Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Last year Pawsibilities Vet Med partnered with the California Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Marcano’s article on white saviorism was published in the January-February 2023 issue of California Veterinarian, the publication of the CVMA.
On January 16th, Pawsibilities Vet Med received an email addressed to Dr. Marcano full of hate speech (copy below). Dr. Marcano posted the email on social media. Dr. Marcano received hundreds of likes, comments, shares and messages from individuals and organizations. Since then, another two similar emails arrived. They are also below.
Amplify inclusive voices.
Social justice work is taxing, and very often done by members of marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved communities:
- Provide PAID consulting and speaking opportunities
- Attend our seminars and workshops and invite others
- Share our work
- Donate to our causes
- Follow us and our causes on social media
- Share, like and comment on social media posts to increase our visibility
- Invite us into rooms where change can be made
How can ORGANIZATIONS help create a more inclusive veterinary medicine?
Respect and professionalism towards people should be expected within every organization. Define what professional misconduct includes – for instance, codes of conduct must clearly state that hate speech and discrimination on the basis of age, ability, gender identity, neurodiversity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background will not be tolerated. Intentionality and degree of offense should be considered when defining discrimination and hate speech.
The code of conduct or any other relevant documentation must include clear ways to report individuals suspected of misconduct. Examples of this include an embedded web form or the email of the officer to be contacted. In addition, a message indicating the complaint has been received and a timeframe for an update on the case are paramount.
- Organizations should have a committee in place to review code of conduct complaints. The organization must also have a plan in place, such as an external mediator, in case of conflict of interests. The organization must begin an investigation.
- Once a claim has been filed, clear action steps must be available for anyone found guilty of intentional discriminatory misconduct or hate speech.
- Enforceable actions include limited access to membership benefits and leadership within the organization (see below).
- A path to redemption must be defined and include apologies and training to ensure it will not happen again.
- Repeated offenses must result in dismissal and membership revoked
- Dismissals due to discriminatory practices and hate speech must not be confidential. While the details surrounding the dismissal do not need to be shared, categorical dismissal must be available to any organizations that this individual may join in the future.
What are areas of enforceable actions?
We must prevent bias from affecting recruitment and retention. It is harmful for our pipeline to have individuals racist, homophobic and other discriminatory beliefs directly impacting the pool of incoming professionals.
Veterinary medicine does not currently represent the population of the United States. Serving the communities we care for and ultimately addressing veterinary care deserts can only be done by understanding and appreciating
community differences. Allowing discriminatory practices to spread through our professional and educational spaces does nothing to advance our profession.
Hands on training is paramount to success in veterinary medicine.It is nerve-racking enough knowing you have a life in your hands without also being attacked for who you are and what you look like during the process. Our pipeline must be fostered in an inclusive and supportive environment.
Organizations driving inclusive change in veterinary medicine
- American Association of Veterinarians of Indian Origin (AAVIO)
- Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals (AAVMP)
- BlackDVM Network
- Black Veterinary Association of Canada (BVAC)
- Jewish Association of Veterinarians
- Latinx Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA)
- Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association (MCVMA)
- Native American Veterinary Association (NAVA)
- National Association for Black Veterinarians (NABV)
- Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PrideVMC)
- Pride Student Veterinary Medical Community (PrideSVMC)
- Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE)
- Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI)
- Chapter VIII: Veterinary Inclusion and Intersectionality Initiative
- Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition
- Pawsibilities Vet Med
- Twopointone Vet Med
- Vets of all Colors
- Empowering Veterinary Teams (EVT)
- Get MotiVETed! Veterinary Wellbeing Solutions
- Not One More Vet (NOMV)
- Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds