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The organization's founder and new veterinarian Dr. Tierra Price shares why and how she started BlackDVM Network and her mission to help provide vast resources to black veterinary students and professionals.
When Tierra Price, DVM, a 2020 graduate of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, first started veterinary school, she remembers feeling "alone and distant" from other black veterinary students, as she was one of only five black students in a class of 127.
"I decided to create an Instagram page to bring [black veterinary students] together," Dr. Price told dvm360 in a recent interview.
In 2018, she officially launched the BlackDVM Network Instagram page. At first, she admits, she was a little hesitant to use the name "BlackDVM Network," largely out of fear that it could come off as offensive to some. In fact, she changed the name several times but ultimately changed it back to BlackDVM Network.
"I wasn't trying to diversify veterinary medicine; I was looking for black veterinary students. So BlackDVM Network really spoke to me because it identified the community I was trying to reach," she says.
She then began to reach out to black students from veterinary schools across the country and started to feature them on the Instagram page. Soon, black veterinarians, technicians and assistants, as well as pre-veterinary students, also started to follow the page .
As she began to gain more followers, Dr. Price started receiving messages asking about her veterinary school experience and about finding black veterinarians to shadow or work for in their area because of discrimination faced in veterinary school or in the workplace.
"That's when I realized that there was a large gap in resources for veterinary students, veterinarians, really just anyone black in the profession."
To help make those connections, Dr. Price created a website to house a directory of black veterinary students and professionals.
Two years and several thousand Instagram followers later, Dr. Price's platform has gained serious traction from veterinary professionals and students around the world.
Now the organization regularly features Instagram Live video interviews about topics like how to get into veterinary school, overcoming your obstacles, finding your passion and more.
"I see us having memberships and resources and just really providing opportunities to pre-veterinary students, veterinary students and even to veterinarians that they otherwise wouldn't have had," she says.
In the video below, Dr. Price shares some of her story and her hopes for the BlackDVM Network.