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College of Social Work

Maddie’s Fund to support research and development of AlignCare, a health care system designed to improve access to veterinary care for underserved families.

AlignCare grew out of concern for the millions of pets in the United States that lack access to veterinary care, primarily because of their family’s limited financial resources. When these pets experience an illness or injury, they may face prolonged pain or premature death. Some are relinquished to overburdened animal shelters. Having millions of pets with inadequate health care also presents risks to public healtMi

The three-year AlignCare study involves researchers from UT’s College of Social Work, the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the Haslam College of Business, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Department of Public Health in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. It is an extension of work done by the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition, which commissioned a national study of barriers to veterinary care, performed by the College of Social Work’s Center for Applied Research and Evaluation and also funded by Maddie’s Fund. The results of that study will be available by the end of the year

Read more about the grant at

Access to Veterinary Care Coalition is pleased to announce a $391,420 Maddie’s Fund grant to UT’s College of Social Work. The grant will fund a nationwide study identifying barriers to veterinary care experienced by pet owners and veterinary services providers and document existing strategies to deliver veterinary care to underserved pet owners.

This will be the largest and most comprehensive study of barriers, existing practices, and public policy about access to veterinary care in the United States to date. At least 23 million pets live with families at or below the poverty line, and millions more live in financially struggling middle-class households that cannot afford veterinary care.

Read More About the Grant

Professor David Dupper will become interim dean of the College of Social Work on August 16. He will succeed Karen Sowers who is retiring.

As interim dean, David will provide strategic leadership for the college’s faculty, staff, and students in the coming months while a national search is conducted to hire the college’s new dean.

David received his doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in social work from Florida State University. He came to UT in 1998. He served as associate dean of the College of Social Work from 2001 to 2004 and served as director of the college’s BSSW program from 2013 to 2016.

Please join me in congratulating David for taking on this additional set of responsibilities.

John Zomchick
Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor