Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
A new study warns that 75 million U.S. pets could go without medical care by 2030 because of a veterinarian shortage, yet the crisis could be alleviated if more minority students were to enter the profession.
Banfield Pet Hospital, which released study results Sept. 14, announced that the company will strive to create a more diverse workforce. The goal by 2030 is for at least 30% of Banfield’s veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants to be Black, Indigenous or people of color.
“Banfield is committed to partnering with the veterinary industry to ensure the talent pipeline grows and diversifies to meet the evolving needs of pets, people and society,” said Brian Garish, president of the 1,050-hospital Banfield Pet Hospital network.
Mars Veterinary Health, the owner of Banfield, VCA and BluePearl animal hospitals, and Mars Inc.-owned Royal Canin will donate at least $125,000 in student financial aid to the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. About 70% of Black U.S. veterinarians are Tuskegee graduates.
“We believe strongly in equality of opportunity and are honored to accept the $125,000 gift from both organizations towards helping to remove financial barriers for our students on their path to becoming veterinarians,” said the college’s dean, Ruby Perry, DVM, MS, DACVR.
Banfield also will spend $1 million over the next year, the company reported, “in equity, inclusion and diversity efforts to increase representation, offer training and support industry efforts to improve the diversity pipeline.”
A newly formed industrywide group, the Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition, will focus on equity, inclusion and diversity issues. Founding members include Banfield and its Mars sister companies, Boehringer Ingelheim, the National Association for Black Veterinarians, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association.
“We believe a culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging are essential to better understanding the customers and patients we serve,” said Randolph Legg, a senior vice president with Boehringer Ingelheim. “By joining the Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition as a founding partner, we are looking forward to help influence the necessary changes in our industry that will create more equitable opportunities for the profession.”
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