Skip to content

Dr. Bethanie Poe

Veterinary Social Work Certificate Programs Coordinator


Dr. Bethanie Poe first became involved with UT’s Veterinary Social Work program in 2006 as a Master of Social Work student.  She returned to the program as a PhD fellow in 2008.  During this time, she helped to develop the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program for concurrent and post-graduate students and in which she has continued to be an instructor.

Her interests include the link between human and animal violence, humane education, compassion fatigue, suicide prevention, animal assisted interventions, program evaluation, and policy practice.  She has experience working in child protection, with domestic violence victims and batterers’ intervention programs, as well as mental health and suicide prevention education.  Her most recent position has been as the Middle Tennessee Coordinator of Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT). Thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs, she worked to bring animal assisted interventions into agencies that serve victims of violence, abuse, and neglect. 

Always an animal lover, Bethanie grew up with a variety of cats and dogs, and she began volunteering at her local animal shelter when she was a teenager.  She is currently the owner of two senior cats, Simon and Charlotte, both of whom she has had since they were kittens. 


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Social Work
Doctor of Philosophy
Dissertation Title: How Do People in Animal Welfare Fields Respond to Family
Violence Situations?
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Social Work
Master of Science in Social Work
Concentration: Management & Community Practice
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Bachelor of Science, Magna cum Laude


Peer Reviewed:
Vincent, A., McDonald, S., Poe, B., & Deisner, V., (2020). The Link between Interpersonal Violence and Animal Abuse. Society Register 3(3), p.83-101.

Strand, E.B., Poe, B, Yorke, J., Nimer, J., Allen, E., & Brown, G (accepted 2014; journal no longer available) “Veterinary social work: What is that?”. Journal of Interprofessional Healthcare.

Rocha, C, Poe, B., & Thomas, V. (2010). Political activities of social workers: Addressing perceived barriers to political participation. Social Work, 55(4), 317-325.Bethanie A. Poe, October 2020.

Additional publications:
Poe, B. A. (2021, April 15). Getting in the H.A.B.I.T: Bringing Animal Assisted Interventions to Victims of Crime. In L. Kogan & P. Erdman (Eds.), Career Paths in Human-Animal Interaction for Social and Behavioral Scientists (1st ed.). Routledge.

Poe, B. (2020, November 12). Veterinary social workers: Learn how this emerging specialty benefits veterinary teams and the human-animal relationship. Innovative Veterinary Care Journal.

Poe, B. (2017). Pets & Domestic Violence. In Sheltering with Care: Tennessee
Domestic Violence Shelter Best Practices Manual. This project was supported by Award No. 16558 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women.

Strand, E.B; Risley-Curtiss, C.; & Poe, B. (2016). The Animal-Human Bond. In Animal
Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Understanding, 2nd edition. Carolina University Press.

Strand, E.B.; Poe, B.; Lyall, S.; Allen, E.; Nimer, J., Yorke, J.; Brown, G.; Nolan-Pratt, T. (2012) Veterinary social work: A specialized social work practice. In Fields of Social
Work Practice: A Foundation of Social Work. Wiley Publishing

Poe, B. (2012) Pets & domestic violence. In Four Paws Handbook for a Pet-Friendly
Community. Zanna, LLC for Young Williams Animal Center.

Poe, B. & Strand, E. (2007). Veterinary Social Work: State of the Program Report 2006. Report available from Veterinary Social Work, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

    The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.