Diversity, well-being front and center at AVMA Convention 2022

Attracting the best individuals to the veterinary profession and retaining them requires not only adequate resources and training for the work they do but also a welcoming and supportive environment. There’s a lot employers and employees can learn about how to get the most out of the team, how to demonstrate empathy and compassion for colleagues and clients who are different from them, and how to care better for themselves.

To meet these needs, the educational programing at AVMA Convention 2022 in Philadelphia features a mix of virtual and in-person sessions highlighting the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion along with well-being within the veterinary profession.

Dr. Tierra Price holding a puppy
Dr. Tierra Price, founder of the BlackDVM Network, will be one of the speakers at AVMA Convention 2022. She will give a virtual presentation on Thursday, July 28, titled, “The Contagious Culture of Inclusivity.”

The convention, happening July 29-Aug. 2 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, marks a return to offering in-person continuing education and events at the annual meeting. To highlight these two important topics to the profession, some convention sessions focusing on DEI and well-being will be posted online starting July 28.

“With AVMA having a strong focus on DEI and well-being, the Convention and Meeting Planning Division looked for ways to provide the optimal opportunity to showcase quality CE to our attendees in these areas,” explained Michael Wilson, director of the Convention and Meeting Planning Division.

To prevent scheduling conflicts with clinical and scientific sessions offered at AVMA Convention 2022, the opening day of the virtual convention is dedicated to streaming and on-demand DEI and well-being content.

“We also had a targeted focus on bringing more CE from our affinity groups as well as finding new, diverse speakers for convention by working with organizations like Multicultural VMA, National Association for Black Veterinarians, Pride Veterinary Medical Community, and Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative,” Wilson said.

Virtual sessions

The following virtual sessions will be available on demand Thursday, July 28, starting at 8 a.m. EDT:

A Path to Flow, Now Where Do You Go?” by Dr. Evelyn Galban, founder of the Native American Veterinary Association.

Allyship and Equity in Veterinary Medicine,” by Dr. Marie Quicksall, a founding board member of the MCVMA, and Dr. Sohaila Jafarian, chair of the MCVMA’s continuing education committee.

Becoming the Ideal Workplace to Enhance Veterinarian Wellbeing,” with Courtney Post, Dr. Marisa Brunettia, Dr. Whitney Miller, and Danielle Lambert.

Coaching for Veterinarians: Show Me the Evidence,” by Dr. Amanda Oden, a fellow of the Institute of Coaching.

Culturally Responsive Care in Veterinary Medicine,” by Dr. Quicksall.

DEI as Standard Operating Procedure,” by Dr. Laura Pletz, scientific services manager for Royal Canin.

Panel Discussion: DEI Regarding People With Neurodiversity and Different Mental Health Abilities,” by Dr. Debra Nickelson, American Association of Industry Veterinarians representative in the AVMA House of Delegates.

The Contagious Culture of Inclusivity,” by Dr. Tierra Price, founder of the BlackDVM Network.

In-person sessions

Complementing the virtual content are a number of in-person DEI and well-being sessions and events at AVMA Convention 2022, with content provided by organizations and sponsors such as PrideVMC, NABV, MCVMA, and Merck Animal Health.

Drs. Vernard Hodges and Terrance Ferguson, the Black veterinarian stars of the Nat Geo Wild series “Critter Fixers,” will be participating in the Vet for a Day event, Friday, July 29 and Monday, Aug. 1, at Walter B. Saul High School, a Philadelphia public school of agriculture, to bring the veterinary profession to diverse groups of students.

The “How Do You Do DEI: The Art of Storytelling” workshop is scheduled for 1-3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 31. The event features a panel of special guests moderated by Dr. Roderick Gilbert, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and Jen Brandt, PhD, AVMA director of well-being, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.

Live Life, Love All is back to celebrate DEI with a party at the pingpong social club Spin, 211 S. 15th St., from 7:30-10 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. Boehringer Ingelheim and Banfield Pet Hospital are sponsoring the event.

On Monday, Aug. 1, an event with the Diversity Veterinary Medical Coalition and the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession will be held in the Digital District of the exhibit hall from 10-11 a.m.

Find out more about these and other convention sessions and events by visiting the AVMA Convention 2022 website and its CE schedule.