AVMA honors Zoetis executive Dr. Christine Jenkins and Tuskegee veterinary Dean Dr. Ruby Perry for DEI leadership

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For immediate release: 07/14/2023

(DENVER, Colorado) July 14, 2023—The American Veterinary Medical Association today will present special awards to two transformative leaders, Dr. Christine Jenkins and Dr. Ruby Perry, for “their unwavering commitment” to advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) throughout the veterinary profession.

Dr. Perry, Dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine and President and Board Chair of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, and Dr. Jenkins, who is retiring as U.S. chief medical officer and vice president, veterinary medical services and outcomes research, U.S. operations at Zoetis Inc., will be recognized on Friday evening during the President’s Reception at the AVMA’s annual Convention, held this year in Denver.

“Their unwavering commitment and strong, visionary leadership have catalyzed change and will leave an indelible mark on our profession,” said Dr. Lori Teller, President of the AVMA.

Drs. Jenkins and Perry co-chaired the landmark Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, formed by the AVMA and AAVMC in late 2020 to lay the groundwork for improving DEI throughout the veterinary profession. The 16-member commission worked throughout 2021 to develop a strategic plan with three pillars:

  • 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 veterinary medical associations and animal health companies to measure and improve DEI.

The Commission’s work led to the development of Journey for Teams, the AVMA and Veterinary Medical Association Executives’ profession-wide DEI initiative launched in December 2022, and the hiring of the AVMA’s first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Dr. Latonia Craig, who is leading Journey for Teams, in September of last year.

“We can honor Dr. Perry’s and Dr. Jenkins’ tireless efforts and unwavering dedication by continuing to build upon the foundation they have laid and ensure that commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion remains a core value for our profession,” Dr. Teller said.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 100,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.