International Veterinary Volunteer Work in Central and South America
Dr. ten Broeke began her veterinary volunteer work on Navajo and Zuni Reservations in New Mexico and Arizona with Rural Area Veterinary Services as a veterinary student in 1999, and she was immediately hooked. She also traveled to Guatemala to care for horses, cows, dogs, cats, and whatever else was brought to the 3-week field clinic. She loved the idea of pairing her love of veterinary medicine with her love of travel, and continued to participate and lead many trips in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Peru, with a primary focus on working horses in those communities. The rewards that come with one-on-one teaching experiences with students, connections made with people all around the world, and the visible difference it can make to both animal welfare and human quality-of-life is incredible. The program provides valuable training and experience for hundreds of future veterinary professionals, from both developed and developing countries, that goes far beyond anything they could learn in a classroom alone while instilling a long-lasting sense of responsibility to help these underserved communities. Sadly, Rural Area Veterinary Services has suspended their involvement in Central and South America due to funding cuts, but Dr. ten Broeke and others are involved in developing a sustainable program in the Peruvian High Andes and Nicaragua to fill the immense need in those areas.