Schools Program

Why elementary students?

People of color are currently under-represented among veterinarians. The problem is particularly acute among those identifying as black who make up 15% of the New York population, but only 2% of veterinarians in New York.

One contributing factor is that school children of color do not identify veterinary medicine as a possible career choice. Many don't see many people of color among veterinarians, and they have little sense that this is a career that they could aspire to.

A group at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine has researched the factors that could increase the number of students of color applying to DVM programs. Children form impressions about careers at a very young age from the adults in their lives, their toys, the books they read, and what they are taught in school*  Trice** reported that 41% of career aspirations that adults had made before 12 years of age matched their current occupations.

Purdue concluded that the most effective program focus was on elementary students. Although this will take longer to have an impact on diversity, they found that programs were less successful at steering older students toward a veterinary career.

*Magnuson and Starr, MF 2000. Journal of Career Development, 27:89-101
Ammass, Adedokun, Cipriani and Reed, Mapping our Future 2013 In Navigating Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary medicine

**Trice AD. 1991, Psyschological Reports 68: 287-290

Our partner - VetaHumanz

League of VetaHumanz LogoThe VetaHumanz program was developed by Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine to facilitate veterinary teams who would like to help increase diversity in the profession.

The League of VetaHumanz provides online training and certification for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, and provides lesson plans, curricula and books. They are supported by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institute of Health, and are in the process of building chapters nationwide.

The curricula are designed to meet specific learning objectives within elementary school curricula, so that they don't need to be delivered as a career-day type "extra", but can actually help teachers to meet their core objectives. The VetaHumanz lesson materials are designed to be easily reproduced on a photocopier, although there is plenty of opportunity to add props of your own as an upgrade.

Certification in This is How we "Role"

This is How we "Role" is the name of the curriculum developed by the Purdue VetaHumanz project. Certification requires you to complete a series of online modules that include training in working with diverse populations and young children, as well as insignts into how to deliver the curriculum. The program can be completed in your own time and will take a few hours.

How do I get involved?

During the fall of 2021 we are looking to train a core group of veterinarians and technicians who can run our first programs. Approaching schools will be difficult until questions about how to respond to new Covid variants are resolved. But we can prepare and build local teams that we can deploy. Depending on the locations of the certified VetaHumanz we can then identify schools and set up engagements.

As NYSVMS builds experience we can roll the program out further and build local groups that can plan their own school engagements. During 2021 we will start softly, and accelerate as we learn from experience.

Contact Tim Atkinson, Executive Director if you are interested, and we will arrange for you to take the 6 hour online training and become certified and ready to roll.

Learn More

To learn more about VetaHumanz - visit their website