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Frequently Asked Questions…

  1. What is Veterinary Social Work?

Veterinary Social Work (VSW) is social work practice at the intersection of the human and animal bond. VSW occurs at all levels of social work including micro, mezzo, and macro practice. 

  1. What is the International Association of Veterinary Social Work?

The Association is the professional organization that supports all professionals who work in practices that engage and involve the human-animal bond. The Association creates and maintains professional standards, encouraging research, and advocating for a better world for all species. 

  1. Is the IAVSW affiliated with a university or educational program?

The Association’s history began as a conversation of professionals at the Veterinary Social Work Summit in 2016 hosted at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. From there, a formation committee began to build the foundation of the Association. In 2020, the inaugural board was inducted. The Association continues to have a positive relationship with University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Association is not affiliated with a university or educational program, rather all members are encouraged to bring their University, program, and organization into the conversation. 

  1. Do I have to be a social worker to join? Who can join?

No, you do not need to be a social worker to join; all are welcome. However, our mission and values are grounded in Veterinary Social Work which means we are predominantly social workers and professionals in Veterinary medicine. All members must be comfortable aligning their practice to the values of the Code of Ethics/Standards of Practice for both professions. Membership is granted after receipt of a completed membership application, and payment of annual dues.

  1. I don’t feel like I’m qualified enough to join!

Come as you are! There are no qualifications. As a member-centric organization, our responsibility is to meet you where you are at. 

  1. How much is it to join? Do I have to pay every year?

General Member: Open to any professional with an interest in veterinary social work. Membership is $150 per year. Members have access to all resources provided to the general membership, and are offered opportunities to join committees, the board of directors, and other networks. Members have voting privileges. 


Student Member:  Any graduate or undergraduate student attending a university/college that has an interest in the Organization. Students registered in an accredited higher education program are offered a reduced rate membership for $25 USD annually during their academic tenure and one year post graduation. Student members receive the same resources as General Members. Student members may apply for a Board of Director position during their academic status and one-year after graduation.


Founding Circle Membership: Any member who gives $1,500USD or more for an individual, or $5,000USD or more for an organization. Will be given lifetime IAVSW membership. Names of donors are listed on the website with approval of the donor, however gifts can be given by name, anonymously, or in memory. Benefits and recognition will be expanded based on services provided, as desired by donor, by motion to the board 


  1. What will I get from an individual membership?

It’s a challenge to explain and describe the value of a membership because each person comes to the Association with unique needs and expertise. We have grouped what we offer into “buckets”, but please know that if there is something you are interested in, don’t hesitate to reach out with suggestions, requisitions, and requests! 


  • Networking. Members will have the opportunity, multiple times per year, to network with other IAVSW members at both face-to-face events sponsored by IAVSW, and virtually, through the various platforms. 
  • Relationships. Membership in IAVSW allows for the formation of relationships with individuals from a diverse set disciplines, including social work, psychology, veterinary medicine, veterinary nurse/technician, mental health practitioner or counselor
  • Training and education.  Members will benefit from discounted access to a variety of training and educational opportunities. IAVSW-sponsored training and educational opportunities will be created in response to a needs assessment for continuing education for diverse licensed disciplines, including: social work, psychology, veterinary medicine, veterinary nurse/technician, mental health practitioner or counselor, and credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor (CASAC). 
  • Influence. IAVSW members will have the opportunity to influence the development of this emerging field.   
  • Information. Intra-network resource sharing for members
  • Best Practices.  IAVSW will provide up-to-date publications in regard to best practices in veterinary social work to the extent permitted by copyright laws and regulations.. 
  • Exchange of Ideas. The IAVSW provides membership with in-person and virtual opportunities to exchange ideas about the veterinary social work profession.
  1. I work with/own an organization- we’d like to join! Can we join as an organization instead of as an individual member(s)? 

Organizations can have one of three types of relationships with the IAVSW:  (1) Organizational Member, which has three tiers; (2) an Organizational Partner; or (3) becoming a Sponsor of IAVSW programs or activities.  Organizations that support aligned professionals or aligned community efforts. 


  1. Organizational members:
  • Non-profit organizational annual membership ($250; up to 50 employees) or $500 (50 members or over); and
  • Membership-based association annual membership ($500; up to 50 employees/$1,000; over 50 employees); and
  •  Corporation annual membership ($1,500)


In addition to the individual membership benefits, Organizational Members receive the following benefits:

  • Continuing Education (CE) complimentary admissions:
    • Non-profit organizational memberships will receive annually, 4 complimentary CE program admissions for organizations up to 50 employees, or 8 complimentary admissions for organizations over 50 employees;
    • Membership-based associations will include 8 admissions to CE programs annually for associations less than 50 employees; 16 admissions for associations greater than 50 employees; 
    • Corporations (25 admissions to CE programs annually)
  • Networking via Slack platform with veterinary social work professionals; 
  • Discounted admission ($25 per individual) to the bi-annual International Veterinary Social Work Conference; and
  • Access to monthly Veterinary Social Work Cafes’
  • Discounts on IAVSW merchandise.
  • Additional organizational membership benefits will be added in late 2023, to include a subscription to the forthcoming veterinary social work journal.


  1. Organizational Partner:

  • Through a formal memorandum of understanding around a goal-oriented partnership.


  1. Sponsor of IAVSW Programs or Activities:

  •  Sponsor an IAVSW Educational Program (i.e., CE or distinct event or program)
  •  Sponsor a professional networking event 
  •  General contributions to support the IAVSW mission (e.g., infrastructure costs) 


Sponsors receive the following benefits:

  • Placement of the organization's logo on the IAVSW homepage and recognition of the scope of the organization’s contribution. 
  1. What is a “café”?

Cafe’s are opportunities for members and interested persons throughout our community to come together to learn and network. On the first Tuesday of the month from 7:00-8:00pm est, via zoom, a professional/expert in a given area leads a conversation on a topic of community interest. The facilitator and topic are shared via constant contact and on our website. 

  1. What is the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee? 

The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDIB) Committee is open to all members. If you identify as being part of a systematically-excluded group and want to advance equity and inclusion across veterinary social work, please connect with us. We are currently strategizing a plan to ensure that equity and inclusion are embedded across the four pillars of the IAVSW; namely, community building, education, advocacy and knowledge building. While much of our initial focus will be around racial diversity and equity and inclusivity within race and racial diversity, we understand and are committed to an intersectional lens that factors in the experiences of those living across different and multiple identities. Please connect via [email protected] for more information and to get invovled. 

  1. What is the IAVSW’s connection to the IVSW Summit?

The Association is co-host of the Summit, which includes supporting all components of organizing, marketing, and facilitation. 

  1. Who should I contact with any questions?

Any questions can be directed to [email protected] which is monitored by our Secretary, Kelsey. You are welcome to connect with our President, Aviva at [email protected]


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