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Dr. Michael Blackwell a keynote speaker at the National Academies of Practice Annual Meeting and Forum

Dr. Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH, FNAP, Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity within the College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee, recently served as the invited forum opening keynote speaker and as a panelist at the 2022 National Academies of Practice (NAP) Annual Meeting and Forum in San Diego, California.  The forum theme was “Promoting Diversity, Resilience, and Interprofessional Collaboration in Education, Practice, and Research.” Dr. Blackwell is also the former chief of staff to the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General and chief veterinary officer of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Dr. Blackwell’s opening keynote, “…for the benefit of society….Honoring our Oath“, building on Blackwell’s background in veterinary medicine and public health, guiding attendees to connect access to veterinary care and health equity. The message conveyed is that attention to health access for animals is part of addressing health disparities for underserved families. Dr. Blackwell emphasized that pets provide wellness benefits for families and certain illnesses can pass between animals and humans when unchecked by proper public health measures.

Dr. Blackwell also joined panelists, Dr. Shelley Cohen Konrad, PhD, LCSW, FNAP – University of New England; Dr. Gail Jensen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, FNAP – Creighton University; and Dr. David Pole, PhD, MPH – Saint Louis University, in developing and presenting a panel discussion titled “Strengthening Collaborative Teamwork throughout Interprofessional Education, Practice, & Research.” Strategically occurring at the closing forum session, the panel discussion engaged attendees in a process of integrating theoretical and actionable steps in advocating for interprofessional practice and education and encouraged the attendees to envision the future of team-based care.

Founded in 1981, NAP is an interprofessional, nonprofit organization, with membership representing fourteen health care professions, including veterinary medicine and social work. Members include peer-elected practitioners and scholars dedicated to the mission of NAP to serve as distinguished professionals advancing interprofessional healthcare by fostering collaboration and advocating for policies in the best interest of individuals and communities. For more information on the National Academies of Practice, please visit