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October 01, 2020

AVMF partnerships support diversity, COVID-19 relief efforts

Foundation funding Tuskegee scholarships, disaster grants for AVMA members
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The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is teaming up with corporate partners on initiatives aimed at supporting diversity in the veterinary profession and helping veterinary professionals who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19.

Tuskegee endowment

On Aug. 21, the AVMF and Hill’s Pet Nutrition announced a $45,000 endowment from Hill’s for a scholarship program for students at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Tuskegee, a historically Black university, has educated more than 70% of the nation’s African American veterinarians.

Equine lameness exam
A scholarship program for students at Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine has been created by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation thanks to a $45,000 endowment from Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Here, Dr. Elizabeth Yorke, associate professor of equine surgery at Tuskegee's veterinary college, instructs students on how to perform a lameness examination. (Courtesy of Tuskegee University CVM)

Tuskegee’s veterinary scholarship committee will identify awardees annually, starting with the 2021-22 academic year, using criteria developed by the veterinary college and the AVMF, the charitable arm of the AVMA.

Hill's Tranforming Lives logo“We are very grateful to Hill’s for its vision and generosity, and we look forward to working with colleagues at Tuskegee University to help open doors of opportunity for students seeking careers in veterinary medicine,” Dr. John Howe, chair of the AVMF Board of Directors, said in a statement.

The veterinary college and AVMF will determine the number and dollar amount of scholarships awarded each academic year under the initial endowment. They will also seek to raise additional funds with the goal of increasing the number and dollar amount of scholarships.

“Hill’s Pet Nutrition is proud to support our only HBCU (historically Black college or university) veterinary college in our commitment to promote diversity and equality all over the world,” Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional veterinary officer for Hill’s in the U.S., said in a statement.

“We at Tuskegee focus on our students being career-ready veterinarians when they complete the curriculum and encourage their pursuits of the vast areas of career choices in the veterinary profession. The generosity of Hill’s will help our students achieve this goal,” Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean  of Tuskegee’s veterinary college, said in a statement.

COVID-19 relief

AVMF logoEarlier, on Aug. 18, the AVMF announced a partnership with VCA Animal Hospitals to develop a new COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant Program for Veterinarians and to provide additional funds for a similar program developed earlier this year for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.

VCA logoVCA Animal Hospitals and the AVMF will each donate $50,000 toward the new program for veterinarians that will be used to provide $500 grants to meet the immediate needs of AVMA members facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

To further extend assistance, VCA has committed to donate an additional $50,000 to provide grants to those who applied for but did not receive a $500 grant through the AVMF’s COVID-19 disaster relief program for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, launched this May and funded by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Zoetis, and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America.

The AVMF and VCA Animal Hospitals are offering the COVID-19 disaster relief funds as challenge grants, encouraging matching donations from the veterinary community and the public to help amplify the grants’ impact for veterinary professionals who are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Donations are being accepted.

The AVMF is now accepting applications from AVMA members for the new COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant Program for Veterinarians. Visit the AVMF website to learn more and submit an application.

While no new applications are being accepted for the existing COVID-19 disaster relief grant program for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, the AVMF and VCA Animal Hospitals hope to raise enough funds through their challenge grants to provide assistance to as many of those who have already applied as possible.

“The pandemic has created historic challenges for our veterinary family,” Dr. Todd Lavender, president of animal hospitals and pet care services at VCA, said in a statement. “But our family always takes care of its own. We are honored to work with the AVMF to provide financial assistance to doctors and technicians, as an investment in veterinary talent, the future of high-quality veterinary care and a better world for pets.”

Grants are also available to participating veterinary clinics through the AVMF Veterinary Care Charitable Fund to provide veterinary care for animals whose owners are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19.