Meet the Board

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Aviva Vincent, PhD, LMSW (she/her/hers)

President

Dr. Vincent earned her doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University, Veterinary Social Work Certificate from the University of Tennessee, a fellowship with Animals in Society, and trained at The Institute For Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research, “spit camp”. She is an instructor in the Veterinary Social Work and Veterinary Human Support Certificate Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research interest includes exploring the physiological impact of the human-animal bond; specifically the potential animal support to reduce fear and anxiety in stressful situations. Additionally, her research includes integration of salivary analytes in social science research (e.g. oxytocin, alpha-amylase, and cortisol). Her background in veterinary social work informs her practice as the Director of Program Quality at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor with credentials in Equine Services for Heroes, and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.  In this capacity, she is responsible for ensuring high-quality programs in adaptive riding, hippotherapy, carriage driving, and ground lessons for community participants. She is co-founder and owner of Healing Paws LLC, the only VSW practice in Northeast Ohio. Dr. Vincent is on the advisory board of the Center for Human Animal Education Research and Education at Ohio State University, Region 4 chair for PATH Intl, board of directors for the International Association of Veterinary Social Workers, and is founder of the human-animal interactions workgroup with the National Association of Social Workers-Ohio chapter. Dr. Vincent is a contributor to  the forthcoming volume The Comprehensive Guide to Interdisciplinary Veterinary Social Work, and Career Paths in Human-Animal Interaction for Social and Behavioral Scientists.

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Augusta O’Reilly LCSW, VSW (she/her/hers)

Vice President

Augusta O’Reilly is a LCSW and VSW in Southern Maine who currently works with AlignCare and Program for Pet Health Equity. She is an instructor of Animal Assisted Interventions at the University of Tennessee in the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program. When not working, she volunteers her time with local animal welfare organizations to help increase skill building around compassion fatigue and sharing what VSW is to local universities. Her work interests include integrating AAI with adolescents using equine assisted therapy and canine assisted therapy and bringing VSW support to veterinary offices in southern Maine. Augusta enjoys expanding her homestead, camping with her family, being around horses and farm animals alike.

Bailey Fullwiler

Bailey Fullwiler, MSSA, LSW (she/her/hers)

Director of Governance and Bylaws

Bailey Fullwiler is a community social worker and trauma-informed yoga and meditation instructor in Central, Ohio. She currently serves as a statewide mental health first aid training coordinator with Mental Health America of Ohio and a co-hort member of the Ohio Environmental Leaders Intiative. Bailey is looking forward to bringing an ecological lens to her work with IAVSW to acknowledge the human-animal bond with non-domesticated species and how our work can support healthy environments for all living beings. Her approach to this work is rooted in seeking the intersection of self care and collective care within a social justice framework to best provide a strong culture of wellbeing.

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Virginia Behmer  (she/her/hers)

Board Member

Virginia Behmer earned her BA in Biology, Psychology, and Medical Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH). She is currently a veterinary medical student at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (Columbus, OH). She has participated in research on the effects of psychiatric service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with the O'Haire Lab, within the Center for the Human Animal Bond at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, her research interests have focused on veterinary and human public health, One Health, and the human-animal bond. While at Case Western, she founded two campus-recognized, intersectional reproductive justice advocacy organization: PERIOD. @ CWRU and URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity. She has worked in a veterinary clinical capacity in the emergency department of VCA Great Lakes Veterinary Specialists (Warrensville Heights, OH) as a veterinary assistant and the Herps Alive Foundation Reptile Rescue (South Euclid, OH) as a volunteer veterinary technician and manager.

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Shellie Kwitkowski, MBA 

Board Member

Shellie Kwitkowski earned her undergraduate degree from Lake Erie College in Equine Studies and returned to Lake Erie College years later for her Master's of Business Administration.  Shellie is currently pursuing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Franklin University while also working for the School of Education at Franklin.  She recently completed internships with Neighborhood Rescue of America which tackles city-wide neighborhood revitalization and Disability Support International which provides disability education and resources to developing countries.  Shellie is a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship)  Certified Therapeutic (Horseback) Riding and (Carriage) Driving Instructor at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Chagrin Falls, OH.  At Fieldstone Farm, Shellie also travels with Fieldstone Farm's Mobile Mini program, taking a miniature horse out into the community to therapy centers, schools, and assisted living facilities.  She serves on the Equine Services for Heroes Committee with PATH.  Other projects include participation in a joint working group between HHRF (Horses and Humans Research Foundation) and HETI (Horses in Education and Therapy) creating a repository of literature based around the equine assisted services field.

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Kelsey Creelman, LMSW (she/her/hers)

Secretary

Kelsey Creelman is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) that started working in the veterinary field as an assistant when she was 17. Kelsey worked full-time in this position while completing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Finlandia University. After graduating in 2015, Kelsey spent the next five years working in a mixed animal practice in Michigan, then a small animal ICU & specialty referral clinic in Virginia. In 2020, Kelsey discovered the field of Veterinary Social Work and knew it would be her future career. Kelsey was accepted to an accelerated Master of Social Work program at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2021. She attended her program while she continued to work as an ICU veterinary assistant. Kelsey completed her degree while simultaneously starting the Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program at the University of Tennessee. Currently, Kelsey is pursuing her clinical Social Work license and VSW certificate while continuing her work in the only veterinary Internal Medicine department in the state of New Mexico. Kelsey was also elected to the International Association for Veterinary Social Work’s (IAVSW) Executive Board of Directors in May 2022. Kelsey is extremely passionate about bringing adequate mental health care, wellness, and resources to everyone in the veterinary field. When she is not juggling work and education, Kelsey can be found hiking with her Rottweiler, Copper, and snuggling with her tripod kitty, Nubs.

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Sarah Bernardi RSW, MSW (she/her/hers)

Director of Partnerships

Sarah Bernardi is currently the veterinary social worker at the Ontario Veterinary College and Health Sciences Centre where she provides support services, resources, and continuing education to the OVC’s Companion Animal Hospital, Large Animal Hospital and Animal Cancer Centres . She is passionate about supporting the human components of veterinary medicine and routinely collaborates with pet owners, veterinary staff, and mental health professionals around issues including compassion fatigue, anticipatory grief & grief, quality of life, end of life and decision making. In addition to her role on the IAVSW board, she is  a member of the Canadian Violence Link Coalition Steering Committee; and facilitates a peer group that brings mental health practitioners working in veterinary hospitals together to share their insights, experiences and support one another. 

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Jessica Rohwer, LCSW (she/her/hers)

Director of Ethics and Standards of Practice

Jessica Rohwer is a LCSW in Central Illinois who currently works as a medical social worker and pediatric psychotherapist. Jessica’s participation on a hospital ethics committee and overall passion for ethics led to her interest in joining the board with IAVSW. Jessica first became interested in Animal Assisted interventions during her graduate education. She then developed a greater interest in the human-Animal bond and overall career in Veterinary Social Work after learning more about the field. Jessica is currently working towards her VSW certification through her enrollment in the VSW certificate program with the University of Tennessee. Her areas of interest include VSW Ethics, AAI and Animal-Related Grief and Bereavement. Jessica enjoys spending time with her family and training her beloved pack of rescue canines Gander (Newfoundland), Memphis (Labrador mix) and Maisy (English Bulldog).

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Becca Lory Hector (she/her/hers)

Director of Communications

BECCA LORY HECTOR was diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult and has since become a dedicated autism and neurodiversity advocate, researcher, consultant, speaker, and author. With a focus on living an active, positive life, her work includes autism & neurodiversity consulting, autistic quality of life research, public speaking engagements, as well as, teaching her course, Self Defined Living: A Path to a Quality Autistic Life, and her related seminars. Becca has published multiple articles and books about life on the autism spectrum with the goal of spreading acceptance, building understanding, and encouraging self-advocacy. She spent four years supporting the autism community in the non-profit sector in her work for grass-roots organizations that provide resources and services directly to individuals on the autism spectrum, leaving only to open her autism and neurodiversity consulting business. An animal lover with a special affinity for cats, Becca spends most of her free time with her many animals, her husband Antonio, and their Emotional Support Animal (ESA), Sir Walter Underfoot. Sir Walter Underfoot travels, does woofing engagements, and has his very own Instagram to help share with the world his life as an ESA to an autistic adult.

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Francesca Tocco, MSW, LCSW (she/her/hers)

Director of Education

Francesca earned her MSW from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with an emphasis on Interpersonal Practice and Health with a minor in Management of Human Services. She is licensed to practice as a Clinical Social Worker in several states. Francesca has worked alongside veterinary medicine since 2012 in a variety of practice settings: general, specialty, and emergency hospitals. She enjoys supporting clients bringing in the patients of the veterinary hospitals, focusing on the emotional needs that arise in hospital settings. She also appreciates supporting medical team members with their own personal journeys and finding harmony between professional and personal goals. Francesca believes in empowering individuals, teams, and advocating for mental health needs at all levels.

Bri Golob

Bri Golob (she/her/hers)

Student Board Member

Bri is currently enrolled in her MSW program at the University of South Florida with an anticipated graduation in December 2022. Bri is excited to represent the student perspective within IAVSW. Bri’s interest in veterinary social work started in March 2021 when she applied for the Program Manager position with [Not One More Vet, Inc. (NOMV),] a non-profit organization committed to transforming the status of mental wellness in the veterinary community. She tackles the unique challenges of the industry from as many angles as possible with the help of her pups, Pumba and Cole, both black lab mix rescues!