(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) April 27, 2023—The American Veterinary Medical Association proudly joins the World Veterinary Association (WVA), HealthforAnimals and colleagues from around the world in celebrating World Veterinary Day on April 29 and the 2023 theme, "Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness in the Veterinary Profession."
"Removing barriers and improving inclusiveness through diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and practices in a diverse world needs a special focus in all areas," WVA and HealthforAnimals said in announcing World Veterinary Day 2023. "The well-being of all veterinarians is enhanced when diversity, equity and inclusion is promoted and applied."
World Veterinary Day – the last Saturday of April – celebrates the contributions of veterinarians to the health of animals, people and the environment. WVA and HealthforAnimals choose a different theme each year.
This year's focus is embraced by the AVMA, which along with the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE) and other key partners is leading Journey for Teams, the most ambitious diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) undertaking in the history of the US veterinary profession. Launched in December 2022, Journey for Teams is a comprehensive and collaborative process to be incorporated into every sphere of activity within veterinary medicine.
"We are delighted that the WVA and HealthforAnimals chose DEI as the theme for World Veterinary Day 2023 and are honored to join them and veterinarians the world over in marking this special day," said Dr. Lori Teller, President of the AVMA. "All of us are working toward building a profession that better reflects the diversity of our respective nations – and thus better serves our clients, patients and communities, and strengthens our veterinary workplaces."
Journey for Teams is directed by Dr. Latonia Craig, the AVMA's Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer. The voluntary program – with user-friendly content designed for busy veterinary teams – includes a new online video each month on important DEI-related topics, plus a worksheet to guide group discussion. At the conclusion of each session, teams or individuals will be encouraged to commit to at least one action step. A total of more than 30 topics will be covered over the next two-and-a-half years, with content developed by DEI experts and topic champions.
Feedback for JFT has been very positive, with approximately 11,000 users as of mid-April. "The course is really well-organized with powerful and engaging content," one AVMA member wrote after using the first two modules. "I like that it is very focused with short modules. The content is deep enough to be thought-provoking, yet easy to take in. ... I look forward to continuing on the Journey."
In addition to JFT, the AVMA offers a wide range of DEI-related information, including policies, training programs, webinars, podcasts and reading materials, at www.avma.org/diversity.
As Dr. Craig noted when Journey for Teams was launched: "Diversity makes us stronger, equity makes us better, and inclusion builds community where everyone contributes."
Earlier this week, the AVMA also announced establishment of a new annual DEI honor, the Frederick Douglass Patterson Lifetime Achievement award, named after the veterinary trailblazer. In 1944, Dr. Patterson (1901-1988) founded both the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine and the United Negro College Fund. The new award will recognize excellence through innovative and transformative leadership in promoting DEI. Nominations are invited until May 22 at www.avma.org/Awards.