Chicagoland kids get veterinary clinic experience at AVMA career exploration event

For more information Phone: 847-285-6687 Cell: 847-732-6194
For immediate release:

(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) December 29, 2023—Hoping to inspire the next generation of veterinary medical professionals, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is hosting a Veterinary Career Exploration Event on Wednesday, January 3, in Chicago, prior to the association's annual Veterinary Leadership Conference.

Approximately 30 children from F.O.C.U.O.S. (Focus On Critically Using Our Skills), a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering underserved individuals, will attend the event. These children will have the opportunity to visit the Animal Advocate Pet Center in Chicago, where they will discuss careers in veterinary medicine with the clinic's medical director, Dr. Stefanie Clay-Smith. The program includes a comprehensive tour of the facility, interactive discussions, and a chance to observe veterinary exams.

"The Veterinary Career Exploration Event is in further continuation of our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity in the veterinary profession," said AVMA President Dr. Rena Carlson. "It's a chance for these bright young minds to see firsthand what a career in veterinary medicine entails and to envision a future in the field."

Following their visit to the veterinary clinic, the children will engage in a lunch meet-up with AVMA leadership for further discussions about the myriad opportunities in veterinary medicine.

"Partnerships like this are vital in breaking down barriers and expanding horizons for our youth," said Willie Pole, executive director and founder/CEO of F.O.C.U.O.S. "It's through such endeavors that we can truly empower them to explore their full potential."

This event, similar to the AVMA's annual "Vet For A Day" program that takes place every summer at the association's annual convention, is part of a broader effort to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive veterinary community.

"Creating a diverse veterinary profession isn't just about equity; it's about enriching the field with varied perspectives and experiences," Dr. Carlson said. "By introducing these young people to the world of veterinary medicine, we're helping create a future where our profession truly reflects the diverse communities that we serve."

For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell/text) or msanfilippoatavma [dot] org (msanfilippo[at]avma[dot]org).

About the AVMA

Serving more than 105,000 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 F.O.C.U.O.S.

F.O.C.U.O.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Will County, DuPage Township, whose mission is to empower underserved individuals by helping them realize their potential. F.O.C.U.O.S. address the lack of positive mentorship and programming, focusing on adolescents, youth, and young adults. Their programs offer workshops, trainings, discussions, and outings, driven by dedicated volunteers from the community.