Meet The CHPP Team


Lynn Henderson DVM, MEd, CHPV

Veterinary Director

Lynn Henderson

Dr. Lynn Henderson has been involved in clinical companion animal practice in many forms since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 2007. Having worked in general practice, emergency medicine, house-call medicine and hospice and palliative care, she has always been most interested in the areas of veterinary medicine that allow engagement with the human side of practice. Dr. Henderson operated a successful veterinary house-call practice for 10 years, gaining certification in veterinary hospice and palliative care through the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care in 2019. Dr. Henderson also recently completed her Master of Education. She believes strongly in relationship-building, authentic communication and accountability in delivering on promises.  

As Veterinary Director, Dr. Henderson leads the program’s clinical and learning teams who are engaged in community service and service learning and oversees the relationships and partnerships between OVC and many community stakeholders and committed organizations with a focus on improving access to veterinary care.  

Wesley Cheung DVM

Clinical Resident in Shelter Medicine

After graduating from the University of Sydney, Wesley started his career in small animal general practice and later underwent an internship in emergency and critical care, working as an emergency veterinarian. Following his passion for shelter medicine, he completed a specialty internship under Cornell’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program and served as a shelter veterinarian at Toronto Humane Society. Today, he is the first clinical resident in shelter medicine in Canada and is involved in shelter consultative work, outreach, research and teaching. 

Sara Ritzie DVM

DVSc Resident in Community Medicine

Dr. Sarah Ritzie (left) pictured hugging a medium sized dog with a white chest, tan face and black muzzle.

Sara’s journey in veterinary medicine began in a traditional small animal practice, where she discovered her passion for working with animals along with a natural inclination for embracing new challenges. Motivated to expand her knowledge and skill set beyond conventional boundaries, she delved into the field of veterinary nutrition, honing functional and technical expertise in promoting health through nutrition and developing a talent for simplifying complex concepts into effective, accessible strategies. 

Throughout her career, Dr. Ritzie has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to volunteer work, with a strong affinity for improving access to care, and supporting underserved communities across Ontario and abroad. In 2023, she embarked on her DVSc Residency in Community Medicine, where her goal is to inspire positive change in the field of veterinary medicine, promoting the well-being of animals, communities, and veterinary teams while emphasizing the importance of accessible care. She is involved in outreach, research, and teaching through the Community Healthcare Partnership Program.  Dr. Ritzie’s role is funded by The Stanton Foundation.

Alexandre Ellis DVM DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)

Shelter Medicine Specialist

Dr. Ellis received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Montreal in 2016, which he followed with a small animal rotating internship in private practice. In 2020, he completed a shelter medicine residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Ellis then received his board certification in Shelter Medicine Practice from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2021. He currently works as a shelter consultant where he mostly helps shelters across Canada with infectious disease management, population management and working within their capacity for care. He is also a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary and an adjunct professor at the Ontario Veterinary College. 

Emilia Gordon DVM DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)

Shelter Medicine Specialist

Dr. Emilia Wong Gordon received her DVM from the University of California, Davis in 2005 and obtained specialty board certification in Shelter Medicine Practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2020. Her early experiences in animal shelters working with animals who were surrendered due to the life circumstances of their human families have driven her career direction for over 20 years. She currently provides mobile and consulting services to animal shelters, rescues, and other animal welfare stakeholders through her practice, Haven Veterinary Services. Her practice operates according to the belief that cross-sector collaboration with a One Health emphasis is essential to the shared goals of the animal welfare, veterinary, and human health professions. Dr. Gordon’s professional and research interests include infectious disease, animal welfare epidemiology, and feline behaviour and welfare. She lectures on shelter topics at several universities in Western Canada and holds adjunct faculty positions with the University of Florida Shelter Medicine Distance Education Program and the Ontario Veterinary College.

Sarah Lokaisingh DVM

Intern in Shelter and Community Medicine

Dr. Sarah Lokaisingh holding a black dog.

Sarah graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2024. During her veterinary education, she quickly discovered her passion for communication and client education, and how these can be utilized to impact the human-animal bond. Sarah is dedicated to learning how to improve access to veterinary care in order to support human and animal health. She is excited to begin her veterinary career immersed in community and shelter medicine alongside the CHPP team.

Research and Teaching

Dr. Lauren Van Patter (they/them|she/her)

Professor in Community and Shelter Medicine

CHPP’s research and teaching arm is headed by Dr. Lauren Van Patter in the Department of Clinical Studies at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). Dr. Van Patter is a transdisciplinary Animal Studies researcher with a background in Environmental Sciences and Cultural Geographies. This unique perspective allows them to mobilize mixed-methods (primarily qualitative), community-engaged research tools aimed at exploring both the interpersonal level of lived experiences of the human-animal bond, as well as broader structural inequities through lenses such as culture, power and justice. Dr. Van Patter is PI on CHPP research projects, and coordinates/advises other members of the research team. They also conduct broader collaborative work around veterinary social sciences, critical theory, human-animal relationships and One Health including a recent publication in One Health Outlook. View a full list of previous publications.

Quinn Rausch (they/them)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Quinn Rausch is a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Lauren Van Patter to understand how Canadian organizations are addressing financial, geographic, cultural and disability-related barriers to accessing animal healthcare and developing a program evaluation tool to assess organizational impact. They completed a PhD in epidemiology and companion animal behaviour and welfare with a focus on puppy behavioural development in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College in 2023. Their overall goal is to generate and effectively mobilize knowledge about companion animals in human society to inform community partnership in animal care, improve companion animal welfare, human wellbeing and the human-companion bond.

Tsaiping (Hannah) Liao (she/her)

MSc student

I’m currently pursuing an MSc in Clinical Studies with a specialization in One Health at OVC. My academic journey has led me to a collaboration with Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB). We’re addressing the shortage of veterinary services in Remote Northern Canada, exploring Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) and their potential to bridge this gap. We employ qualitative methods like semi-structured interviews and surveys to comprehensively investigate their role in expanding veterinary access. Through this research, we aim to understand the challenges and opportunities of CAHWs in enhancing animal healthcare access in remote Canadian communities. Our goal is to formulate practical, sustainable recommendations that can significantly improve essential animal healthcare services in remote Canadian communities moving forward.

Giselle Kalnins (she/her)

DVM student

My name is Giselle and I am currently a Phase 3 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) student at the OVC. I came across the CHPP program while in my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph and immediately felt at home. Since joining the Van Patter lab in the Fall of 2022, my work has focused on Access to Veterinary Care, as well as Multispecies Justice from a veterinary medical perspective. This past summer of 2023, I assisted Dr. Van Patter with data analysis to see how implementation of the CHPP program in curriculum has impacted new DVM graduates perspectives on spectrum of care in practice. This fall, I will be working on an access to veterinary care project, as well as helping to share our findings from the summer of 2023. Overall, Dr. Van Patter never fails to create a warm, understanding, and inclusive environment in our lab. At home, I live with several four-legged family members and enjoy painting and crafts, as well as spending time camping with my partner and our two dogs in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Administrative and Technical

Meghan Longley BSc BEd RVT

Clinical Services Manager

Meghan Longley

Meghan Longley completed her Registered Veterinary Technician diploma at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus and has worked with the OVC since 2010.  

She has furthered her education and training by working in various areas throughout OVC’s Health Sciences Centre, including small animal and large animal surgery, the intensive care unit, the large animal wards and, most recently, in the Clinical Studies department as part of the Clinical Skills team, assisting in teaching labs for years one through three of OVC’s DVM program.  

As Clinical Services Manager, Meghan provides critical strategic and operational support for the clinical program and student veterinarians participating in the CHPP.  

Melanie Thompson BSc RVT

Shelter and Community Medicine Technician

Melanie Thompson

Melanie received her Registered Veterinary Technician designation in 2001 after graduating with honors from Seneca College. During her 21-year career at the OVC, she has worked in the Large Animal Wards, providing patient care. She also has experience working in both small animal surgery and large animal surgery.    

As an RVT in the Community Healthcare Partnership Program, Melanie is responsible for organizing and maintaining the technical aspects of the program, helping to facilitate and develop client communication and community needs, while providing support and functional guidance to veterinary students.    

Renee Austin RVT

Part-time, Registered Veterinary Technician

Renee Austin

Renee earned her registered veterinary technician diploma from St. Lawerence College in 2000.

In the last 23 years Renee has worked in a mixed practice, dental referral, the pharmaceutical industry and emergency medicine. In 2012 Renee started volunteering for animal welfare projects in Northern Canada. She worked with temporary field hospitals in the Yukon and Nunavut to improve animal health and help control overpopulation. 

Program Support

Eva Gharabaghi

Part-time Administrative Duties

Eva Gharabaghi

Eva Gharabaghi is currently a student at the University of Guelph studying Bio-Medical Science. Eva is passionate about the intersections of animal, human, and ecosystem health and has worked and volunteered in a variety of veterinary hospitals, research laboratories, animal shelters, and even a wildlife sanctuary. As she pursues her journey towards becoming a veterinarian, Eva is inspired by CHPP’s values of community care, veterinary outreach and ongoing education. As a member of CHPP, Eva is very excited to support the program both behind the scenes and on rotation, learn from the exceptional CHPP team, and grow as a veterinary professional alongside the program. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email