A Veterinarians Without Borders volunteer with a puppy at a northern clinic. The organization is creating a scholarship and bursary program, encouraging and supporting more northerners to pursue animal care. (Photo courtesy of Veterinarians Without Borders)

Veterinarians Without Borders launches scholarship for northerners

Access to Care Awards program will provide 1 $10,000 scholarship, 5 $5,000 bursaries

By Meral Jamal

Veterinarians Without Borders has launched a new scholarship and bursary program for northerners. 

The Access to Care Awards program will provide one $10,000 scholarship for a veterinary school student and five $5,000 bursaries for individuals living in the territories pursuing diplomas or certificates in the field. 

As well, it will provide pet first aid courses for residents of northern communities where the organization runs temporary remote clinics, and an online career fair for high school students.

Marieke Van Der Velden, the northern Canada program manager at Veterinarians Without Borders, said the aim of the program is to help ”create sustainable and community-driven access to care.”

“We wanted to do something that really enables the community members themselves to feel empowered to help animals in their community, and also be able to triage and address animal care needs throughout the year,” she said.

Val Der Velden said along with training people to provide animal care within their communities, the financial support will also help improve overall health in smaller, remote places. 

“For example, rabies is really one of those health issues that touch on environmental health, public health, and animal health. And so by enabling community members to be trained, for example, in being vaccinators, we’re able to make sure that animals are vaccinated year round,” she said. 

The program is in its first year but Val Der Velden said her organization plans on continuing it in coming years as well. 

Applications will be accepted from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15, 2023. The program is open to any applicants living in the territories, with priority given to Indigenous applicants. 

Award recipients will be announced in March next year. 

Van Der Velden said she hopes the awards program helps create a model of community health workers focused on veterinary care. 

“Is there a way to have that one person in the community that is the go-to animal health person and is compensated for their work and trained to do the work and have contacts maybe through tele-health to help the community access health care for animals year-round?” she said. 

“That’s one way that we’re hoping to gauge the interest in the community … and then we’re hoping to increase people pursuing science and careers in animals and showing that is a really worthwhile pursuit and passion.”

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    Fantastic, what a great scholarship! The needs for vet services in the north are high.

    Is there any chance Veterinarians Without Borders will be visiting Iqaluit and Nunavut soon?

  2. Posted by Thanks for the great news! on

    Awesome! Would be great if Arctic College provided a certificate program or something for anyone interested in getting trained in animal care. I also wonder if some funding could go towards training dog team owners and perhaps the dog team owners and community members could work together in organizing clinics. I’m speaking only about Iqaluit as I know there are alot of teams, but who knows! Thanks for the great news article!

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