Elizabeth LaVallee, MS (MAPP alumna, 2015), Megan Kiely Mueller, MA, PhD, and Emily McCobb, DVM, MS (MAPP alumna, 2002)
Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
First published ahead of print June 28, 2017 as doi: 10.1080/10888705.2017.1337515
Currently, there is a care gap in veterinary medicine affecting low-income and underserved communities, resulting in decreased nonhuman-animal health and welfare. The use of low-price and community veterinary clinics in underserved populations is a strategy to improve companion-animal health through preventative care, spay/neuter, and other low-price care programs and services. Little research has documented the structure and effectiveness of such initiatives. This systematic review aimed to assess current published research pertaining to accessible health care, community-based veterinary medicine, and the use of community medicine in teaching programs. The review was an in-depth literature search identifying 51 publications relevant to the importance, benefits, drawbacks, and use of low-price and community clinics in underserved communities. These articles identified commonly discussed barriers to care that may prevent underserved clientele from seeking veterinary care. Five barriers were identified including the cost of veterinary care, accessibility of care, problems with or lack of veterinarian–client communication, culture/language, and lack of client education. The review also identified a need for additional research regarding evidence of effectiveness and efficiency in community medicine initiatives.
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