|CSU Home CSU Directory CVMBS Home Site Index Students WebCT|
DiVersity Matters Brings Message to CVMBS
Lisa Greenhill is on a mission. As the Associate Executive Director for Diversity at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, she is the point person for the AAVMC’s recently launched DVM: DiVersity Matters initiative to promote the recruitment of ethnic and racially diverse students in veterinary schools across North America. Greenhill recently was in Fort Collins to meet with Dr. Lance Perryman and other CVMBS faculty members to broach the subject of diversity in veterinary education.
“Veterinary medicine is a wonderful profession, but unfortunately hasn’t promoted itself very well in communities of color,” said Greenhill. “Diversity has always been the ‘right thing to do,’ but now our changing demographics demand that the veterinary profession embrace diversity or risk becoming irrelevant to an increasingly large portion of our population.”
According to the AAVMC, the lack of diversity is a problem throughout the schools of the health professions, but is especially acute in veterinary medical colleges. Current enrollment of underrepresented minorities stands at just under 10 percent of total student enrollment at AAVMC institutional members in the United States (Census Bureau figures report the country’s non-white population is at 25 percent). The picture doesn’t seem to be improving. Recently released 2005 data indicates a downturn in the percentage of minority students enrolled for the first time since 1988.
Greenhill noted that in communities of color, the veterinary profession is well liked and respected, but not valued in the same way as human medicine. Students are less likely to relate to veterinary medicine as minorities are less likely to own pets and those who do are less likely to take their pets to veterinarians. Also, Greenhill said, the connection between veterinary medicine and careers in biomedical sciences is often overlooked.
“We have to create awareness and desire, and demonstrate to communities of color that an education in veterinary medicine is an achievement that is socially and culturally acceptable,” Greenhill said. “In order to do that, the DiVersity Matters program is designed to reach out to both communities of color and colleges of veterinary medicine to create a demand for an education in veterinary medicine as well as create welcoming places where students can achieve success.”
DiVersity Matters program objectives include:
“CSU ranks fourth nationally in terms of the diversity of students enrolled in its Professional Veterinary Medical Program,” said Dr. Perryman. “That sounds good at first, but the reality is only one of our nation’s veterinary schools is doing a very good job of addressing diversity concerns. While we do have ongoing programs like VetStart and VetPrep to help us create a more diverse student body, we welcome the AAVMC’s DiVersity Matters initiative and look forward to working with the association in a constructive way.”
To view the complete text of the AAVMC’s DiVersity Matters Initiative, go to http://www.aavmc.org/committees_activities/multicultural.htm and click on DiVersity Matters.