The Healer's Art Program

The Healer's Art program is an innovative discovery model course in values clarification and professionalism that offers a safe learning environment for a personal in-depth exploration of the time-honored values of service, healing relationship, reverence for life and compassionate care.

We are proud to be offering this life-changing course to our DVM students each spring. Established in 2015, we are just the second veterinary medicine school to adopt the program (the course is very prominent in many medical schools around the country)!


Program Director

Photo: Dr. Jody Yelland DVM

"After 23 years as a small animal clinician in private practice I made the decision that I needed to find another way to serve my profession. Bringing The Healer’s Art to the veterinary students is one of the ways that I am doing this. The program is meant to give the students tools to retain the meaning of why they have chosen this wonderful profession and help integrate affective aspects of professionalism such as enthusiasm, generous listening, and the power of their presence into the veterinary curriculum. I want for them, more than anything, to have long, fulfilling and rewarding lives as veterinarians and am firmly convinced, based on my own experience, that these things are essential."

Dr. Jody Yelland, DVM


Puneet (Penny) Sidhu - Class of 2020

Photo: Puneet Sidhu - Class of 202020

"Veterinary medicine is much more than just science and for this reason I am thrilled to be a part of the Healers Art program. I look forward to exploring the values of compassion, healing, and self-care in a safe learning environment. To be successful veterinarians we must take care of ourselves and exploring effective work-life balance strategies will further our abilities to care for our patients, clients, and colleagues. Moreover, I am excited to connect with peers and mentors as we share our challenges and triumphs and support one another on this journey toward becoming successful veterinary professionals."

Rowena de Joya - Class of 2020

Photo: Rowena de Joya - Class of 2020

"Practicing veterinary medicine goes beyond the academic realm; at its core, it exists as one of the most humane disciplines, with fundamental principles of compassion, enthusiasm, and life-long learning. I was first drawn to become part of the Healer's Art Program at UC Davis because of its unique emphasis on these principles. I am hopeful that through self empowerment and self-discovery, I will be able to adopt these principles into every aspect of my veterinary career, as well as in my life. Every encounter and experience can be treated as important life lessons, and I believe the program will provide an environment that will allow me to take these lessons and grow, both as an individual and future veterinary professional."


Krista Boyles - Class of 2019

Photo: Krista Boyles - Class of 2019

"It is easy to become entrapped in the science of veterinary medicine and forget why it is you really wanted to become a veterinarian. I feel passionately about Healer's Art because it allows me to enhance my communication skills and ultimately become a more effective veterinarian in the long run. Veterinary medicine is still a people-oriented medicine and I think that it is crucial to not forget your client along the way when it is so easy to focus on the patient. As a second year Ambassador for Healer's Art, I hope to maintain not only my own optimism for the great impact we can make as veterinarians, but also spread that optimism to others taking the course. I am truly excited to embark on this adventure with my colleagues."

Ashley Morris - Class of 2019

Ashley Morris - Class of 2019

"I believe that anyone who dedicates their life to animals possesses a strong sense of compassion and selflessness. I also believe that those traits predispose veterinary professionals to self-neglect, causing stress and burnout, and ultimately deteriorating that innate compassion that makes this career so fulfilling. I am excited to serve as a student ambassador of the Healer's Art Program at UC Davis to help my peers realize that self-care is accessible and essential in our profession. As a participant of the program, I am excited to learn from the experiences of my colleagues, so that we may all expand our understanding of the burdens and joys of veterinary medicine." 

Andria Nicole Spediacci - Class of 2019

Photo: Andria Spediacci - Class of 2019

"I became interested in the Healer’s Art Program as I started my research and application in to the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine program. As a career changer, I know the repercussions that may ensue without a positive work-life balance and am dedicated to maintaining this in my second career. I also look forward to helping other colleagues and friends achieve this goal. This program allows us a safe space to think and converse about not only the great aspects of the profession but the challenges as well. I am so grateful to be able to represent the program as an Ambassador for a second year."

Lindsay Garcia - Class of 2020

Photo: Andrea Nicole Spediacci - Class of 2019

"I am excited to take on the role of ambassador for the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Healer’s Art Program. Throughout the next four years of our veterinary education, we will face many difficult challenges. I believe that this course offers a wonderful opportunity to help us grow as veterinary professionals to face and conquer the daily stresses together. This program provides students with the resources to learn how to flourish within this career by strengthening our skills to connect with each other, patients, and clients. As an ambassador, I hope to encourage an environment of collaboration and support as we all work to make the veterinary profession the best it can be."

Amanda Severson - Class of 2019

Photo: Amanda Severson - Class of 2019

"I strongly believe that the strength of any profession lies in the health of those who practice it. This applies nowhere better than the veterinary profession. Some days can be wonderful and others can be really difficult. I’m devoted to helping fellow students and veterinarians because it’s so important to build a community that’s committed to helping each other in addition to our patients. That’s why I’m so excited to be participating in the Healer’s Art program. As a student ambassador, I’m here to set an example for my peers in practicing a life of balance and wellness. It’s time that we started talking about the difficult things that we try so hard to hide in order to change veterinary medicine for the better."

Allison Brennan - Class of 2019

Photo: Allison Brennan - Class of 2019

"Each man’s life touches so many other lives. Even complete strangers have the power to change a life without ever knowing the strength of their (seemingly insignificant) words or actions. As veterinarians, we play an enormous role, providing support to pet owners at some very crucial times. But to heal compassionately, we must be comfortable speaking openly and honestly with all types of people. Humans help one another grow and learn through conversation, which is slowly becoming a distant art due to the power of social media.

I am honored to be an ambassador for the Healer’s Art Program at UC Davis, and I pledge to use this experience to develop meaningful relationships through the power of presence and conversation throughout my career. Each person has a unique life story and perspective, and you can learn so much more about this world if you lend an ear."

Olivia Russo - Class of 2019

Photo: Olivia Russo - Class of 2019

"I first learned about The Healer’s Art program shortly after my dog of 13 years passed away. At that time I was not only confused about how to deal with my grief and denial of her passing as a pet parent, but also as a future veterinarian who is expected to deal with this type of suffering daily. I thought the Healer’s Art program would be a wonderful place where I could comfortably talk about my personal experiences as a pet parent looking for compassion and understanding in the veterinary world, as well as learn how to communicate and share that compassion with other pet parents. As a student ambassador, I also hope to offer and receive guidance from my peers on how we as veterinarians can best serve others and nurture the human-animal bond."

2016 Ambassador testimonials

Previous 2016 Ambassador testimonials