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January 15, 2021

AVMA, AAVMC announce diversity, equity, inclusion commission

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The AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges announced in November the creation of a commission to coordinate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Team of united coworkers

The Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession will work to drive change within the veterinary profession, expand the pipeline to include more people from diverse backgrounds, and encourage welcoming workplaces.

“Sustainable, long-term change can only come about if dedicated and influential partners from across our profession, including academia and industry, join together to identify challenges and implement solutions,” said Dr. Douglas Kratt, president of the AVMA, and Dr. Mark D. Markel, president of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, in a joint statement. “The commission will establish actionable goals that promote DEI throughout the veterinary community.”

Dr. Ruby L. Perry

I commend the leadership of our professional organization at the AVMA and the AAVMC for noting that there is a need and now is the time to act to make our profession more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean, Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine 

Dr. Jenkins
Dr. Christine Jenkins

The commission is co-chaired by Dr. Ruby L. Perry, AAVMC secretary and dean of Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Christine Jenkins, chief medical officer and vice president of veterinary medical services and outcomes research of U.S. operations at Zoetis.

Other organizations involved in the effort include the American Animal Hospital Association; the Veterinary Medical Association Executives; 10 affinity organizations with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the Multicultural VMA; the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America; the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association; and the Student AVMA. Each group chose one representative for the commission.

“I commend the leadership of our professional organization at the AVMA and the AAVMC for noting that there is a need and now is the time to act to make our profession more diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” Dr. Perry said.

The initial goals of the commission are the following:

  • Promoting the value of DEI throughout the profession.
  • Increasing diversity among veterinarians, veterinary school applicants and enrollees, interns, residents, and board-certified specialists.
  • Encouraging and assisting VMAs and animal health companies to measure and improve DEI.

Commission roster

In addition to the co-chairs, the commission members are as follows:

  • Michelle Gonzales-Bryant, president of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association.
  • Dr. Courtney Campbell, veterinary surgeon, podcast host, and chief creative officer of Vet Candy.
  • Dr. K. Fred Gingrich II, executive director of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
  • Ralph Johnson, CEO of the Veterinary Medical Association Executives.
  • Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional veterinary officer at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, U.S.
  • Dr. Andrea Dennis-LaVigne, founder, owner, and president at Bloomfield Animal Hospital in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
  • Dr. Valerie Marcano, poultry technical consultant for Elanco Animal Health and co-founder of Pawsibilities.
  • Dr. Kemba Marshall, director of veterinary services for Purina Animal Nutrition and founder of Marshall Recruiting Consortium.
  • Dr. Krista Miller, associate veterinarian at Thrive Affordable Vet Care.
  • Pallavi Oruganti, a third-year student at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Dr. Neeraj Sharma, a small animal veterinarian in British Columbia and former federal government large animal veterinarian in India.
  • Erin Spencer, past president of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America and treasurer of the Pride Veterinary Medical Community.
  • Dr. Jean-Yin Tan, professor of equine internal medicine at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Dr. Kimberly-Ann Therrien, vice president of veterinary quality at Banfield Pet Hospital and president of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.

Advisory group

An advisory group is intended to play a crucial role in supporting the commission’s work. Members will be asked to give feedback, identify issues or trends, or take on a specific project.

The advisory group consists of the following members: Dr. Louis Archbald, Dr. Victoria Ambrose, Dr. Lenore Bacek, Dr. Nicole Bruno, Andrea Davis, Dr. Rafaela De Negri, Alexander Dhom, Dr. Mariea Ross-Estrada, Dr. Liara Gonzalez, Dr. Shannon Greeley, Dr. Patricia Hill, Dr. Spencer Johnston, Dr. Karena Joung, Candace Joy, Dr. Tracy Kelliher, Tiffany King, Dr. Michael Lent, Dr. Souci Louis, Dr. Khursheed Mama, Dr. Gary Marshall, Dr. Irving McConnell, Dr. Mark McConnell, Manolita Moore, Dr. Rustin Moore, Dr. Mari Morimoto, Dr. Evan Morse, Dr. Michelle Moyal, Dr. Bob Murtaugh, Dr. Alexandria Hicks-Nelson, Dr. Laura Pletz, Dr. Keith Poulsen, Dr. Christine Royal, Dr. Tony Rumschlag, Dr. Marie Sato Quicksall, Steven Shell, Dr. Kimberly Cunningham Simmons, Dr. Felicitas Smith, Dr. Peter Weinstein, Dr. Brielle Weldon, Marcie Whichard, and Dr. Susan Williams.


Visit the AVMA's resource page on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.