May 01, 2013


 Iverson Bell Symposium highlights

Posted April 17, 2013 

This year’s Iverson Bell Symposium featured the launch of a diversity-themed book for the profession, “Navigating Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine,” edited by Lisa M. Greenhill; Kauline Cipriani Davis, PhD; Patricia M. Lowrie; and Dr. Sandra F. Amass.

In organizing the book, the editors considered cartography—the study of maps—as a model to describe diversity efforts and to call for systems change in veterinary medicine.

“In pursuing diversity and developing diversity initiatives, many people are in search of an easy road map that provides a very linear approach to achieving outcomes. Diversity is more complicated than simply following a road map from origination point A to destination point B. ‘Navigating Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine’ sets out to describe the history of the diversity journey in this profession, while also pointing out that there are lots of pathways to success in increasing diversity and inclusiveness in our schools, colleges, and the veterinary medical profession at large,” Greenhill said.

“There are fits, stops, starts, U-turns, surges, and detours, but all of these efforts and more are necessary to affect the type of systems change that will result in a profession positioned to meet the needs of the nation and world. Pursuing diversity is not a linear process, but a multifaceted one.”

The book touches on topics from the history of diversity in veterinary medicine to developing a pipeline for a diverse workforce to barriers to, and opportunities for, change.

Contributors to the book include Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO; Dr. Willie M. Reed, dean of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Billy E. Hooper, former executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

The book is available directly from Purdue University Press and from other major online book stores such as Amazon; it retails for $29. 

The AAVMC named its new minority scholarship fund in honor of Patricia M. Lowrie, director of the Women’s Resource Center and assistant to the dean at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and a longtime champion of diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. The Patricia Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship is awarded to a veterinary student who has made important contributions to enhancing diversity and inclusion at his or her institution. The inaugural recipient was Samantha McGill, who is a third-year veterinary student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has served in leadership positions in the Gay Straight Veterinary Alliance, Broad Spectrum, and her school’s student chapter of the AVMA as well as designed a curriculum for a veterinary mentoring program for underrepresented-minority high school seniors.
Samantha McGill (right), winner of the Patricia Lowrie Diversity Leadership Scholarship, with Patricia Lowrie, assistant to the dean at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine
The AVMA and AAVMC announced they intend to partner with Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine to launch a National Center of Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine. They have applied for a Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Higher Education Challenge Grant and anticipate a response in coming months.

If the project gets the green light, the entities plan to develop Web-based educational and assessment resources; a certificate program to help veterinary faculty and students gain the communications, leadership, teaching, learning, and cultural competence skills needed to solve the problems of an increasingly diverse society; an assessment rubric to benchmark progress toward providing diverse and inclusive educational environments; and an assessment program through which participating veterinary colleges can earn “inclusive site” status.