AVMA COE to examine DEI language in accreditation standards

Published on December 29, 2020
COE event sites

Public comment sought through January 22, 2021

The AVMA Council on Education (COE) has formed a new working group on diversity and inclusion.  The group is charged with identifying areas for improvement to the diversity and inclusion language within the COE Standards of Accreditation, benchmarking the standards to other health professional programs, and assessing the potential for including specific language regarding pipeline programs.  

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The working group is soliciting comments from stakeholders and the public through January 22, 2021, regarding the current language within the Standards related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Comments should be emailed to COEatavma [dot] org (subject: AVMA%20COE%20DEI%20Comments) , with the subject line “AVMA COE DEI Comments.” 

Stakeholders and the public will have a second opportunity for comment if any revisions to the standards are proposed by the COE.

In 2016, the COE appointed a working group to address the incorporation of diversity and inclusion language into the Standards of Accreditation. Changes were adopted in March 2017, following public comment. At that time, the COE elected to embed diversity, equity, and inclusion language throughout the standards rather than in a standalone standard. The council believed diversity, equity and inclusion should be an integral part of all aspects of veterinary education, and DEI language was incorporated into the following standards:

  • Standard 1, Organization
  • Standard 6, Students
  • Standard 7, Admissions
  • Standard 8, Faculty
  • Standard 9, Curriculum
  • Standard 11, Outcomes assessment
     

Comments

V.C. Devaney, DVM
January 19, 2021 Permalink

Diversity is urgently needed

The veterinary community does remotely reflect the population of this nation. The lack of variety of backgrounds and experiences is a hendrance to recruiting future diverse practitioners. Practitioners of color, practitioners of different religious or cultural backgrounds, gender-diverse and presentation-diverse practitioners... they all have strengths and unique viewpoints to bring to both client-facing practice and research to further the science of veterinary medicine. Improved practitioner diversity can also provide veterinarians better positioned to understand and respond to diverse clients with varying home situations and cultural backgrounds, providing a better, more comprehensive care for animals, and for public health.

insufficient diversity in vet med

"It was not the COE's intention to require colleges to admit specific numbers of underrepresented minorities. Rather, the mandate is designed to 'promote the recruitment and retention of a diverse academic community.'" In order to do so, there should be more resources and financial aid that are independent of academic achievement. It is well-known that individuals with a higher socioeconomic status (SES) tend to have higher academic achievements, and it is also known that higher SES people tend to be white. McMaster University, for example, offers scholarships specifically targeted towards racial minorities. I believe that it would be a step in the right direction if more academic institutions would adopt this.

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