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Zarah Hedge, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)

Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, Hospital Director WesternU Spay/Neuter Center - East Valley

College of Veterinary Medicine

E-Mail: zhedge@westernu.edu

Phone: 8543

Join year: 2015

Education

Bachelor of Science in Biology, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, 2005

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA, 2009

Shelter Medicine Internship, Oregon Humane Society, Portland, OR, 2010

Shelter Medicine Residency, Oregon Humane Society/Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Portland, OR, 2013

Master's in Public Health, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN, 2013

Certification

Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (DACVPM)

Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practicioners (DABVP) in Shelter Medicine Practice

Professional Experience

Shelter Medicine Internship, Oregon Humane Society, Portland, OR, 2010

 

Shelter Medicine Residency, Oregon Humane Society/Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Portland, OR, 2013

Volunteer Veterinary Surgeon, Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, Portland, OR, 2009-2013

Volunteer Veterinarian, Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team, 2009-2013

Shelter Veterinarian, San Diego Humane Society & SPCA, San Diego, CA, 2013-2015

Volunteer Veterinary Surgeon, Feral Cat Coalition, San Diego, CA, 2013-2015

Volunteer Veterinary Surgeon, Friends of the Humane Society of Tijuana,Tijuana, MX, 2013-current

Volunteer Veterinarian, HSVMA Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS), 2009-current

 

Academic Interests

  • High quality, high volume spay/neuter (HQHVSN), veterinary forensic medicine, population management, community cat management, infectious disease prevention and control, public health
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Teaching Experience

Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, Western University of Health Sciences, 2015-present

Philosophy

I feel that the best learning environments are ones in which students are engaged to be active participants in their learning. When students feel empowered and encouraged to discuss, explore, and critically evaluate in a fun and positive environment, they not only retain the knowledge and skills from that experience, but gain skills that will propel them forward to be lifelong learners. When I think back on my most memorable learning experiences, they all encompassed these characteristics; and when I think back on my most memorable teachers, they were all enthusiastic about their field and excited to share their knowledge and passion with others.

My passion is shelter medicine and surgery, a blend of population health and individual health. I love improving the welfare of animals, as well as helping to pioneer creative approaches to reducing the numbers of homeless animals and engaging the community and its partners to work together to solve these issues. I love having the ability to share my enthusiasm about shelter medicine with veterinary students, both as a former intern and resident and now as a clinical preceptor. I approach teaching with an open and eager mind, continuing to evolve and learn from the students I work with just as they learn from me. As someone who is not far removed from the memories of being a student and new graduate, I utilize my experiences (both achievements and mistakes) and knowledge to help students learn. As a Western graduate, I am also very familiar with the student-centered and problem-based learning approach, and find these approaches to be highly successful for lifelong learning.

During my time at the Oregon Humane Society, we had a simple motto to describe our goals for what we hoped to accomplish when working with student externs. We referred to them as the “3 c’s”: competence, confidence and compassion. I like to use my energy and positive attitude to create a fun and memorable learning environment, helping students continue to build their competence in surgery, medicine and beyond. Simultaneously, by giving them the learning environment to become more competent in their skills and knowledge, they gain a higher sense of confidence. Overlying the objectives of developing competence and confidence is that of maintaining and building on their compassion towards others, both animals and humans. The ‘Reverence for Life Philosophy’ is something that I strongly believe in and incorporate into my life and teaching philosophy. 

Awards

Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society

Organizations

Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV)

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) - Leadership Council Member

California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

Publication

Hedge, Zarah. Surgery Not Required: Updates from the 5th International Symposium on Non-Surgical Methods of Pet Population Control. Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Online Newsletter. Aug 26, 2013

Löhr CV, Hedge ZN, Pool RR. Infiltrative myxoma of the stifle joint and thigh in a domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Comp Pathol. 2012 Aug-Oct;147(2-3):218-22. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Hedge, Zarah. Embracing Change in the Veterinary Profession.Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Online Newsletter. Jan 10, 2011. 

Narrative

Growing up all over the Midwest, I was surrounded by animals of all kinds and spent most of my childhood outdoors in nature. This included countless hours spent caring for stray cats in my neighborhood, finding them new homes and trying to convice my parents to get them spayed and neutered. Looking back, it was clear that I was headed on a path towards shelter medicine. When I moved to California for veterinary school, I was further exposed to the realities of pet overpopulation and became active in the shelter medicine club as well as working with various sheltering and spay/neuter organizations.

I quickly realized that shelter medicine was my passion, and after graduating from veterinary school, became the first intern at the Oregon Humane Society, where I completed a one year intensive shelter medicine internship. I was then given the wonderful opportunity to create a new three year shelter medicine residency program through the Oregon Humane Society, in conjunction with Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. During that time, I gained extensive experience in high quality, high volume spay/neuter and other essential surgeries, preventive medicine, small mammal/exotic/avian medicine, veterinary forensic medicine including large scale cruelty cases, infectious disease management, control, prevention and treatment, shelter consultations, and educating veterinary students in surgery and shelter medicine.

After finishing my shelter medicine residency in 2013, I spent two years with the San Diego Humane Society & SPCA, where I helped develop a shelter medicine internship program, before coming back to join the amazing faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. In my free time I enjoy practicing yoga, photography, hiking, traveling, going to concerts and spending time with my dog and cats.