Banfield Foundation Logo (PRNewsfoto/Banfield Foundation)

Banfield Foundation Logo (PRNewsfoto/Banfield Foundation) Content Exchange

VANCOUVER, Wash., Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Sovereign Nations Veterinary (SNV) today announced the official launch of the Dr. Eric Jayne Scholarship Program, an initiative created by SVN and its late founder, Dr. Jayne, with funding support from Banfield Foundation, a public charity within Mars Veterinary Health, and the IDEXX Foundation.

The new scholarship program is designed to support Native American Tribal members interested in a career in veterinary medicine in an effort to help expand access to care for both owned and community animals on Native Nations across the United States.

The new program which will be facilitated through Penn Foster, will allow scholarship recipients to create career opportunities through three educational pathways: High School Diploma with Veterinary Assistant Career Pathway, Veterinary Assistant and Veterinary Technician. All three programs are approved by and aligned with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) standards.

"One of the biggest gaps we see in our work to support nonprofit partners is the need for inclusive and accessible veterinary care. Not only does the scholarship program support access to care but it also supports access to education," said Kim Van Syoc, Executive Director, Banfield Foundation. "Our hope is that this will ultimately create a sustainable path for Tribal members at Rosebud and beyond to lead the veterinary care for Native American communities for generations to come."

As part of the new scholarship program, 50 percent of the funding is reserved to support members of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, where earlier this year, Banfield Foundation and IDEXX Foundation announced the support of the new Sovereign Nations Veterinary supported hospital Wamakanskan Wawokiye Oti which translates to Helping Animal Center. Both the hospital and the scholarship program are components of a multi-year initiative to bring financially sustainable, tribally directed preventive care and critical veterinary resources to the 20 communities that comprise the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Tribe Reservation.

"This initiative aligns with an area of focus of the IDEXX Foundation that is critical to strengthening the future of veterinary medicine: advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing access to educational opportunities," said Jason Johnson, DVM, MS, DACT, Chief Medical Officer of IDEXX. "As a former educator, I witnessed the opportunity that scholarship support offers to ambitious students looking to make a difference in the world. These aspiring professionals will bring the passion and expertise to care for animals in communities where they are greatly needed."

Scholarship recipients will provide up to one year of related work in support of veterinary teams or animal welfare organizations that operate in partnership with Native Nations throughout the U.S. caring for owned and community animals, including Wamakanskan Wawokiye Oti.

Building of the Wamakanskan Wawokiye Oti hospital began in May 2021 and renovations were completed earlier this month. Once fully open in spring 2022, clinic services will include preventive and emergency care, spay/neuter services, injured wildlife care, Tribal buffalo herd care, as well as animal population control and Tribal regulation enforcement. The comprehensive services will ensure Tribal members and the surrounding communities have access to veterinary care for their animals.

"Through this scholarship program, we are removing the barriers to accessible veterinary care by providing Tribal members and leaders with the tools to provide and maintain health and wellness for the pets on the reservation and surrounding communities," said Sally Cooper Smith, Administrator of Sovereign Nations Veterinary. "This is an incredibly humbling moment for us our partners, and a significant milestone in our path towards creating sustainable veterinary care for the Rosebud Lakota Sioux community."

Currently, there is a population of nearly 22,000 residents and 200,000 owned or community dogs and cats, and 5,000 owned horses on the Reservation. To fill the gap in access to care, the Lakota Sioux Nation has relied on local and out-of-state partners and volunteers to provide intermittent care including ongoing support from Sovereign Nations Veterinary, who will ultimately oversee the medical operations and education programs moving forward.

As part of the larger Rosebud Lakota Sioux Tribe Initiative, community based spay/neuter and wellness clinics are currently underway and will take place throughout 2022. Clinics will provide free spay/neuter services and preventive care for up to 5,000 pets belonging to the members of the 20 Communities on the Rosebud Lakota Sioux Tribe Reservation through Sovereign Nations Veterinary and ViDAS, a group of veterinary spay and neuter experts dedicated to providing pet sterilization to underserved areas. 

To learn more about the Dr. Eric Jayne scholarship – or to apply – visit

About the Banfield Foundation®

At the core of the Banfield Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the belief that all pets deserve access to veterinary care. In support of this belief, the foundation funds programs that enable veterinary care, elevate the power of the human-animal bond, provide disaster relief for pets, and advance the science of veterinary medicine through fostering innovation and education. It also leverages the expertise and passion of Banfield Pet Hospital, part of Mars Veterinary Health, and its Associates to care for pets in need. At the Banfield Foundation, we are committed to living our collective purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. For more information, visit

About the IDEXX Foundation

The IDEXX Foundation is a donor-advised fund administered by a national donor-advised fund sponsoring program. The IDEXX Foundation's mission is to create positive and lasting impacts for people, animals, and the environment through inclusive and outcomes-focused initiatives in communities around the world. In addition to creating opportunities for the diverse leaders of tomorrow, the IDEXX Foundation also prioritizes projects that improve access to veterinary care for underserved communities, disaster relief, and animal-assisted therapy, and cultivates community-focused solutions to the global challenges of access to safe water, impacts of climate change, and food security. For more information, visit

SOURCE Banfield Foundation

This article originally ran on Content Exchange

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