New commission aims to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion

January 8, 2021
dvm360 Staff

The Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession will lead comprehensive DEI efforts to create sustainable long-term change in veterinary medicine.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) have announced the official launch of the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, a committee formed to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in veterinary medicine.

The commission “brings together veterinary organizations committed to serving as champions for social justice and DEI,” said AVMA President Douglas Kratt, DVM, and AAVMC President Mark D. Markel, DVM, PhD, in a joint statement.

Despite years of efforts to tackle the diversity crisis in veterinary medicine, the profession has yet to mirror the community it serves. That’s why leaders in the field are banding together to create sustainable, long-term change.

“I commend the leadership of our professional organizations at the AVMA and AAVMC for noting that there is a need and now is the time to act to make our profession more diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” said commission co-chair Ruby L. Perry, DVM, secretary of the AAVMC and dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, in the statement. "Amongst the many changes 2020 has brought, the cries for social justice and diversity partnered with equity and inclusion have been the themes echoed both nationally and globally.”

The new commission will establish actionable outcomes for short-, medium- and long-term goals with defined timeframes. Their initial goals are as follows:

  1. Boost DEI throughout the profession.
  2. Increase diversity among veterinarians, veterinary school applicants and enrollees, interns, residents, and board-certified specialists.
  3. Uplift and assist veterinary medical associations and animal health with measuring and improving DEI.

Besides AVMA and AAVMC, organizational commission members include the American Animal Hospital Association, Veterinary Medical Association Executives, National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, Veterinary Hospital Managers Association, and Student AVMA. One member from each of these groups will serve as a representative. The commission is seeking 6 additional members.

The commission’s initial meeting will be scheduled once full membership is determined. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission will meet virtually for the time being.