Connecting over inclusion

New online diversity resources available
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IllustrationThe phrases “cultural competency” and “inclusive environment” have become ubiquitous these days, but when it comes to putting these concepts into action, practitioners can be at a loss.

New online resources from the AVMA and other sources aim to help veterinarians make these ideas more concrete in their daily lives.

The online community Access and Opportunity in Veterinary Medicine was launched Sept. 30 on LinkedIn, a career-oriented networking website.

Modeled after the AVMA Early Career Online Community on Facebook, this is a closed LinkedIn group for AVMA and Student AVMA members interested in expanding access to, and opportunity in, the veterinary profession in general—and to AVMA leadership specifically.

Dr. Beth Sabin, AVMA associate director for international and diversity initiatives, anticipates that it will bring together veterinarians and veterinary students interested in discussing ideas and, potentially, developing related projects. She will moderate the group.

Topics may include reaching out to individuals underrepresented in veterinary medicine, enrolling in leadership courses, and finding Spanish language classes for large animal practitioners.

Inclusivity and diversity in the workplace can better equip practitioners to become more culturally competent, expand their client base, and enhance their staff’s job satisfaction, Dr. Sabin said.

Veterinarian with client and feline patientTo this end, the Association also introduced its own Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine website area Oct. 15, dedicated to providing information about efforts to increase diversity in the profession. “The goal is to provide curated content to veterinarians on how to meet the needs of changing demographics in the workplace environment and among their client base,” Dr. Sabin said. “This is not about telling people how ‘diverse’ they should be. Instead, these new web pages provide a clearinghouse of resources out there.”

Links to relevant books and news articles, continuing education opportunities, U.S. Census Bureau information, materials produced by the AVMA Future Leaders Class of 2012-2013, and other online resources will be available.

And finally, a joint initiative led by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine with input from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and AVMA was launched this fall, the Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine.

The center plans to host an online certificate program for faculty, staff, and students at veterinary colleges beginning in fall 2014. This program will later be expanded to meet the needs of all veterinary professionals. For more, click here.

Visit the AVMA Web page on Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine at

For more information about the LinkedIn group, click here.