AAVMC takes on diversity, hires director

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Blacks make up less than 1 percent of students studying veterinary medicine

WASHINGTON—Following the release of a study classifying veterinary medicine as "the most racially segregated field in graduate education," the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) seeks to increase minority enrollment among the nation’s 28 U.S. veterinary colleges and has hired an executive to organize the task.

In March, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education noted blacks make up less than 1 percent of students studying veterinary medicine and explored causes for the segregation. Since then, AAVMC has named Lisa Greenhill associate executive director for diversity, charged with coordinating efforts of the association's member institutions at the national level to develop strategies to increase the number of under-represented minorities in veterinary medicine.

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Greenhill is former legislative manager and diversity task force member with the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. She also previously worked for AAVMC as its government relations policy specialist and served as staff liaison to the Multicultural Affairs Committee.

"I have spent several years working on diversity issues in the health professions," Greenhill says. "I'm so happy to have the opportunity to focus my work in this area with a group that I really enjoy."

AAVMC recognizes the need to increase diversity in veterinary medicine, officials say. Of the 10,584 students enrolled at U.S. and Canadian veterinary medical colleges, just 949 are minorities, according to AAVMC's 2003-2004 Comparative Data Report. Of that figure, 193 are black.

AAVMC currently addresses this mission through its Multicultural Affairs Committee. Since 1989, the committee has organized the Iverson Bell Symposium, a biennial workshop to increase diversity at its member institutions.

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