MEET THE BOARD

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Pamela Linden, LMSW, PhD, VSW
President
Contact: president@iavsw.org

Dr. Linden earned her MSW and PhD at Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare. She is the Director of Veterinary Social Work for the AlignCare Healthcare program. Dr. Linden holds a certificate in Veterinary Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she is an instructor in the Veterinary Social Work and Veterinary Human Support Certificate programs. She is the founding President of the International Association of Veterinary Social Work. Dr. Linden is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Stony Brook University School of Health Technology & Management in Stony Brook, Long Island, New York where she teaches Animal Assisted Therapy for Health Professional and Disability Studies. Dr. Linden administered programs for individuals with serious mental illness, conducted research problem solving courts for both juvenile delinquents and veteran’s and as a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute she studied mandated outpatient psychiatric treatment. Dr. Linden is co-editor of the forthcoming volume The Comprehensive Guide to Interdisciplinary Veterinary Social Work, to be published by Springer in 2022.

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Aviva Vincent, PhD, LMSW
Vice 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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Angie Arora, MSW, RSW
Secretary
Contact: info@iavsw.org

Angie Arora is a registered Social Worker from Toronto, Canada with over 15 years of experience in the areas of pet loss and veterinary compassion resilience. She has worked as a hospital Veterinary Social Worker, facilitated community-based pet loss support groups, and engaged in media campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with pet loss. She is on the inaugural Board of the International Association of Veterinary Social Work and serves as a Pet Loss Support Group Facilitator with VetVine. Angie is a Professor with Seneca College’s Social Service Worker Program, where she was the principal investigator of a research study that developed guidelines for veterinary teams to better support clients through their pets’ end of life. Her social work practice has also focussed on issues of gender-based violence with a specific focus on immigrant and refugee communities. In addition, she is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist with the Traumatology Institute and works with the veterinary industry to build wellness through strengthening compassion resilience. Angie obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and Masters of Social Work from York University.

Robin Peth-Pierce

Robin Peth-Pierce
Board Director
Contact: partnerships@iavsw.org

Robin Peth-Pierce earned her BA in Journalism and Public Administration from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and Master's in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University, John Glenn College of Public Affairs. She is currently the Communications Director of the NIMH-funded Center on Implementation and Dissemination Science in States for Children, Adolescents and Families (IDEAS). Over the last two decades, her overall efforts have focused on supporting researchers at federal agencies, non-profits, and university research teams in their efforts to build a better science in child and family mental health services, with the goal of improving the quality of care received by children and families in the U.S. She is particularly interested in translating the knowledge gains of the last decade in early child development into interventions that can be easily deployed in more accessible community settings, by community health workers and laypersons, such as family peer advocates, and where possible, utilizing companion and therapeutic animals to enhance the delivery of services. She began her career at the National Institutes of Health as Presidential Management Fellow, completing a two-year fellowship of rotations in science policy, communications, legislation and grants and contracts, and working at both the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).  She is currently the founder and CEO of Public Health Communications Consulting (PHCC), LLC, and is working toward her master's degree in social work (MSW) and certificate in veterinary social work (VSW).

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Virginia Behmer
Board Director

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.

Emily Gelb and Sisa

Emily Gelb
Board Director

Emily Gelb is the Director of the Access to Veterinary Care Network for the ASPCA and a MSSW student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Emily spent 6.5 years developing and implementing programs aimed at increasing access to pet services for underserved communities and individuals experiencing crisis at an NC nonprofit. She has completed certificates in Veterinary Human Support, Nonprofit Management, and Humane Education, and worked closely with the AlignCare Program out of UT’s Program for Pet Health Equity during its pilot year. She is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Ecuador, 2012-14). Emily is particularly passionate about supporting individuals experiencing homelessness and immigrant communities, along with issues related to access to veterinary care, at micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Emily lives with her beloved Ecuadorian street dog, Sisa, and pandemic cat, Sundew.