AVMA/VMAE’s ‘Journey for Teams’ releases first learning module to advance diversity in veterinary profession

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For immediate release: 12/02/2022

(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) December 2, 2022— The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE) today formally launched Journey for Teams (JFT), the most ambitious diversity, equity and inclusion initiative in their history, with the release of the first monthly DEI learning module for workplaces throughout the veterinary profession.

“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are core values that help shape, define and enrich a successful organization,” says Dr. Latonia Craig, Ed.D., the AVMA’s new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer, in “Fostering an Extraordinary Workplace - The Power of Diversity,” the first in the series of monthly modules. “Diversity makes us stronger, equity makes us better, and inclusion builds community where everyone contributes.”

The first module covers the importance of valuing diversity, self-reflection and a personal assessment of cultural knowledge, and encourages making a commitment to at least one action step.

The release of the initial module follows last month’s unveiling of the “Welcome Webinar,” which outlines the Journey for Teams pathway, and the “Reasons” video, in which leaders from across veterinary medicine discuss the importance of advancing DEI. All content, including the modules, are available on the www.journeyforteams.org website.

“We and our partners from across the veterinary profession united to create Journey for Teams, our shared path to greater diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Dr. Lori Teller, President of the AVMA. “No one can do it alone, but together we will build a profession that better reflects the diversity of our great nation and thus better serves our clients, patients and communities, and strengthens our veterinary workplaces.”

“Journey for Teams will inspire actionable change by providing support and advice on DEI, with content designed by experts for busy veterinary professionals,” said Tim Atkinson, President of VMAE.

The voluntary Journey for Teams program – with user-friendly content designed for busy veterinary teams – will include a new online video each month on important DEI-related topics, plus a worksheet to guide group discussion. The suggested model is for participants to engage as a team with a volunteer facilitator, designated as the ‘Navigator,’ although groups can opt to join the Journey without a Navigator, and individuals can participate on their own. 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. Additional resources will be provided on the topics for those looking to dive deeper.

Journey for Teams was announced at the AVMA’s annual Convention last July. To further expand outreach efforts, the AVMA and VMAE are working with veterinary and animal health organizations who have signed on as Educational Partners and have an aligned commitment to DEI. Educational Partners will be critical to the success of the program as they help raise awareness and engagement in Journey for Teams. The initial companies who will be contributing their knowledge and expertise to the program, as well as financial support and other valuable resources, include, at the ‘Trailblazers’ level, Boehringer Ingelheim, Mars Veterinary Health, Nationwide, NAVC, National Veterinary Associates, Petco, Viticus Group and Zoetis, and, at the ‘Adventurers’ level, CareCredit, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Merck Animal Health and Suveto.

Journey for Teams is also working with Collaborating Partners that are broad coalitions or national associations whose members are integral to advancing DEI. The initial groups who have committed their participation include the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), the AVMA/AAVMC's Commission for a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, and the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. Their combined reach will make a significant contribution to the success of the initiative by providing subject-matter expertise on the development of content and promoting Journey for Teams to their members and other stakeholders.

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.

About VMAE

VMAE exists to help veterinary medical association executives create thriving organizations and provide effective leadership within the veterinary profession. Their 130+ members manage more than 80 leading veterinary organizations in North America, Europe, and Australia.