Diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine

Diversity and Inclusion

Creating socially conscious educational and work environments—as well as removing barriers to equity and inclusion—are imperatives for veterinary professionals. Veterinarians take an oath to promote public health, and we work in an increasingly diverse world. Veterinarians, team members, and students must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all clients and create welcoming environments for all co-workers.

Education plays a pivotal role in the pursuit for more diverse and inclusive workplaces. AVMA is committed to providing tools that empower veterinary professionals to advance their education on these issues. From podcasts and CE webinars, to veterinary certificate programs and book lists, these resources may help all veterinary professionals become better allies in support of equitable treatment for all.


AVMA policy on diversity and inclusion

The AVMA is committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the profession of veterinary medicine so that we can best serve the animals, the public, and our members. Our goal is to mirror the growing diversity of the communities we serve and to promote an understanding of their varied needs. To this end, we are committed to actively promoting and maintaining diversity and inclusion in our membership, leadership, and organization, and educating our members regarding the value of diversity and inclusion. This commitment embraces the value of the many areas of the veterinary profession, and the value of our members' and their clients' varied backgrounds, including but not limited to race; ethnicity; physical and mental abilities; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; parental, marital, or pregnancy status; religious or political beliefs; military or veteran status; and geographic, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds.


Diversity and inclusion webinars

These AVMA Axon webinars explore a variety of issues related to diversity, intersectionality, and equitable treatment. They offer CE credit and are offered by the AVMA to all veterinary professionals free of charge.

Diversity, marginalization and intersectionality

Diversity, marginalization and intersectionality are at the forefront of many important conversations happening in society and the veterinary profession. Learn what intersectionality means, how it relates to the veterinary profession, and what scholarly literature says about diversity and intersectionality. You’ll learn new ways to reduce discrimination in your work environment and community.

Unconscious bias: How it affects us and our teams

Unconscious bias affects everyone. We all have it—because it’s a function of brain efficiency, coupled with personal values and lived experience. Explore the science of bias, and learn how it shows up in our personal and group decision-making, and how it can unintentionally limit opportunities and exclude talented team members.

Making a change: From comfort zone to brave space

Making a commitment to diversity and inclusion requires levels of engagement that may be discomforting. Breaking through our comfort zones can be one of the biggest barriers to advancing change in our environments. Discover activities that can help you move from your personal comfort zone to a brave space, allowing you to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives in your workplace.

More webinars on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing

Certificate program

Workplace wellbeing means different things to different people and is key to individual and organizational health. Increasing inclusiveness by advancing multicultural competency is a critical component for creating a welcoming environment for all workers. The AVMA Workplace Wellbeing Certificate Program empowers all team members to make a difference by developing the knowledge and skills to create a culture of wellbeing in the veterinary workplace. The program includes modules addressing diversity and inclusion; creating a culture of wellbeing; asking for, receiving, and giving feedback; transforming conflict; and suicide prevention.

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Diversity and inclusion podcasts

Diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine 
(My Veterinary Life)

“If a profession limits itself to only including a certain group of people, then the problem with that is you get a limited number of ideas and perspectives and values. And over time, you know, you’ve kind of doomed yourself to becoming stagnant and halting your own growth.”

Those wise words are from Sean Gadson,  a third-year veterinary student at UC Davis, who reached out to the My Veterinary Life podcast team to discuss diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. Gadson has great insights and shares how prejudice and judgments by others have shaped his own life.

Focusing on Pride Month 
(My Veterinary Life)

MVL hosts are joined by Pride Veterinary Medical Community (Pride VMC) members Dr. Dane Whitaker and Dr. Abby McElroy. Hear their experiences as part of both the LBGTQ+ and veterinary community. They cover everything from pronouns and why they are important to the history of PrideVMC and what Pride Month celebrations will look like in 2020.

Visibility and Pride Month from a student perspective 
(My Veterinary Life)

Alex Dhom, a third-year veterinary student at University of Georgia, shares his personal experiences and the importance of visibility in the LBGTQ+ community. Topics range from mentorship to joining national organizations to the importance of community.

National Association for Black Veterinarians
(AAVMC DiversityMatters)

Leaders from the National Association for Black Veterinarians talk about their role in promoting diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. Drs. Renita Marshall and Raphael Malbrue discuss how the organization came to be, its goals, future activities, and overall efforts to improve representation within veterinary medicine.

From bystander to ally 
(AAVMC DiversityMatters)

Dr. Latonia Craig from Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine discusses strategies for moving from being a bystander in witnessing acts of discrimination to being an ally.

Discrimination in veterinary medicine
(AAVMC DiversityMatters)

Sociologist Adilia James, Ph.D., discusses her research on discrimination in the veterinary profession, qualitatively explores the experiences of those in under-represented groups, and sheds light on the realities of veterinarians of color.

Recommended follow up reading:

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America