client capacity, as they are the ones who will be making the choice whether to continue with the treatment.

To ensure continuity of care, the site manager at Turning Point was available for debrief if any clients felt they needed extra support. Resources were provided to Crisis Services, Richmond Mental Health Units, Here to Help BC, and BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services.

Our rich experience at Turning point would not have been possible without the support of our community partner, UBC faculty of Nursing, and the amazing engagement and vulnerability of each of the participants.


By Kelsi Jessamine


On May 4, 2017, a group of University of British Columbia (UBC) nursing students organized and directed Vancouver’s second primary care clinic, providing care for marginalized individuals and their companion animals. The community partnered event, “Pet Fair and People Care” was held at the Veterans Manor, in partnership with the Evelyn Saller Community Center. The group of dedicated nursing students included Kelsi Jessamine, Liviana Cristea, Elena Benardi, Margaux Delattre, Kimberly Wilson, Jeffery Yu, Jessica Ardley, and Laura Gallager, along with UBC MPH candidate Dr. Doris Leung. The students practiced with the support of UBC faculty member Elsie Tan. Responsibilities of the students included providing blood pressure checks, cardiovascular teaching, and naloxone kit distribution, with associated training to 35 clients, while the animal care team delivered grooming services to 25 pets. The results of the clinic were significant; however, the impact of the event goes much beyond the quantitative results. A few months after the clinic, recreation manager, Mark Haracka stated, “Our clients are still talking about it.”

The “Pet Fair and People Care” event was done in collaboration with Community Veterinary Outreach (CVO).  CVO is a charity organization that operates under the “One Health” initiative, by providing free veterinary care to clients’ pets, while connecting their marginally housed owners to health care and social services. This event was the second time the group of UBC students collaborated with CVO, after a very successful pilot clinic at Directions Youth Services on December 4, 2016. The pilot clinic was integrated into UBC School of Nursing’s Synthesis project, and the group of students were awarded the “Excellence in Design and Innovation” for their community engagement project, in collaboration with CVO and Paws for Hope.

Since the events, the recent graduates plan to continue directing future One Health clinics. UBC School of Nursing graduate Kelsi Jessamine and UBC MPH Candidate and veterinarian Dr. Doris Leung will be coordinating efforts, but the commitment from volunteers and community partners is truly what allows these clinics to be the successes that they are. After the event, Kelsi and Doris were invited to talk about their experiences on the radio show “Impact” on Roundhouse Radio. A link the to interview could be found at:

Future One Health 2017 clinics will be held at Directions Youth Services, in an effort to continue to reach marginalized youth and their pets. The next two clinic dates are scheduled on July 30 and November 26, 2017, with goals of collaborating with UBC schools of Pharmacy and Nursing to support student learning. Additionally, with the support from community partners Three Bridges Clinic (VCH), Towards the Heart, as well as corporate sponsors Royal Canin and Warner Brothers’ series “The Flash”, the operation of the clinics have been a great success. Without the support of community partners, volunteers and sponsors these clinics would certainly not have been possible.

If you are interested in volunteering at future events at our One Health clinics, please visit or contact Kelsi Jessamine at

Turning Point Project at C2U Expo


Understand that most of the work done by nursing students is completed and reviewed once, never to see the light of day again. But this past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a more lasting presentation of work undertaken during my time at the UBC school of nursing. The biennial C2U Expo – held at SFU Harbour Centre – allowed me the chance to both disseminate a personal project to a larger audience, and reconnect with friends I had made during my synthesis project.

Right – the synthesis project. I call it my synthesis project when it would be more accurate to call it a team effort. When I saw a listing for a therapeutic writing project at Turning Point recovery, I jumped at the opportunity. It was my first choice, as it was the first choice of two other nursing students. The three of us joined forces with the team at Turning Point who had been running – informally, mind you – the writing program for some time.  They had high hopes for the program, but unfortunately lacked the resources to achieve them.

Enter the nursing students. Turning Point wished to build a standardized Therapeutic Writing program that it could distribute to each of its sites, complete with lesson plans, learning objectives, and thematic elements. While this was the overarching project, as students we were able to experience the program and participate alongside the house residents during the weekly sessions. For me, this was the most memorable part of the project. We had the opportunity to form relationships with people on the recovery journey and catch a glimpse of the house’s operations. And through it all, we developed the program in consultation with the Turning Point team. Once we had completed it, I assumed our relationship with Turning Point had reached its natural conclusion.

But then came C2U. Held every two years, the C2U Expo “showcases the best practices in community-campus partnerships worldwide.” It explores spaces for collaboration and helps to foster connections between academic institutions and the communities they serve. When I was asked if I could contribute a student perspective to the Turning Point presentation, I eagerly confirmed my interest. Ross Laird from Turning Point led the discussion, Ranjit Dhari described UBC’s efforts, and I provided a student voice. Together, we introduced the Therapeutic Writing program (and two other Turning Point projects) to a room full of conference attendees. We explained its rationale, development, and the partnership forged by UBC and Turning Point. Yet it also brought some closure to the project for me, and a last chance to connect with people with whom I had worked so closely. Because in addition to building a robust writing curriculum, we had built strong friendships, too. The program is now alive and well across multiple Turning Point sites. Our hope is that we also inspired others at the C2U Expo to do something similar.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement Conference


Are you interested in healthcare, innovation, technology, sustainability, interprofessional collaboration, or quality improvement? Do you want to make positive change to our healthcare system? The Canadian Chapter Leaders of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement are pleased to invite you to our first national conference: Health Innovation for All. The event is open to all students and professionals in various health disciplines, and seeks to encourage future healthcare leaders to learn more about how to improve our system to benefit everyone. The day will include professional and patient keynote speeches, a panel discussion with Quality Improvement experts, interactive workshops that highlight innovations in technology, sustainability, and interprofessional collaboration, and will conclude with a storyboard reception.

When? Saturday June 10, 2017

Where? UBC Nest


Our keynote speakers include Dr. Granger Avery (President of the Canadian Medical Association), Dr. Kedar Mate (Chief Innovation and Education Officer for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement) and Dr. John Pawlovich (Telehealth Medicine Provider for rural First Nations communities in BC). For more information: Please register at:

Starting the Conversation: Sexual Development for Adolescents With Disabilities


A fellow student and I had the opportunity to teach parents about sexual development for their adolescent children living with disabilities. We used an interactive setting where parents were able to communicate their questions and concerns through both verbal and non-verbal means. We tried to create a safe space where parents could voice their concerns without the fear of judgement. This style of information sharing allowed parents to contribute their experiences and knowledge, so they could learn from one another. Synthesizing their ideas helped highlight important reoccurring topics, which we could use as a guide for further meetings.

Although we were meant to do the teaching, I believe the most important development from this presentation was helping create a community, where parents could learn from one another and support each other through a process that many of them mentioned could feel quite confusing and isolating. As students, this was one of the most challenging and rewarding opportunities of nursing school. We used the knowledge we had gained in courses, such as Ethics and Relational Practice as a guide when answering questions and also integrated the theory and skills of capacity building and health promotion learned and developed in the N336 Nursing Practice with Communities and Populations course. Overall, I will never forget this experience as it has taught me that in the end the most important thing is to start the conversation.



Age Diversity and Cohesion: Strategies for Successful Teams


Teamwork is a fact of life in nursing. And it stands to reason that as healthcare becomes increasingly complex, so will the complexity and diversity of the teams that constitute it. If healthcare teams are to be mirrors of the societies and communities they serve, then it is imperative in a community nursing context to feature teams that possess many different languages, cultures, and – yes – ages. It is therefore incumbent upon leaders in community nursing to address issues of diversity in order to ensure a positive team culture and quality provision of services.

Claire Heath, the nurse educator at Evergreen Community Health Centre, asked me to conduct a literature review on the subject of age diversity in teams. It was a topic of particular interest to her, as the team at Evergreen was undergoing changes making it a more multi-generational unit. She wanted to know how these changes would affect team morale and unit culture. And she happened to have a UBC nursing preceptor student available to find out.

I conducted the review throughout the course of my preceptorship. What I found was that there was actually a fairly robust literature on the subject of multi-generational teams and the traits that make them successful. Little of this research, however, came from the field of nursing. Most of it, in fact, came somewhat unsurprisingly from the private sector. European (primarily German) researchers have been investigating the effects of age diversity on firm efficiency and productivity for some time. While these ends may be of slightly more importance in the private sphere, the literature also focused on the concept of group cohesion. Group cohesion, of course, is positively correlated with increased efficiency and productivity.

So how could we translate these findings into a community nursing context?

Well, the answer is a simple one. Although there are a variety of ways to foster group cohesion, as gleaned from the private sector, the most important goal is to create spaces that encourage innovation and creative freedom. But how nursing units can accomplish this – by promoting safety, learning together, and implementing diversity training – is ultimately unrelated to the notion of multi-generational teams. Successful age-diverse teams share traits of all successful teams, more generally. For nursing teams in the community, we should all learn to accept differences, communicate effectively, and value each other’s contributions. Sometimes, research simply affirms what we already intuitively know. With age-diverse nursing teams, it is much the same.


@UBC APSC #Design and Innovation Day


UBC Nursing Synthesis Project Feature: Kelsi Jessamine and the Vet Pop Up Clinic from Khristine Carino on Vimeo.