COMMUNITY · August 31st, 2021

NVA Hospitals and Pet Resorts Inspire Future Caregivers

by Chris Janak


As a community, we strive to ensure our teams reflect the diversity of the clients we serve. That’s why, together, we’ve taken action to enhance diversity and inclusion throughout our organization and industry. As part of this effort, NVA teamed up with Purdue University’s Vet Up! program for aspiring animal care professionals.

Through Purdue’s Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine, the opportunity gave hands-on experience to underrepresented minority students, first-generation college students, and students interested in working in rural areas.

This year, 15 hospitals and 1 pet resort in our community proudly supported the effort by providing 18 students with invaluable knowledge and mentorship.

Here’s a look at what those students learned and why they’re now committed to a career in animal care.

Danielle’s Experience Leads to a Potential Job Opportunity

Suburban Animal Hospital in Arlington, Virginia 

Suburban Animal Hospital has a culture of supporting growth opportunities, so they were excited to welcome Danielle. “We built a schedule around her goals to ensure she had the opportunity to spend time with the different departments,” says Jennifer Ackerman, Hospital Manager at Suburban Animal Hospital. “We also helped her better understand what takes place daily, weekly, and monthly to run a veterinary hospital.”

From left to right: Travis Jackson (Assistant Hospital Manager), Dr. Kimberly Halbert (Managing Veterinarian), Danielle, and Jennifer Ackerman (Hospital Manager)

At the end of the two weeks, the team was thrilled that they had the opportunity to meet and work with such a bright and engaging student with a great future ahead. They even asked if she would like to work at Suburban after graduation in December and stay until she starts veterinary school at Purdue. “We see Danielle as a valuable person, Suburban team member, and future veterinarian.”

Dasia Solidifies Her Drive to Become a Veterinarian

Governor’s Avenue Animal Hospital in Dover, Delaware 

When Governor’s Avenue Animal Hospital was offered the opportunity to host local student, Dasia, they jumped at the chance. “As the only NVA hospital located in Delaware it made perfect sense to offer a local student the opportunity to join us,” says Katherine Matthews, Hospital Manager at Governors Avenue Animal Hospital. She said the team has always enjoyed showing students the “behind the scenes” activities and what it takes to provide exceptional patient care.

Dasia comforts a puppy patient at Governor’s Avenue Animal Hospital.

Katherine added that Dasia was an integral part of their team. She was able to observe surgical procedures, learn about monitoring anesthesia, and work closely with their staff during emergency situations. This was also an exciting opportunity for the Governor’s Avenue Animal Hospital team as they were able to show Dasia what it takes to have a career in Veterinary medicine. “To help Dasia solidify her drive to become a productive Veterinarian is a home run for both parties,” says Katherine. “To be part of her legacy is priceless.”

Grace Learns Dedication and Flexibility at PetSuites Greenwood

PetSuites Greenwood in Greenwood, Indiana 

Stacy Harrison, General Manager at PetSuites Greenwood, thought hosting Grace would be a meaningful opportunity to showcase how things are done at the pet resort level. Stacy said Grace jumped right in and quickly learned how to run daycare dogs, individual playtimes, and puppy preschool. “Grace also helped management with daycare event preparation and sent photos to pet parents having fun during playtime,” says Stacy. “She was a natural!”

Grace sporting the official PetSuites gear during her time at PetSuites Greenwood.

The PetSuites Greenwood team said it was an honor to host Grace and show her how hard they work to provide the best care for their guests and their humans. “It was nice to show someone how dedicated our team is and the care the pets receive while they are here,” says Stacy. “Grace also felt like she was part of our team.”

Amaya and Victoria Discover Endless Possibilities for Their Future

Animal Health Center of Madison in Madison, Mississippi 

Belinda White, Hospital Manager at Animal Health Center of Madison, urged students Amaya and Victoria to use this time to learn as much as possible and she was so pleased that they did. “It’s almost as though each had a sponge within to soak up as much as they possibly could,” says Belinda.

Belinda was also impressed with the fact that both Amaya and Victoria craved time at the hospital and quickly fit in with the team. “Both are incredibly inquisitive and bright,” says Belinda. “They will make remarkable additions to any CVM program they choose to enroll in.”

And 11 other hospitals participated, too!

Other hospitals who hosted students included:

NVA’s Community Team is working with Purdue to host students for a similar program in 2022. Field operations leaders should have information available for interested sites in March of next year. 

Chris Janak


Support Center | Richmond, VA

As a member of NVA’s Community Team, Chris Janak works to create a healthy and empowered community at NVA through coaching, consulting and workshop facilitation. He lives in Richmond, Virginia with his partner Julia, children Oscar, August and Tessa and Orange Tabby Patrick Coconut.

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