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diverse group of young people

Board Statement on Diversity

New York State Veterinary Medical Society (NYVMS) recognizes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as an important focus and function to our organization. The organization acknowledges that we had not previously made DEI a priority and have now committed to advancing DEI in our society and community.

We have formed a DEI committee and the first initiatives we are working on include:
  • DEI assessment of the organization using the AAVMC organizational assessment tool
  • Evaluating the results of the assessment to identify the highest priority areas for attention
  • Partner with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Long Island University to build relationships with schools to participate in career days and mentorship programs to encourage a more diverse pool of applicants to veterinary school

Only 2% of NY veterinarians are black

Infographic showing racial demographics of veterinary medicine
Currently veterinary medicine in NY State is much less racially diverse than the general population, with a very small percentage of veterinarians identifying as black, and 86% identifying as white. The human healthcare field is much closer to the racial mix of the general population. This lack of diversity extends across the entire United States, and is the result of decades where BIPOC students were under-represented in the intakes to colleges of veterinary medicine.

There is no short-term fix. Many young-people who go into veterinary careers make educational choices at an early age, and do not see veterinary medicine as a career since they see so few people of color among the veterinarians they encounter.

The VetaHumanz program at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is a government funded research and program development group that aims to increase the diversity among veterinarians by attracting more applicants to veterinary education programs. The NYSVMS board has decided to work with VetaHumanz as a partner to help us enable our veterinary members visit schools with compelling programs that will encourage a more diverse population to choose veterinary medicine as a career.

Volunteers needed for schools program

Our diversity program partner, VetaHumanz at Purdue University has researched how to most effectively encourage a more diverse population to choose veterinary medicine as a career.

They identified that it will be a more effective use of time to visit elementary school classrooms to provide lessons based around veterinary medicine. Older students are less easy to influence, particularly toward careers like veterinary medicine.

Rather than simply delivering a "career day" style talk, VetaHumanz equips veterinarians with a range of lesson plans that fit in with the standard curricula requirements for elementary schools. They provide online training as well as materials that feature veterinarians of color who demonstrate that veterinary careers are possible regardless of racial origin.

NYSVMS will facilitate the formation of small VetaHumanz chapters, that are equipped to visit schools, and also help build connections with schools to enable veterinarians to deliver the program.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Tim Atkinson on 518 869 7888 or take a look at the other information on this website.

You can also visit https://vet.purdue.edu/vetahumanz/ for more information.