Pamela Linden, LMSW, PhD, VSW

Dr. Linden earned her MSW and PhD at Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare. 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.    She 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, studied mandated outpatient psychiatric treatment. Dr. Linden is the Director of Veterinary Social Work for the AlignCare Healthcare program, a part of the Program for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Linden also administers a nationwide research project that explores experiences of veterinary medical students with diverse social identities and to improve mental health and wellbeing among veterinary students in the U.S. 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.


Angie Arora, MSW, RSW

Angie Arora is the IAVSW Board Secretary. As a registered Social Worker and Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist from Toronto, Canada, Angie specializes in veterinary wellness, animal end-of-life issues including pet loss and equity/inclusion within veterinary medicine. She has worked as a hospital Veterinary Social Worker, facilitates community-based pet loss support groups and education, and is actively engaged in wellness coaching for those working within veterinary medicine. 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 non-status, immigrant and refugee communities. 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

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).


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.


Shellie Kwitkowski, MBA 
Board Director

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.