AAVMC’s DiVersity Matters Program Receives Award of Excellence From ASAE

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) recently received a national 2019 “Power of A” Silver Award for its DiVersity Matters program from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  The AAVMC launched DiVersity Matters in 2005, partly in response to a widely acknowledged lack of diversity in veterinary medicine. DiVersity Matters works to help member institutions recruit and retain underrepresented persons as students, faculty and staff members. The program also works to share best practices and inspire and recognize programs in member institutions and develop broader awareness throughout the profession and society about the need and the value of creating diverse and inclusive environments within the profession.

“For 14 years now, our staff has diligently worked to advance diversity and inclusion, with an enterprise-wide emphasis, creative programing and leading initiatives,” said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “We are passionate about this work and it’s gratifying to earn this recognition, which also honors the work being accomplished by countless volunteers at our member institutions.”

Led by the AAVMC’s Senior Director for Institutional Research and Diversity Dr. Lisa Greenhill, DiVersity Matters has increased awareness and helped facilitate a substantial increase in the number of racial and ethnic minorities entering the profession. At the launch of program, there were 951 students of color in the colleges. Presently, there are 2,614 students of color in the colleges—a 275 percent increase. There is a modest increase in the percentage of racial/ethnic minority tenure track faculty at the U.S. colleges, as well as an increase in the number of women administrators and research faculty.

In addition, most of the colleges now have a dedicated staff person responsible for diversity programming for students and faculty. Many of the colleges now offer curricula on diversity, inclusion, cultural competence and humility, and several schools have mandatory requirements in this area of coursework. Others have developed certificate programs or sponsor students and faculty to participate in the Purdue University Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine program (the AAVMC sponsors scholarships for members wishing to enroll faculty and students in this program). Many colleges also use the AAVMC’s podcast, Diversity and Inclusion on Air, to supplement relevant content on campus.

Finally, AAVMC climate studies have encouraged colleges to provide additional resources into student organizations and climate-enhancing programming on campus.

ASAE’s “Power of A” Awards, the industry’s highest honor, recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national and global levels. The “Power of A” Awards reward the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals who work tirelessly to solve problems, and strengthen lives, the workforce, the economy, and the world.