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Development of International Learning Outcomes for Shelter Medicine in Veterinary Education: A Delphi Approach

Stavisky, J; Watson, B; Dean, R; Merritt, BL; van der Leij, WJRJ; Serlin, R


J Stavisky

B Watson

R Dean

BL Merritt

WJRJ van der Leij

R Serlin


Shelter medicine is a veterinary discipline of growing importance. Formally accepted as a clinical specialty in the USA in 2014, the practice of shelter medicine worldwide is expanding. As a topic in veterinary pre-registration (undergraduate) education, it is frequently used as an opportunity to teach primary care skills, but increasingly recognized as a subject worthy of teaching in its own right. The aim of this study was to use a Delphi consensus methodology to identify learning outcomes relevant to shelter medicine education.
Shelter medicine educators worldwide in a variety of settings, including universities, non-governmental organisations and shelters were invited to participate. Participants were initially invited to share shelter medicine teaching materials. These were synthesised and formatted into Learning Outcomes (LOs) based on Bloom’s taxonomy and organised into five subject-specific domains.
Participants were then asked to develop and evaluate the identified LOs in two rounds of online surveys. Consensus was determined at >80% of panellists selecting “agree” or “strongly agree” in response to the statement “please indicate whether you would advise that it should be included in a shelter medicine education program” for each LO. In the second survey, where re-wording of accepted LOs was suggested, preference was determined at >50% agreement.
Through this method, 102 agreed LOs have been identified and refined. These LOs, as well as those which did not reach consensus, are presented here. These are intended for use by shelter medicine educators worldwide, to enable and encourage the further development of this important veterinary discipline.


Stavisky, J., Watson, B., Dean, R., Merritt, B., van der Leij, W., & Serlin, R. (2020). Development of International Learning Outcomes for Shelter Medicine in Veterinary Education: A Delphi Approach. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 20, 2020
Publication Date Sep 30, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2021
Print ISSN 0748-321X
Publisher University of Toronto Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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