Diversity Really Does Matter

It’s easy to get caught up in our own little world. But if you take a moment to look around, you’ll see that your world has already changed. There have been changes in cultural attitudes, in the gender and generational makeup of our profession, and in the ethnic and racial composition of our communities. That’s a big reason why the AVMA is dedicated to working with its members to help identify and embrace these changes so they work to our advantage and ultimately make us all more successful and profitable.

What is your AVMA doing? We continue to support and work with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and their DiVersity Matters Initiative. Staff members from our Education and Research, Membership and Field Services, and Communications divisions recently had an excellent experience at the Midwest Regional Iverson Bell Diversity Summit conducted jointly by the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Purdue Veterinary School Dean Willie Reed hosted summit attendees, and the messages heard and lessons learned were incredibly valuable.

The Sixth Annual AVMA Diversity Symposium will be held at our Annual Convention this year in Atlanta. By attending the half-day symposium on Aug. 2, you’ll learn how diversity applies to veterinary medicine and why it matters in ways both large and small, from expanding your outreach into the community you serve to boosting your bottom line. Those who come can also earn 4 hours of CE. An important part of this year’s symposium will be an open discussion on how diversity and inclusion fit into the strategic plan and future of the AVMA. Please join us for this important conversation.

One thought on “Diversity Really Does Matter

  1. There is a great deal of discussion about the benefits of added diversity within our profession, as well as about the changed meaning of animal welfare in today’s America. What there is not a lot of talk about, indeed what is ignored in both of these discussions, is the diversity of American society and its needs relative to animal welfare within our country, by state, region, community. When it comes to animal welfare there seems to be an inexorable march to impose an urban, academic, northeastern and cosmopolitan paradigm of animal welfare on the lives of people who exist in very, very different cultural circumstances. We pursue that course to our detriment.

    We in the AVMA, definitionally a “big tent” organization, need to look well beyond a diversity defined by our member’s skin color, gender and ethnicity and towards the diversity of our wider publics, clients, myriad American subcultures and the encompassed diversity of appropriate animal welfare within those subcultures.

    We should not move further towards seeing ourselves as an “animal first” organization. We are a society first organization. The veterinarian’s oath says exactly that, indeed “for the benefit of society” is in the first sentence of that oath. That societal responsibility must balance all constituents and their human needs, first. The urban, animal liberationist, “companion-animal-biased” model of animal welfare is not, and should not be, the sole prism through which we judge our duty to animals and to society. While many narrowly focused members may wish it to be otherwise, our responsibility is so much more. The veterinarians oath should be our guide.

    Arnold L. Goldman