Dr. Mia Cary (she, her, hers) specializes in leadership, teamwork and inclusivity with the purpose of activating others to thrive. Her professional experience includes leadership and education roles at the American Veterinary Medical Association, the North American Veterinary Community, Boehringer Ingelheim and Novartis Animal Health. She serves as CEO and change agent for Cary Consulting and as CEO for the Pride Veterinary Medical Community.Read Articles Written by Mia Cary
The debut of Activating Allyship in the June/July issue told how allyship, in its most basic sense, is when someone from an overrepresented or non-marginalized group uses privilege to advocate for an underrepresented or marginalized group or individual. My objective in this issue is to increase awareness of and encourage allyship with veterinary groups that primarily focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). These groups are often called affinity organizations because they were formed around a shared interest or common goal. Here’s an overview:
American Association of Veterinarians of Indian Origin
AAVIO (aavio.org) provides a forum for medical, educational, cultural and social interaction among its members, with a mission of “promoting professional solidarity in the pursuit of excellence in pet care, teaching and research.”
Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals
The mission of AAVMP (aavmp.org) is to inspire, empower and support Asian veterinary professionals internationally. According to affiliated organization liaison Ashlea Tenorio, the organization’s leadership team “strives to create a community for Asian veterinary professionals and to establish a veterinary field that reflects the diverse communities we serve.” Co-founder and President Dr. Hira Basit noted that a top priority of AAVMP is “expanding membership and providing what our members need to thrive.” Dr. Basit points to the support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders received after an uptick in hate crimes as an example of allyship.
Founded by Dr. Tierra Price, THE BlackDVM Network (blackdvmnetwork.com) is a safe space for Black veterinarians, technicians and assistants to connect, learn and empower one another.
Black Veterinary Association of Canada
Established in 2020, BVAC (bvac.ca) aims to be the unified voice of Canada’s Black veterinary community.
Latinx Veterinary Medical Association
LVMA (latinxvma.org) was founded in February 2020 by veterinary students Yvette Huizar and Juan S. Orjuela with a mission to empower Latinx/Hispanic professionals in veterinary medicine and support the next generation of Latinx/Hispanic veterinarians. Its vision is to “help create a veterinary community that is representative of society in order to make veterinary care more accessible to the Latinx community.”
Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association
The vision of MCVMA (mcvma.org) is to “transform the veterinary profession into one which is equitable and inclusive, where people of underrepresented races and ethnicities are valued and supported in their careers, resulting in all communities receiving the benefits of veterinary medicine.” The organization’s annual RISE (Resource, Include, Support and Elevate) Conference will occur virtually Nov. 12 and 13 and feature all BIPOC speakers. Some ways to ally with MCVMA include becoming a member, volunteering on a committee, applying for a chair position and connecting on social media, according to the group’s president, Dr. Cherese Sullivan.
National Association of Black Veterinarians
The mission of NABV (nabvonline.org) is to “advocate, provide support and cultivate an inclusive community for Blacks in veterinary medicine at every level of the profession through the organization, members and leadership.”
Native American Veterinary Association
NAVA (bit.ly/3xzLGp4) was founded in 2017 and works “to build a network of support for Native American and indigenous veterinary professionals and to encourage indigenous students to follow the path to this wonderful profession.” The organization’s current priorities are further development with a newly formed advisory council and obtaining nonprofit status.
Pride Veterinary Medical Community
PrideVMC (pridevmc.org) seeks “to create a better world for the LGBTQ+ veterinary community” and envisions an empowered community that embraces well-being. Pride Student Veterinary Medical Community is the student-led arm of PrideVMC, with chapters at 23 veterinary schools. President Dr. Abby McElroy encourages all members of the veterinary profession to ally with PrideVMC by reading and signing the Gender Identity Bill of Rights and engaging with PrideVMC on social media.
Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment
VOICE (vetvoicenational.org) is a student-run organization “that seeks to increase awareness, respect and sensitivity to differences among all individuals and communities in the field of veterinary medicine.”
Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative
WVLDI (wvldi.org) strives to support women and allies seeking leadership positions, provide professional development and educational content, develop student leaders, and engage in social media discussion. According to immediate past president Dr. Kimberly Ann Therrien, individuals can ally with WVLDI by following the organization on social media, engaging with its website, joining WVLDI webinars and in-person CE sessions, and participating in difficult discussions.
Now that you learned more about affinity groups in the veterinary profession, what’s your next step? Self-education is a critical part of allyship, and most of the highlighted affinity groups offer free webinars and educational events. Many also grant membership to allies. So, invite a friend to join you on this important journey because we are better together.
Here are five ways to engage with affinity groups:
- Attend a webinar.
- Become a member.
- Peruse their websites.
- Follow them on social media.
- Repost their upcoming events.
COMING IN SEPTEMBER
In the spirit of allyship and amplification, did you know that National Hispanic American Heritage Month is celebrated each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15? Participants can learn about and celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of U.S. citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.