While pet owners represent a diverse population, the same might not be true for those who care for their animals, according to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM).
This discrepancy is the driving force behind a new partnership between the school and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). The agreement, which will connect RUSVM to MANRRS chapters across the U.S, strives to increase diversity in the veterinary profession through education and added opportunity.
According to a recent American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) survey, while more than one-third of African Americans own a pet, over 85 percent of veterinarians are white, RUSVM says.
The partnership aims to fill this gap and strengthen the pipeline of highly qualified, diverse students pursuing an education in veterinary medicine.
“It is vitally important the field of veterinary medicine is representative of the communities we serve, and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine is thrilled to take this important step toward increasing diversity in the field,” says the school’s dean, Sean Callanan, MVB, CERTVR, MRCVS, PhD, FRCPATH, DIPLECVP. “As one of the most ethnically diverse AVMA-accredited veterinary schools, the partnership with MANRRS will provide new opportunities for prospective, current, and former students, and pave the way for a more diverse workforce.”
Under the agreement, MANRRS members will have access to RUSVM-provided webinars and digital workshops. Additionally, qualified students may apply for a newly launched MANRRS scholarship. The partnership will also help establish a professional chapter of MANRRS at RUSVM, creating mentoring and networking opportunities for current students.
“While facing the dismal reality that more than 85 percent of veterinarians are white, MANRRS is committed to partnering with RUSVM to provide underrepresented students access to pursue a career in veterinary medicine,” says Ebony Webber, chief operating officer for MANRRS. “Provided that MANRRS is one of the largest organizations focused on diverse talent in agriculture, our student and professional members expect MANRRS to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in areas where minorities are needed to help solve the world’s biggest challenges relating to animal health.”