Ethos Veterinary Health Honors Juneteenth
WOBURN, MA – June 19, 2022: Ethos Veterinary Health is honoring Juneteenth by raising awareness of the lack of diversity in the veterinary field, with the goal of achieving change. Veterinary medicine is one of the whitest professions in the United States, and the lack of diversity means the workforce is not sufficiently equipped to handle societal differences, impacting the veterinary professionals’ ability to address every pet owner’s needs.
“We are all better and stronger when we have diverse opinions and diverse thoughts, as any time you have a homogenous group of people trying to move a profession or industry forward, you get the potential for an echo chamber, and an inability to recognize your blind spots” said Dr. Patrick Welch, VetBloom founder and CEO, and Ethos executive team member.
In February 2022, Ethos and VetBloom launched a podcast called Diagnosing Inequality to raise awareness and start to address this important topic. Chand Khanna, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Onc), Ethos Chief Scientific Officer, and Ira Gordon, DVM, DACVR (Radiation Oncology) led these discussions exploring racial disparities in veterinary medicine. They spoke with renowned veterinarians across the industry to learn more about the challenges associated with Black Americans entering veterinary school and the veterinary workforce.
Black Americans are at a distinct disadvantage when seeking to become veterinarians . Although many Black children dream of wanting to become a veterinarian, when they do not see their race represented, they assume that the veterinary profession isn’t for them and move towards alternative, seemingly more accessible, career aspirations. Most veterinary schools require applicants to gain work experience by volunteering at a veterinary practice, forgoing a salary and getting this experience is not easy or equal for Black veterinary hopefuls. We hope the 10 episode podcast will serve as a valuable tool for decision makers and game changers in the veterinary industry. Understanding the hardships faced by aspiring veterinarians is half the battle, the important task at hand is to extend this awareness into the real world and change policies and practices to create a more inclusive industry.
“The most obvious first step to resolving this disparity is raising awareness. When people realize that we are amongst the whitest professions, they can understand why mentorship from early in school, throughout undergraduate education, and through the pre-veterinary and veterinary training period is so important,” Dr. Khanna said.
Mentorship is hugely important to ensuring more Black Americans enter the veterinary field. Children of all races aspiring to be veterinarians must be encouraged to attain their goal, and given continued support as they navigate the challenges of the veterinary school application process. Veterinary mentors are needed to help bring more diversity to the industry to improve the field.
“When I realized the additional challenges put on Black Americans who strive to be a veterinarian, I realized I needed to extend myself further to address the problem for these individuals. It’s important for people to realize that anyone can be a mentor. They only need to demonstrate empathy toward the problems others are facing,” Dr. Khanna said.
Ethos is promoting diversity in the veterinary profession by committing $500,000 to educational programs, including diversity scholarships to the Purdue – VetBloom Veterinary Nursing Distance Learning (VNDL) program. The program, which is designed to teach students the knowledge, information, and skills necessary to practice as a veterinary nurse, offers an Associate of Applied Science degree.
“The power of education can’t be understated, and Vetbloom is proud to partner with Purdue University, because they are known to have one of the top-ranked online veterinary nursing programs in the country. The scholarships we are contributing are important; they make it feasible for someone to become a credentialed veterinary technician while continuing to work full time, and these individuals will not be encumbered by student debt as they launch their career,” Dr. Welch said.
Committing to Change
Ethos is distinctly aware that the veterinary profession has a diversity problem, and is committed to proactively making changes to amend this deficiency.