Increasing the life-saving capacity of animal shelters and communities through education, shelter outreach, and development of new knowledge


Dr. Sandra Newbury, Program Director

Dr. Newbury is the Director of the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program in Madison, WI and Clinical Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine in the School of Veterinary Medicine – Department of Medical Sciences. Dr. Newbury helped to build the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis from 2006-2014. Dr. Newbury served 6 years on the Board of Directors of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and was the Chair of the Shelter Standards Task Force. Dr. Newbury “saves lives and stomps out disease!” by focusing on partnerships between shelters, veterinarians and the community to decrease shelter intake and improve health, welfare and positive outcomes for homeless animals. Her academic work has focused on clinical studies in infectious disease, immunology, and population medicine to improve understanding of shelter animal health, disease response and animal welfare. Dr. Newbury travels through the year working with shelters and communities of all kinds across the US, and in Canada, Europe and Australia. Dr. Newbury and her son share their home in Madison with several minimally compliant and beloved pets. 

Dr. Aleisha Swartz, Outreach Veterinarian

Dr. Swartz graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. Practicing first in a small animal hospital before following her passion into shelter medicine. She has worked with large, nonprofit and municipal shelters, spay-neuter programs and smaller rescue groups. She has implemented shelter medical and surgical protocols, conducted staff trainings, and participated in animal cruelty investigations.

A 2014-2015 HSUS UW Shelter Medicine fellow, Dr. Swartz is excited to be back working with the UW team.  In 2014 she was recognized by the University of Georgia as one of the Top 40 Under 40 graduates and participated in the AVMA Future Leaders program in 2015-2016.  She is currently the President of the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association and a member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

Dr. Swartz's goal is to improve the level of care for animals in shelters as well as animals living in the community and has a special interest in encouraging shelter staff to become effective and engaging leaders who make a positive impact.  She currently shares her home with her husband, 2 dogs, 2 cats, several fish, and a variety of foster animals.

Dr. Erica Schumacher, Outreach Veterinarian

Dr. Erica Schumacher fell in love with shelter medicine in 2003 when she joined the medical team at Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) in Madison, Wisconsin as a certified veterinary technician. Following her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and worked with Dr. Sandra Newbury to create the school’s first shelter medicine elective in 2004. Upon graduation in 2008, Dr. Schumacher took a short break from shelter medicine after being accepted for a competitive Wildlife and Conservation Medicine internship at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon completing her wildlife internship, Dr. Schumacher sought to find a place where she could pursue both of her veterinary passions- shelter medicine and wildlife. After traveling and working in Arizona, Alaska and Africa, she returned to her roots at DCHS as the Chief Shelter Veterinarian where she oversaw the medical team as well as the shelter’s wildlife center for seven years. She particularly enjoyed supervising the clinical training for the UW Shelter Medicine Program interns, residents, and veterinary students. In 2018, Dr. Schumacher joined the UW Shelter Medicine Program as an Outreach Veterinarian. She enjoys using her clinical background in shelter medicine as well as her love of teaching to help other shelters reach their lifesaving potential. When not at work Dr. Schumacher enjoys gardening, cooking, nature and spending time with her husband, two children, and three-legged cat Moo Moo.

Stephanie Koester, CVT, Assistant Director

Stephanie joined the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program team in May 2015 as the program manager after having worked in the field for 5 years. She was drawn into the shelter world with a part-time job at Dane County Humane Society as an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating with a degree in Animal Science with a business focus, she worked in a variety of positions at Dane County Humane Society while achieving her veterinary technician license and eventually taking the position of Medical Clinic Supervisor. During her time working at the shelter she took special interest in high quality high volume spay/neuter operations, increasing efficiencies in daily procedures and developing a valuable medical volunteer program. She is pictured here with her foster failure, Bruno, a sweet and sensitive pit bull mix. The two of them often host a flow of foster cats and kittens at their house. Her hobbies include skiing, paddle boarding, running, volleyball, and trying all sorts of new hobbies.

Dr. Uri Donnett, Maddie’s Clinical Instructor at Dane County Humane Society

Dr. Donnett graduated from Iowa State University in 2014 with both his DVM and Masters of Science in Veterinary Preventive Medicine. His master’s thesis was on Feline Upper Respiratory disease in Midwestern shelter cats. From 2014-2015 he completed an internship in Small Animal and Shelter Medicine at Mississippi State University. He completed a residency in Shelter Medicine from 2015-2018 at Mississippi State University as well. In 2018 he also joined the board of directors of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. His professional interests include teaching veterinary students shelter medicine and surgical skills, transport programs with an emphasis on outcomes for both source and destination shelters, shelter data analysis and epidemiology, and high-quality low-cost medical care for rural and resource-scarce shelters and communities.

Gina Thompson, Research Specialist

Gina joined the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program in December 2016 as the Research Specialist after working at Dane County Humane Society sparked her passion in the shelter field. She graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Zoology and has an interest in improving the lives of animals in any way possible. She shares a small home with her boyfriend and 2 rambunctious cats. She is pictured here with the crazier of the two named Louie. Her hobbies include crocheting, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Kristin Speth, Program Assistant

Kristin joined the UW Shelter Medicine Program in September 2017 as Assistant to the Program. She previously worked with the University of Wisconsin-Madison German Department, where she taught German language courses and researched varieties of English in southwestern Wisconsin and heritage Norwegian dialects in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has also worked with the University of Wisconsin Press as editorial intern and has taught English in Poland and English and German in Taiwan. Kristin can often be found wandering the Lakeshore Nature Preserve areas along Lake Mendota, probably staring at birds. Her other interests include history, books, old music, and puzzles.

Dr. Brenda Dines, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Resident

Dr. Brenda Dines grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana for her Bachelor's in Animal Science and also for her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, graduating from veterinary school in 2015. After graduation Dr. Dines pursued a career as a shelter veterinarian in Northwest Indiana. It was here that she first got to know the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program, who helped her work through a flu outbreak. She started her residency in August 2016 and her interests include infectious disease management, community outreach, behavior in shelter settings and capacity/animal flow through shelters. When not working she spends her time with her boyfriend, family and friends, as well as her herd of adopted animals. 

Dr. Alexandre Ellis, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Resident 

Dr. Ellis grew up in Montreal, Canada, where he completed his DVM at the University of Montreal in Saint-Hyacinthe in 2016. After graduating, he took a small animal rotating internship in private practice for one year before moving to Wisconsin and joining the team in July 2017. His professional interests include behavior in a shelter setting, community cat management and especially teaching. In his free time, he is an avid hockey and football fan. He is lucky to share his apartment with his cats who have followed him everywhere throughout the years.


Dr. Elizabeth Roberts, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Resident

Elizabeth grew up in a few places as an army brat, ending up in California, where she completed her DVM at the University of California, Davis. Following her DVM, she completed an MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She worked in a variety of animal shelters in California and as a public health veterinarian at the county and state level, including a fellowship with the California Epidemiologic Investigation Service. Most recently she was the Director of Shelter Medicine at the San Francisco SPCA, where she concurrently participated in the UW/UCD Shelter Medicine Fellowship. She joined the UW team in July 2019 and her interests include infectious disease management, shelter leadership and community outreach. She shares her home with her family including their sweet cat Sumi.

Dr. Christina Barrett, 2019/2020 Maddie's Shelter Medicine Intern

Dr. Barrett grew up just outside of Baltimore, MD. She received her BS in Biology from Towson University in 2011. She then worked as a vet tech at the Baltimore Humane Society for 3 years. She attended veterinary school at Western University of Health Sciences in CA; where she continued to work towards her passion by participating in local shelter events and leading the foster program. She lives with two rambunctious cats, one very happy senior dog and a newly adopted bearded dragon. In her free time, she enjoys a good book, hiking, paddle boarding and live music. She is very excited to begin her next journey with the Shelter Medicine internship at UW-Madison and the Dane County Humane Society.


Dr. Emily Pellatt, 2019/2020 Maddie's Shelter Medicine Intern

Emily grew up in Edmonton and worked as a paramedic in rural Alberta before realizing that animals were much better patients than people. She attended veterinary school at the University of Calgary and is passionate about shelter medicine and finding innovative ways to improve animal wellness on a population level. In her spare time Emily enjoys working with her very stubborn coonhound Rico on dogsports including nosework, skijoring, and trick training.



Travis Neils, Student Hourly

Travis grew up near Oconomowoc, WI, and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Biology from Carroll University with an emphasis in Pre-Veterinary Studies. He grew up in a household with pets ranging from cats and dogs to parrots and tortoises. Travis worked at the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha, WI, and was involved in the behavior and adoption departments throughout his undergraduate studies. Here he discovered a passion for shelter medicine that drove him to obtaining a DVM. Currently, he is a second-year DVM student at UW-Madison who is involved in coordinating Madison Cat Project Spay Days and the school's SAVMA chapter. In his free time, Travis enjoys playing music, video games, and spending time with friends and family.