Striving to address racial inequality in the veterinary profession
WOBURN, MA – February 21, 2022: Ethos Veterinary Health is honoring Black History Month to support the black community and our team members of color during the month of February, as well as throughout the year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent population survey revealed that only 0 to 2% of veterinarians in the United States are African American. Ethos realizes and acknowledges the lack of diversity in veterinary medicine, and in our own organization, and we are taking proactive steps to raise awareness about this concerning issue—and, hopefully, spark change. These steps include offering resources and initiatives intended to create a more diverse and inclusive community at Ethos Veterinary Health and in the veterinary industry.
On February 23, Ethos Veterinary Health will launch a podcast entitled “Diagnosing Inequality: Exploring Racial Disparities in Veterinary Medicine.” Conversations among Ethos team members inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests led to the creation of this 10-episode series focused on the astounding lack of diversity in the veterinary profession. The podcast is available on ethosvet.com and on all podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
“We, within the executive team at Ethos, were struck by what was going on in society. We quickly realized that this societal racism problem was not so far away from us in veterinary medicine. As a result, we began thinking we should do something to address the problem in our own backyard,” said Chand Khanna, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Oncology), president, Ethos Discovery and Chief Scientific Officer, Ethos Veterinary Health.
These discussions led to a collaboration between Ethos and VetBloom to produce a podcast series to explore racial inequalities in veterinary medicine. The hosts, Dr. Khanna and Dr. Ira Gordon, DACVR (Radiation Oncology), are passionate about increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. With this podcast series, Drs. Khanna and Gordon aim to better understand the issues behind racial inequality in veterinary medicine, while working toward a solution to change the future and face of the profession. During each session, the hosts converse with prominent members of the veterinary community to understand their firsthand perspectives on race and inequality issues. Ethos will make a donation to each of the podcast guest’s charity of choice in appreciation of their time and involvement in this important endeavor.
About the podcast, Patrick Welch, DVM, MBA, DACVO, VetBloom founder and CEO, and Ethos Executive Team member, said, “Everyone’s intention was to treat this like a scientific study, designed to bring in a diverse set of guests, have discussions, gather data, get perspectives, and then pause for a bit to see what we learned, to decide what next steps to take to help. The goal is to drive engagement and conversation.”
In addition to the podcast series, Ethos has committed to funding $500k in educational initiatives focused on correcting the disparities in the veterinary industry over the next several years. These opportunities will include scholarships to the Purdue-VetBloom online veterinary nursing technician program.
Ethos is taking another step toward increasing diversity in the field by partnering with Pawsibilities. This collaboration will help connect Ethos Veterinary Health with individuals from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in veterinary medicine. Pawsibilities Vet Med is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the veterinary profession. Their online platform connects individuals to opportunities, mentors, and advisors in the field. “There is a need for mentorship from elementary school to veterinary school and beyond,” Dr. Khanna said.
Ethos is also providing diversity training for Ethos team members that will include topics such as unconscious bias, the importance of workplace diversity, and the individual’s role in workplace diversity. Team members are being encouraged to explore these subjects to broaden their perspectives on these issues. As part of our on-going commitment to diversity and inclusion, we recently offered Ethos team members the opportunity to be a part of building a new People of Color Employee Resource Group (ERG); we look forward to building this new partnership with ERG team members. In 2021 we established the Ethos Pride ERG, and have plans to develop additional ERGs over the course of 2022.
Ethos recognizes that these steps are only the beginning of the major overhaul that the veterinary industry needs. Increasing diversity is imperative to reduce pet health disparities, meet the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse population, and prepare veterinary professional graduates to be ready and willing to practice in an inclusive manner.
“Now it’s time for the next iteration of the profession to evolve,” said Dr. Welch. Ethos will continue to take proactive measures to facilitate the needed changes to improve the profession, and hopes our team members, referring partners, and clients will explore opportunities for collaboration in these initiatives, to help continue the conversation.
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ABOUT ETHOS VETERINARY HEALTH
Ethos is a veterinary health company with hospitals across the U.S. providing advanced medical care for pets. Our approach includes a focus on transformative science, continuous learning, growth for team members, and the development of collaborative relationships. For more information, visit ethosvet.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
VetBloom is a learning ecosystem for the veterinary industry, delivering individual courses, certificate programs and complex curricula through a fully customizable, highly scalable, white-labeled learning experience platform. VetBloom employs educational specialists, instructional designers, and other learning professionals in order to provide a spectrum of support for designing competency-based instruction, assessment strategies, and a diverse range of content types from long form direct instruction to immersive 3D virtual simulation. For more information, visit VetBloom.com.