Dr. Michelle Lem graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in 2001, and founded Community Veterinary Outreach in 2003, a registered charity that improves the health of people and their pets experiencing homelessness and housing vulnerability through a “One Health” model of care. By offering human health services and health education alongside preventative veterinary care, Community Veterinary Outreach was the first of its kind to provide innovative access to both veterinary and human health care for at-risk populations. Community Veterinary Outreach has programs in 5 communities in Ontario, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Kelowna, Canada, and Kansas City, USA.
Michelle has practiced companion animal medicine in New Zealand and Ottawa. From 2003 to 2009, Michelle provided behavioural consultations for companion animals on a referral basis; consulted for police and military canine units, from 2009 till 2011; and taught in the Veterinary Assistant and Technician programs at Algonquin College from 2004 till 2014.
Michelle received her MSc in 2012, studying the effects of pet ownership on street-involved youth. Her work and research have been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Anthrozoös, the Canadian Veterinary Journal, Canadian Journal of Public Health, Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, Animals, and Preventive Veterinary Medicine.
In 2018 Michelle received her Master of Social Work from Carleton University, focusing on the link between human and animal violence, pet ownership among marginalized populations, wellbeing in the veterinary profession, and One Health approaches to intervention and practice. Michelle and her team developed the Animal Care Guidelines for Emergency Co-Sheltering and the Risk Assessment for Companion Animals in Domestic Violence.