Veterinary Colleges Implement New Programs to Increase Diversity

Veterinary colleges around the country are launching various programs aimed at fostering diversity among students and in the profession.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: July 10, 2018
Diversity is still an area in veterinary medicine that needs to be improved upon. Of the 92,000 veterinarians accounted for in the book Navigating Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine, only 10% were people of color, and just 13% of students at veterinary schools were from underrepresented groups.

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Fortunately, veterinary universities are beginning to implement creative programs to increase diversity in the field.
 

Tuskegee and Auburn Universities

To foster diversity, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) will fund a Tuskegee veterinary graduate to train as a resident in a clinical area of need at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). That graduate will then return to Tuskegee as a board-certified specialist and faculty member.

"Auburn CVM enjoys a strong collaborative relationship with the TUCVM in many areas, including joint engagement in student activities, sharing of faculty expertise and collegial interactions between our teaching hospitals,” Auburn CVM Dean Calvin M. Johnson, DVM, PhD, DACVP, said.

According to Dr. Johnson, the TUCVM graduate will study as a resident in radiology at Auburn’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

"Although veterinary medicine is still one of the most ethnically, racially, and culturally homogenous professions in the country,” TUCVM Dean Ruby L. Perry, DVM, said, “this initiative is another way to make a difference and help achieve the goal of addressing diversity and emphasize that diversity matters in the veterinary profession.”
 

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)

The AAVMC has chosen 3 veterinary colleges to participate in their new pilot program, which is focused on developing holistic admissions programs for veterinary colleges.

The University of Florida CVM, the University of Missouri CVM and the North Carolina State University CVM will spend the next 12 to 18 months creating programs that foster greater diversity and inclusion among new students.

“We will be supporting these colleges as they pursue admissions reviews that are flexible, consider the applicants' capabilities, provide balanced consideration to academic performance, life experience, and attributes, and assess how the applicants will contribute to the learning environment and the veterinary profession,” Lisa Greenhill, MPA, EdD, senior executive director for institutional research and diversity at the AAVMC and leader of the pilot program, said.

Each school was chosen on 3 key components:
  1. A clear commitment to pursue more holistic admissions practices and create greater diversity and inclusion in their college climate.
  2. A demonstrated willingness to examine their admissions program to find areas where applicants can be looked at more holistically.
  3. A sincere desire to pursue change.

“Our graduates need to deliver veterinary care and veterinary science throughout the country and the world,” North Carolina State University CVM Dean Paul Lunn, BVSc, MS, PhD, MRCVS, DACVIM, said, “and our chances of doing that are far greater if we can build diversity of our profession.”

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