Skip to content

Come join us!

Veterinary Social Work Intensive

March 19-23, 2019

8am-5pm, daily

Cost $900

This program is pending continuing education approval for social work professionals.

Program Description:

This program is designed to integrate knowledge obtained in three online modules in the veterinary social work training program: 1) Animal Related Bereavement: Implications for Social Work Practice, 2) Compassion Fatigue Management, and 3) The Link: Violence Towards Humans and Animals. Through the techniques of observing, reflecting, and experiencing, the intensive will guide the participant through the process of “putting it all together” and practicing the skills required for veterinary social work.

Program Objectives:

At the conclusion of this intensive participants will be able to:

  • Describe the issues that are emotionally and socially challenging to animal related professionals
  • Describe to clients what to expect in end of life care including euthanasia, body disposition, and memorialization
  • Discuss animal abuse with clients and with the legal system
  • Engage in grassroots interprofessional community organizing to address animal abuse  
  • Facilitate animal related end-of-life and treatment-decision making discussions with clients.
  • Facilitate animal related end-of-life and treatment-decision making discussions between clients and animal related professionals
  • Engage in ethical decision-making skills around animal related social work topics and situations
  • Understand emotional, cognitive, and physical regulation techniques
  • Have increased awareness about one’s own animal-related values, ethics, and triggers

Coffee, Snacks, and Lunch will be provided each day; vegan & vegetarian options available.

A block of rooms is available at a discounted rate. Click here to book.

More information coming soon!

The Veterinary Social Work Intensive is for mental health professionals. Completion of the following three modules is required before attending the VSW Intensive

  1. Compassion Fatigue Management
  2. The Link: Violence Towards Humans and Animals
  3. Animal Related Bereavement: Implications for Social Work Practice

Completion of the following supervisions sessions is required before attending the VSW Intensive

  1. Compassion Fatigue Management
  2. The Link: Violence Towards Humans and Animals
  3. Animal Related Bereavement: Implications for Social Work Practice

Completion of the following is recommended, but not required.

  1. Animal Assisted Interventions Online Module

For questions contact VSW at (865) 696-1117 or email us at

To Register, CLICK HERE

To attend, you must complete the three modules and attend the supervision sessions. Email with any questions.
You will need to create an account in order to register for online modules and face-to-face events if this is your first time using this system. 



Dr. Elizabeth Strand, LCSW, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth Strand is the Founding Director of Veterinary Social Work (VSW) at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a licensed clinical social worker, experienced family therapist, Grief Recovery Specialist, and a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher.

She also is trained as a Rule 31 Mediator, Child and Adult Anicare Animal Abuse Treatment counselor, a Compassion Fatigue Specialist and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work.

Dr. Strand’s service-work centers around anti-animal abuse and anti-racism efforts.

Her interest-areas include the link between human and animal violence, animals in family systems, the scholarly and practice development of veterinary social work as a sub-specialty of social work practice, communication skills, conflict resolution, and mediation and stress management techniques in animal welfare environments.

Her professional mission is to encourage the humane treatment of both people and animals and to care for those professionals who care for animals.

Sarina Manifold, LCSW

Sarina is an Assistant Professor of Practice with Veterinary Social Work (VSW) at the University of Tennessee (UT) Veterinary Medical Center, and has been with Veterinary Social Work since 2008. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and certified Grief Recovery Specialist®. Sarina provides crisis intervention, end-of- life and treatment decision-making, resources, and grief counseling to clients of the Small and Large Animal Hospitals as well as to members of the community. She is also the coordinator of the communication training at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. Sarina graduated from High Point University in High Point, NC with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Sarina has had an interest in grief and bereavement support for many years. As a Veterinary Social Worker her main focus is on grief and bereavement support for individuals and families who have experienced the death of their companion animal.

Sandra Brackenridge, LCSW

Sandra Brackenridge is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Associate Professor of Social Work at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sophie Newcomb College and Master’s degree in Social Work from the Tulane School of Social Work at Tulane University. She has been practicing Clinical Social Work in various settings since 1983. In addition to teaching for 22 years in the BSW programs at Idaho State University and TWU, Sandra developed, and currently supervises, a Veterinary Social Work internship program at the Center for Veterinary Specialty Emergency Care ( in Lewisville, Texas. She provides a full range of consulting services to other hospitals interested in developing VSW programs of their own.

Maya Gupta, PhD

Maya Gupta, PhD earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia, with a predoctoral internship in the Psychology Service at the United States Penitentiary – Atlanta. Her interests focus on connections between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, particularly family violence, and on using this knowledge to improve community response to violence in all forms. Her work in the field of human-animal relationships includes previous roles as Executive Director of the Animals & Society Institute and as Executive Director of the Ahimsa House domestic violence safe haven program for animals. Dr. Gupta now contracts for animal welfare organizations on program development and evaluation, serves as a consultant for research projects on human-animal interaction, and provides expert witness services for animal cruelty cases. She also teaches courses on animal cruelty for the Master’s Program in Anthrozoology at Canisius College and for the Veterinary Forensic Sciences program at the University of Florida. Her professional service includes the Steering Committee of the National Link Coalition, the Animal Cruelty Advisory Council of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Board of Directors of Mojave Animal Protection, the Advisory Team of Pets for Vets, the Governing Body of the Section on Human-Animal Interaction in the American Psychological Association, and serving as an Action Editor for the Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin.

Katherine Goldberg, DVM

Katherine earned her DVM from Cornell in 2004, completed a rotating small animal internship and continued along the emergency/critical care path, ultimately returning to Cornell as an instructor in emergency/critical care in 2006. While in the ICU she developed an interest in the ethics of intensive care for animals, the impact of critical illness on family dynamics, as well as palliative medicine & hospice care. She then spent 3 years in general practice, providing client consultation on palliative medicine options, death & dying, as well as in-home euthanasia services, before exclusively dedicating herself to family centered end of life care.

She became a trained volunteer for Hospicare & Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County in Fall 2009, and founded her practice Whole Animal Veterinary Geriatrics & Hospice Services in 2010. Whole Animal is one of the only practices in the country exclusively dedicated to this area of care that is not focused primarily on mobile euthanasia services. She is currently a member of Hospicare’s Ethics Committee & is dedicated to exploring the connection between hospice services for people and animals.

Katherine has a courtesy lecturer appointment at Cornell and has significantly increased student exposure to end of life topics since 2012. In addition to end of life material within the core curriculum, her course, “Gerontology, Hospice & Palliative Medicine for Veterinarians” was first offered in 2015. She is trained in the Serious Illness Communication Guide developed by the palliative medicine teams at Harvard Medical School & the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she is part of the team developing a certificate of advanced study in Human-Animal Interactions for the BSW and MSW programs.

She is co-founder of the Veterinary Society for Hospice and Palliative Care – the only hospice organization exclusively dedicated to veterinarians. Katherine is dedicated to the development of an AVMA/ABVS-recognized veterinary specialty in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Further Details:

What are the prerequisites for attendance?

In order to attend the VSW Intensive one must have completed the following modules AND have attended the corresponding supervision sessions:

  1. Compassion Fatigue Management
  2. Animal-Related Bereavement: Implication for Social Work Practice
  3. The Link: Violence Towards Humans and Animal

All 3 modules must be completed to attend this portion of the workshop. Online modules can be completed here.

Will attendance at the Intensive fulfill requirements for the Veterinary Social Work Certificate?


Do I need to be in the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program in order to attend?

No, this event is open to mental health students and professionals who completes the three online modules and supervision sessions.

If I am interested in only one topic (for example Compassion Fatigue & Conflict Management), can I complete that module and attend the workshop?

The content on Compassion Fatigue Management, Grief and Bereavement, and the Link are intimately related to each other in regards to the human impact in animal-related issues; therefore, this content will be presented together. If you are interested in any one of these topics you will have to complete all 3 modules and attend all 5 days.

What if I have already completed some of the face-to-face workshops in the past that are now a part of the 5-day intensive?

You will still have to attend the 5-day intensive workshop; however, attendance will be prorated $220 per module. A member of the VSW team can verify with you your prorated amount.

Where will this be held?

The workshops will be held in the Tickle Conference Room at The University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center (UTVMC) (2407 River Dr, Knoxville TN, 37996)

Is there a block of rooms available?

A block of rooms will be available soon. Please check back.

For further questions contact VSW at (865) 696-1117 or email us at

Veterinary Social Work

UT College of Veterinary Medicine
UT College of Social Work
Helpline: 865-755-8839
VSW Services:
Education and Events: 865-696-1117
Education and Events:

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