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Mercer Clinic Honored With Three Prestigious Awards

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Veterinary student Rachel Ferris assists a client at the Mercer Clinic for Pets of the Homeless in Sacramento. (Photo: Byron Lee, DVM Class of 2017)

May 2015

For more than 20 years, volunteers with the Mercer Veterinary Clinic have provided essential free veterinary care to the pets of Sacramento’s homeless citizens. Their dedication is recognized this month by not one, but three awards. 

On May 7th, Mercer Clinic received an Outstanding Community Service Award, sponsored by the UC Davis Internship and Career Center and the Community Service Resource Center. The clinic was also honored with a Presidential Award for Community Service—complete with a plaque, pin and certificate signed by President Obama.

“Mercer is tremendously honored to receive this award and recognition,” said Rachel Ferris, a DVM student in the Class of 2017 who is in her sixth year of volunteering with the organization. She was on hand with Professor Laurel Gershwin, faculty advisor for the clinic, to accept the award on behalf of Mercer Clinic. “I personally have gained so much by working at the clinic, from practical skills to the joy of helping others, and to be recognized by both the University and the President for this work is a great honor and a boost to our spirits. We are so grateful to the community for their support in our efforts to continue providing this service."

Jeanne Shelby, Associate Director of the Internship and Career Center, nominated Mercer Clinic for the community service award and says conservative estimates indicate that more than 8,840 hours of volunteer community service were devoted in support of the clinic during 2014-15.

“The Mercer Clinic provides an extraordinary opportunity for community veterinarians and UC Davis veterinarians, staff, veterinary students and undergraduate students to give back and provide crucial support to an underserved community very close to our campus community,” Shelby said. “Though countless volunteer hours and public donations are necessary to enable the Mercer Clinic to continue its service, the benefits provided by this unique service to the Sacramento community as well as to the UC Davis campus community cannot be overstated.”

On May 27th, Mercer Clinic will receive a 2015 Chancellor’s Civic Engagement Award with a prize of $1,000.  It is the only organization to be recognized with this award this year. 

Volunteers at the Mercer Clinic include veterinarians and faculty who are affiliated with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; community veterinarians who join UC Davis affiliates in volunteering services during monthly clinics and who serve on the Mercer Clinic Board of Directors; scores of professional students in the School of Veterinary Medicine; and an invaluable number of undergraduate students.

The Mercer Clinic provides free veterinary services to homeless citizens to allow them to keep and care for their pets. Services include a wide range of medical care including spay and neuter surgeries, provision of prescription medications, physical exams and diagnoses that result in treatments, surgical repair, and preventive medical treatments.

In addition to providing critical veterinary care, Mercer Clinic offers students opportunities to hone their skills in performing exams, running diagnostics, and providing medical treatment. Through working with the owners of their pet clients, the student volunteers at the Mercer Clinic also fine-tune their communication skills and the important traits of empathy and compassion that are essential to successful veterinary medical care.

Visit the Mercer Clinic website to learn more.


Trina Wood, Communications Officer