The AVMA believes that increasing diversity in the veterinary profession will increase cultural competence among veterinarians and improve health outcomes for the communities they serve. For this reason, the Association is supporting an amendment to the Closing the Health Care Gap Act of 2004, S. 2091, which would retain the eligibility of veterinary schools and colleges for Health Careers Opportunity Program grants.
The Health Careers Opportunity Program strives to build diversity in the health professions by providing students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to develop the necessary skills to successfully compete for admission and to graduate from schools of the health professions. Grants can be used by eligible institutions to identify and recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and provide counseling and mentoring for those students to successfully complete their education.
Veterinary colleges are currently among the 10 types of health profession schools that are eligible for HCOP grants, but if the Closing the Health Care Gap Act is passed as is, they would be dropped from the list. The AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges support amending the bill.