Colorado State University Veterinarian and Argus Institute Director Receives National Award

A Colorado State University veterinarian who is a pioneer in veterinary communication and the human-animal bond recently was recognized with a national award as the Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute at the university’s Veterinary Medical Center, received the Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award for her outstanding work increasing understanding of, preserving and protecting human-animal relationships. Shaw is also an assistant professor of veterinary communication.

The Argus Institute, part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, focuses on creating a strong relationship between veterinarians, clients and patients to promote animal health and enhance the health-care experience for people and their pets. The institute’s curriculum focuses on communication between clients and veterinarians – a field often overlooked in veterinary medicine – and the clinical service helps pet owners through grief and loss associated with illness or death of a pet. One unique service offered to clients at the Veterinary Medical Center is the Argus Institute Clinic Support Program. Two full-time counselors provide support to people who are making difficult decisions for their pet’s health.

Shaw is a recognized expert in interactions between veterinarians, clients and patients. She conducted the first scientific study of veterinarian-client-patient communication, and her research focuses on improving and understanding conversations between veterinarians and their clients to improve the care of animal patients.

Shaw, who implements the communication curriculum at Colorado State University, focuses on helping veterinary students hone interviewing skills during patient visits. She serves on the advisory committee for the International Conference on Communication in Veterinary Medicine. She teaches veterinary communication workshops around the world and consults with private veterinary practices to enhance teamwork, continuity of care and client service.

Shaw received her veterinary degree from Michigan State University in 1994 and her Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, in 2004. Her academic career began as an instructor in the problem-based learning curriculum at Cornell University, and she served as an assistant professor of epidemiology and communication at Western University of Health Sciences. She worked in companion animal practice in private practice and academic settings. She was the founder of Cornell Companions, an animal-assisted activities program and advisor to student volunteers at Pet Loss Support Hotlines at Cornell University and University of Guelph.