New commission to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion

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diversity and inclusion

AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) are joining forces to drive change to make the veterinary profession more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

The two organizations today announced formation of a commission that will lead a coordinated and comprehensive effort to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the profession by establishing actionable goals with defined timeframes.

Initial goals for the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession will include:

  • Promoting the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion 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 diversity, equity, and inclusion

The commission’s co-chairs will be Dr. Christine Jenkins, chief medical officer and vice president, veterinary medical services and outcomes research, U.S. operations, at Zoetis Inc.; and Dr. Ruby L. Perry, secretary of AAVMC and dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

There are several additional organizational members of the commission, and each of these will designate a representative:

  • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
  • National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA)
  • Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA)
  • Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA)
  • Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE)

AVMA and AAVMC are working with other veterinary organizations and affinity groups, including the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association, as well as industry groups and additional stakeholders to identify six more commission members with expertise or interest in DEI. A larger advisory group will support the mission of the commission, including providing critical feedback and idea generation.

The commission’s initial meeting will be scheduled as soon as the full membership is determined. Because of the pandemic, the commission is expected to meet virtually, at least for the near future.

AVMA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

One of the AVMA’s goal’s is to mirror the growing diversity of the communities veterinarians serve and to promote an understanding of their varied needs. To this end, we are committed to actively promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in our membership, leadership, and organization, and educating the veterinary profession about the value of diversity and inclusion.

In addition to AVMA’s involvement in this new DEI commission, the AVMA will continue providing resources and tools that empower veterinary professionals to advance their education on these issues. From podcasts and CE webinars, to veterinary certificate programs and book lists, the AVMA has numerous resources available to equip veterinary team members with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all clients and create welcoming environments for all co-workers.

Visit to learn about AVMA’s stance on diversity and inclusion, why diversity is good for business, and how veterinary professionals can become better allies in support of equitable treatment for all.


Dianna Shattuck
November 20, 2020 Permalink

Diversity, equity, inclusion

I applaud these efforts and am interested in how to become more involved in this work.

I appreciate the recommended reading list. I have read several of them and will add others to my list. The best book I have read on the topic is White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Every white person in America should read this one, I recommend adding it to your list.

Thank you! Dianna


I can appreciate this because this is the number one reason I had to leave the veterinary field. If you are fighting a condition sometimes being on your feet all day makes it very hard to work, even in the best shoes.
I was once an RVT and returned to achieve my BS in Pre-veterinary medicine. I guess you could say life interrupted me and once I got my Bachelors I didn't think about going back to vet school. Things have changed, I have a handicap, and it was very hard to be on my feet all day, I came back as an essential worker during COVID, but with the heat of the summer and the stress and all the PPE, I just couldn't do it like I used to. I tried getting a light lab coat to use as PPE but was told that it was a doctors coat (DVM nor MD were not printed on it anywhere) and I was not able to wear it. Yet we were going out in surgical gowns, does that make me a surgeon? No.

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