Pawsibilities Vet Med is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that proactively increases all forms of diversity within the veterinary profession through mentorship, professional development and resources to all intersecting identities including but not limited to ability, ethnicity, gender identity, non-traditional paths, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, religion, and veteran status.
Groups underrepresented in veterinary medicine: individuals that identify within a sociological category that is discriminated against and whose advancement in the profession has historically been disproportionately impacted by this category. This includes gender, race, ethnicity, geographic, socioeconomic, religion, disability status and educational disadvantage. Examples:
- Individuals from non-Caucasian race and ethnic backgrounds such as Hispanic/Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, and those of two or more races
- Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds
- Romantic minorities
- Individuals with disabilities
Non-Hispanic Caucasians currently make up 89% of the veterinary profession, while Asian, Hispanic and African American/ Black veterinarians make up 4, 3 and 2% respectively.
The AAVMC reports that for 2017, 78% of veterinary students enrolled in U.S. Colleges of Veterinary Medicine were Caucasian, 2.5% black, 4.8% Asian and 5.4% Latino/ Hispanic. The AAVMC reports that for 2020, 76% of veterinary students were Caucasian, 3% African American/ black, 5.5% Asian and 7.5% Latinx/ Hispanic.
In terms of applicants, the AAVMC reports that in 2016 78% of applicants were Caucasian, 4.4% were African American/black, 7.6% were Asian and 10.7% were Hispanic. In 2020, 75% of applicants were Caucasian, 3.4% were African American/black, 3.7% were Asian and 10.4% were Hispanic.
Veterinary medicine is one of the least diverse professions in the United States. For this disparity to end, more students from diverse backgrounds must enter and remain in the veterinary path. Pawsibilities is a web and mobile platform designed to aid in the recruitment and retention of diverse students in the veterinary profession through resources, discussion forums and the showcasing of diverse veterinarians. Pawsibilities pools available resources and provides information about veterinary medicine to educate students about the myriad of paths they may take within the profession. It also provides a forum to discuss the various challenges and pitfalls on the path to becoming a veterinarian or veterinary technician. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Pawsibilities showcases veterinary professionals from a variety of backgrounds, to emphasize that anyone from anywhere can enter the field. From these interactions, we aim to give students a smoother path along their career, as well as a sense of belonging in veterinary medicine. Pawsibilities is a useful tool for pre-veterinary students, veterinary and veterinary technician students, veterinary technicians, and veterinarians to find their place in the profession and share it with others. Individuals can choose to mentor or be mentees and currently three quarters of our members are willing and able to help or mentor other users.
Mentorship is crucial to a successful career. A great mentor can inspire and elevate someone to new heights for everyone’s betterment, while a poor supervisor kills dreams in cradle. Despite this critical importance to a profession, there are shockingly few resources devoted to developing mentorship skills in veterinary medicine. Our field would benefit greatly from instruction at every point in a veterinarian’s career. Before we even become veterinarians, students must learn to identify great mentors, the people who will help us grow as people and professionals, while eschewing those who would write us off or drive us away.
Who is PAWSIBILITIES FOR?
Our purpose is to proactively increase all forms of diversity within the veterinary profession.
Pawsibilities Vet Med is for pre-veterinary students, veterinary students, veterinary technician students, veterinary technicians, and veterinarians from underrepresented backgrounds, based on disability status, ethnicity, gender, non-traditional path, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, and veteran status. Because everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to offer, we encourage allies in the veterinary field to sign up as mentors.
A robust and thriving community that fuels an inclusive veterinary profession which mirrors the diversity of society.
To diversify all roles within the veterinary profession by providing mentorship, professional development, and resources to all intersecting identities including but not limited to ability, ethnicity, gender identity, non-traditional paths, race*, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, religion, and veteran status.
Pawsibilities leads among its peers with fundamental core values that promote diversity, mentorship, and leadership. These values are the underpinning of our services and are reflected in our vision and mission.
We have one or more educational or networking event(s) offered per month. We ask that you attend at least two educational events per year.
Examples of past events include:
- A 5-Step Formula for Creating a Life and Veterinary Career You Love
- Pawsibilities DEI & Mentorship Training
- Cultivating and Leading a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Culture in Vet Med
- Support Networks 101: How to Create a Robust Wellbeing Army for Veterinary Success
- Changing Careers in Veterinary Medicine
- Navigating Pre-Veterinary Medicine Workshop
- “Through The Lens Series” a 4-panel series event to hear from veterinarians and veterinary technicians of different racial/ethnic groups on their experiences and journeys in the profession
Pawsibilities is first envisioned at an Animal Health Hackathon at the University of Georgia.
Pawsibilities goes through the University of Georgia’s NSF iCorps program
Valerie and Seth explore ways to build the Pawsibilities platform
Valerie and Seth finish their DVM and PhD, respectively
A preliminary survey reveals over 200 individuals interested in veterinary mentorship
After an extensive search, Pawsibilities selects Graduway Inc to provide the mentoring platform
Pawsibilities is incorporated as a non-profit in North Carolina
files for 501(c)(3) status
begins building an advisory board.
Pawsibilities soft-launches with two pilot periods and over 50 testers during a four week period
Pawsibilities receives 501(c)(3) status
Full public launch of Pawsibilities on September 21, 2020