AVMA and AAVMC Announce New Commission to Address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Veterinary Profession

For more information:

Jeffrey S. Douglas
Chief Communications Officer
American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
Phone: 540-998-1800

Mark Rosati
American Veterinary Medical Association
Phone: 847-313-9597 Cell: 847-313-9597

Commission will promote value of DEI in veterinary practices, organizations and colleges

Washington, D.C., December 22, 2020—Veterinary leaders from around the country will serve as founding members of the new Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive (DEI) Veterinary Profession to drive change and accountability throughout the field, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) announced today.

“These distinguished and dedicated leaders represent the full spectrum of our profession, from academia to clinical practice to the corporate world,” said Commission co-chairs Dr. Christine Jenkins and Dr. Ruby Perry. “Together, we will lead a coordinated effort to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in veterinary medicine, so that our essential profession reflects the diversity of the society we serve and the evolving needs of our clients.” Dr. Jenkins is U.S. chief medical officer and vice president, veterinary medical services and outcomes research, U.S. operations at Zoetis Inc. Dr. Perry is secretary of the AAVMC and dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

In addition to the full commission membership, the AVMA and AAVMC also announced an advisory group comprised of veterinarians and other experts committed to DEI who will provide advice and support to the commission on specific topics and serve on working groups.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has stepped forward and volunteered to serve on the commission and in the advisory group to promote DEI throughout the veterinary community,” said Dr. Douglas Kratt, AVMA president, and Dr. Mark D. Markel, president of the AAVMC. “Our collective goal is to ensure an equitable, inviting and supportive pathway toward a career in our great profession for everyone and a positive and welcoming environment for all veterinarians, staff and clients.”

The Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession’s members include individuals affiliated with a variety of key stakeholders in the profession, including leading associations, veterinary students, veterinary technicians, hospital managers, association executives and affinity organizations with a DEI focus, as well as academic institutions and leading corporations in the animal health industry. In announcing the formation of the commission and the two co-chairs last month, the AVMA and AAVMC said the commission will establish actionable outcomes for short-, medium- and long-term goals with defined timeframes. Initial goals for the commission will include:

  • Promoting the value of DEI throughout the veterinary profession
  • Increasing diversity among veterinarians, veterinary school applicants and enrollees, interns, residents and board-certified specialists
  • Encouraging and assisting veterinary medical associations and animal health companies to measure and improve DEI

“To bring about real and lasting change, we need to reach students in high school and even earlier to encourage them to consider pursuing a career in veterinary medicine,” Drs. Jenkins and Perry noted. “This means that careers in veterinary medicine must be accessible and attainable.”

The full list of the 16 members of the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession can be found at https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/diversity-and-inclusion-veterinary-medicine/commission-diverse-equitable-and-inclusive-veterinary-profession

About the AVMA

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 95,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.

About the AAVMC

The member institutions of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world. Founded in 1966, the AAVMC represents more than 40,000 faculty, staff and students across the global academic veterinary medical community. Our member institutions include veterinary medical colleges and schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand as well as departments of veterinary science and departments of comparative medicine in the U.S.

— 30 —