Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search Open Directory Close Directory

Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School

Shelter medicine students header

For Students

» Where do I start?

» Courses & Areas of Study

» Clinical Programs

» Careers

Shelter medicine shelter outreach header

Shelter Outreach

» Resources for Shelters

» Luke & Lily Lerner Spay/Neuter Clinic

» Center for Shelter Dogs

» Shelter Partners

Shelter medicine research header


» Center for Shelter Dogs

» Center for Animals & Public Policy

» Recent Publications

Program History

The Tufts Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School was founded in 2006 with the mission “to care for underserved animals in our community while providing hands-on learning opportunities to veterinary students.”

Learn more

Meet the Shelter Medicine Team

Learn more about our program director, Dr. Emily McCobb, and the rest of the team that makes Shelter Medicine happen. Find out about our team in the classroom, at our clinics and our Steering Committee.

Learn more

What is Shelter Medicine?

Shelter Medicine is a field of veterinary medicine dedicated to the care and needs of underserved animals. We work with underserved animals, while teaching students practice-ready skills.

Learn more

Shelter Medicine Program Highlights


To educate, inspire and prepare veterinarians to better understand the unique needs of vulnerable animals and the people who care for them while working towards broader social change.


The Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School blends our strengths in patient care, research, and service-learning to care for underserved animals in our community while providing hands-on learning opportunities to veterinary students.

Lectures & Courses

We are committed to raising awareness about the needs of shelter animals and the sheltering community among all veterinarians. Therefore part of our program includes elements of the core DVM and Masters curriculums, which are required for all students.

Read more

Students gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom during their pre-clinical years through participation in the Selectives Program. Selectives courses can be taken by students with a significant interest in the field.

Read more
Clinical Rotations

In the spring of the third year, all Cummings School students enter their clinical year, which includes 17 weeks of Elective time and offers many private practice or other clinical setting rotations for students to gain additional Shelter Medicine experience.

Read more
Spay/Neuter Externships

Many veterinary students choose to gain additional surgical training by participating in off campus spay/neuter experiences. In addition to the programs offered at Cummings School, there are opportunities which are hosted by outside organizations around the nation and the world.

Read more
Surgical Training Program

We work to provide all Cummings veterinary students with opportunities to learn surgical skills through spaying and neutering. Our mission is to instruct veterinary students in the best practices of small-animal sterilization surgeries while providing free or low-cost services to pets in need from the surrounding community.

Read more
Shelter Rotations

There are many ways veterinary and graduate students can get involved at our local shelter partners. Through research projects, externships, class trips as well as electives and selectives, many Cummings students find a welcome break from course work by participating in a shelter based activities.

Read more
Center for Shelter Dogs

The Center for Shelter Dogs (CSD) at Cummings School conducts research to improve the welfare and successful placement of homeless dogs as well as dogs at risk for homelessness. Central to this mission is the dissemination of research results through the education of shelter professionals, veterinary students, and graduate students.

Read more
Center for Animals & Public Policy

We are part of the Center for Animal and Public Policy (CAPP). The mission of CAPP is to study complex issues surrounding the changing role and impact of animals in society regarding ethics, culture, values and policies. Through research, education and service, CAPP focuses on improving the treatment of animals in society and promote constructive discussions of the human-animal relationship.

Read more

In Our Own Words

“The Shelter Medicine Program at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuft University addresses the needs of underserved animal populations while teaching students practice-ready skills. For the portion of our students who anticipate careers in animal welfare, our program offers unique opportunities to get specialized instruction and hands on experience while in veterinary school. The underserved animals that we focus on include free-roaming cats, homeless animals and those at risk for relinquishment, including those pets that may be living with economically disadvantaged owners. We believe that by caring for animals in need, we are also sensitizing the next generation of veterinarians to animal welfare concerns and empowering them to give back with compassion throughout their careers.”

Dr. Emily McCobb
Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Director, Shelter and Community Medicine
Assistant Director Center for Animals and Public Policy

"The Cummings Shelter Medicine program provides a broad and deep foundation for veterinary students to learn the context of animal sheltering in society, health & welfare issues of homeless and at-risk animals as well as the importance of community medicine programs to prevent future animal suffering. Whether these students go on to work or volunteer in animal shelters or accessible veterinary medicine clinics or not, they emerge from this program with a solid understanding of the complexities of keeping all pets safe and healthy in all communities."

Dr. Martha Smith Blackmore
Past Animal Shelter Veterinary President
Author of the ASV Guidelines for Standard of Care in Animal Shelters
President of Veterinary Forensic Investigations, LLC

Cummings School Stories Featuring Shelter Medicine