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AVMA, AAVMC kick off diversity initiative

Stakeholders from across the veterinary profession will set goals for improving diversity, equity and inclusion.

AVMA, AAVMC kick off diversity initiative

A Zoetis Inc. executive and a veterinary college dean will lead a new group that aims to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the veterinary profession.

The initiative was organized by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

The newly formed group, the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, is headed by Christine Jenkins, DVM, DACVIM, a Zoetis vice president and chief medical officer, and Ruby L. Perry, DVM, MS, DACVR, dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Despite years of efforts, the veterinary profession does not fully reflect the diversity of the society we have all taken an oath to serve,” the AVMA and AAVMC reported in a joint statement. “Ensuring a diverse, equitable and inclusive profession is essential to meeting the needs of an evolving and changing world.”

The commission is expected to set short-, medium- and long-term goals with defined timeframes. The initial goals, the organizers stated, include:

  • Promoting the value of diversity, equity and inclusion 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 diversity, equity and inclusion.

Still to be selected are other members of the commission along with an advisory committee. A number of veterinary organizations, ranging from the American Animal Hospital Association to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, will be represented.

“In collaboration with other committed stakeholders, I am confident we will develop an effective, relevant strategy that helps us transform veterinary medicine into a more diverse, inclusive profession to meet the evolving needs of the clients and customers we serve and the animals in their care,” Dr. Jenkins said.

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