Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual convention, taking place in July, will highlight diversity, inclusion and personal well-being through a number of scheduled events.
“We believe diversity fosters a climate conducive to success for all members of the veterinary medical community and affirms the value of human diversity for the enrichment of our communities,” said the AVMA’s CEO, Janet Donlin, DVM.
Among the events scheduled in Denver:
Saturday, July 14
- “Revealing Hidden Biases: How It Can Impact Our Ability to Provide Successful Veterinary Care” (2 p.m.): A panel discussion presented by the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative and the Pride Veterinary Medical Community, formerly the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association.
- “Be Your Authentic Self” (4 p.m.): A group discussion aimed at teaching lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer veterinary professionals to deal with stigma, barriers and personal empowerment in practice, the AVMA reported.
- Pride Veterinary Medical Community board meeting and networking reception (5 to 7 p.m.).
- “Live Life, Love All” celebration at the Hard Rock Café, featuring live music by the Barkin’ Cats and a DJ (7 to 11 p.m.).
Sunday, July 15
- “Creating Inclusive Classrooms and Clinic Settings for Transgender and Gender Expressive Students, Colleagues and Clients” (10 a.m.): A presentation designed to “raise awareness about gender identity and expression as a means of increasing cultural competency in veterinary medicine and provides actionable tips that can be employed in both classroom settings and within veterinary clinics to create inclusive safe spaces for transgender and gender expressive people,” according to the AVMA.
Monday, July 16
- “Health and Well-Being Among LGBTQ Veterinary Professionals: What It Is and Why It Is Different” (10 a.m.): A presentation of the primary results of the 2016 LGBTQ Veterinary Wellness Survey and a discussion of “future directions for wellness programming among LGBTQ+ veterinary professionals and students,” the AVMA noted.
Melinda Merck, DVM, president of the Pride Veterinary Medical Community and a former president of the North American Veterinary Community, said the effort to recognize LGBTQ veterinarians, students and colleagues is an important step in improving their well-being.
“Being LGBTQ can create additional stressors, such as the inability to be authentic and to feel safe,” Dr. Merck said. “If we can’t be our authentic selves, or feel safe in that authenticity, it creates barriers that hinder our relationships with co-workers and clients, and can ultimately have a negative impact on our animal patients.”