New Commission Will Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Veterinary Field


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Veterinary leaders from around the country will serve as founding members of a new Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession. The commission will “drive change and accountability throughout the field,” according to the AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), which are spearheading the commission.

“These distinguished and dedicated leaders represent the full spectrum of our profession, from academia to clinical practice to the corporate world,” said commission co-chairs Christine Jenkins and Ruby Perry. “Together, we will lead a coordinated effort to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in veterinary medicine, so that our essential profession reflects the diversity of the society we serve and the evolving needs of our clients.”

Jenkins is the U.S. chief medical officer and vice president of veterinary medical services and outcomes research for U.S. operations at Zoetis. Perry is the secretary of the AAVMC and dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

In addition to the full commission membership, the AVMA and AAVMC also announced an advisory group comprising veterinarians and other experts committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, who will provide advice and support to the commission on specific topics and serve on working groups.

The Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession’s members include individuals affiliated with a variety of key stakeholders in the profession, including leading associations, veterinary students, veterinary technicians, hospital managers, association executives, and affinity organizations with a DEI focus, as well as academic institutions and leading corporations in the animal health industry. In announcing the formation of the commission and the two co-chairs, the AVMA and AAVMC said the commission will establish actionable outcomes for short-, medium- and long-term goals with defined timeframes. Initial goals for the commission will include:

  • Promoting the value of DEI throughout the veterinary profession
  • Increasing diversity among veterinarians, veterinary school applicants and enrollees, interns, residents, and board-certified specialists
  • Encouraging and assisting veterinary medical associations and animal health companies to measure and improve DEI

“To bring about real and lasting change, we need to reach students in high school and even earlier to encourage them to consider pursuing a career in veterinary medicine,” Drs. Jenkins and Perry noted. “This means that careers in veterinary medicine must be accessible and attainable.”

More information on the goals of the new commission is available from the AVMA.

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