Is the Veterinary Profession Diverse?

July 26, 2018

We have a diverse profession in one way, we don't have a diverse profession in terms of ethnicity and race.

"It's been stated, and I think the New York Times had an article and they declared that the veterinary profession was the whitest profession in the country," says Joseph Taboada, DVM, DACVIM, professor and associate dean at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, "and there's definitely truth to that. We have a diverse profession in one way, we don't have a diverse profession in terms of ethnicity and races, and it's improving.

If you look at the statistics that the AAVMC has put out, the number of underserved minority students is increasing and with that the number of underserved minority veterinarians is increasing. But it's still much lower—much, much lower—than the population at large, and we're a profession that serves the population at large. We can't serve it to the best that we can unless we look more like it.

So, it's an area that we have to make inroads in, and we have to do through the development of the pipeline so that our pools that we're drawing our students from looks more like society as a whole. And we also have to figure out how to make our cultures more inclusive so that when we do get especially these people that are coming now where they truly are much more of a minority within the school than they are within society as a whole, that they feel that that's a very welcoming environment to them. So, those are the things that we really have to work on—making our cultures and our environments more welcoming and more inclusive, while at the same time increasing the pipeline so that the pools of students that we're drawing our students from just looks like society and therefore will reflect society more than it does today."