Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

“While it is undeniable that the veterinary profession has made many important contributions to both human and animal health, one wonders what other contributions could have been made by a more diverse and inclusive profession.”

BVER DEI Praxis: At Bridgetown Veterinary Emergency + Referral (BVER) we strongly believe that a diverse hospital team is the catalyst to exceptional care and innovation. Our commitment to the goal of improving overall diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is a shared responsibility among our leadership, doctors, and staff. We embrace and celebrate the value of team composed of people with varied ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, religious beliefs or a lack thereof, and physical and mental abilities. Our commitments to DEI will extend into our hiring practices and into our hospital protocols. They will extend into our community involvement, and our dedication to providing accessible medicine to the pet families we serve.

This has been a pivotal year for us, filled with the challenges, stresses, and excitement of building a new hospital from the ground up. This specialty hospital is unique: envisioned, owned, and created by the women who will also work within its walls. BVER will be our house, and we are the builders. As we work to lay a foundation to support clinical excellence, we have also incorporated an intentioned focus on integrating inclusion, equity, and belonging into our evolving and developing workplace culture. And with any new project, things will change, new rooms will need to be added, some walls will need to be reinforced, and certain design aspects may need to be completely torn down and rethought. And to this we say: bring it on. We will continually strive to foster a hospital environment that allows our team members to be empowered to grow and thrive so that we are able to do the right thing by our employees, clients and their pets, referral partners, and community.

“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.”
~ Coretta Scott King

In 2020, an overwhelming number of painful events resulted in a national outcry demanding recognition and insisting on change. Veterinary medicine joined in this collective demand and how we respond will no doubt define the future of our country as well as our profession. This awakening has since led to education, discussion, collaboration and listening, and we now know better how we as a profession are contributing to racial and social inequity and are focused on what needs to change.

Personally, I decided to join the team at BVER in part because of a strong foundational commitment by management to promote racial and social justice and reform within veterinary medicine and our community.

Veterinary medicine requires resiliency, creativity, collaboration, grit, endless problem solving, and deep compassion. As veterinary professionals we must learn to communicate with our patients without the benefit of a shared language, using instead close observation and trained intuition to determine what care they need. We are curious and comfortable with change, endlessly confronted with new ways of practicing medicine that require us to shed long held views and modify the previous standard of care. I truly believe that if we apply these core characteristics to the fight to confront and dismantle racism, discrimination, and inequity within our field, we will find we can together elevate our profession beyond the ceiling of the current status quo. Let’s get to work.
~ Ally Darrow, DEI Ambassador

“Radical simply means “grasping things at the root.” Fighting for a new society where everyone can thrive.”
~Angela Davis

At BVER, we are aligned with the ‘principles of inclusion statement made by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AVMA): We affirm the value of human diversity for the enrichment of the community and believe diversity fosters a climate conducive to success for all members of the veterinary medical education community. We confront and reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, political beliefs, geographic, socioeconomic, and educational background or any other differences that have led to misunderstanding, hostility and injustice.

  • Organizational Commitment
    • Pledge of active participation from leadership in the learning process and incorporation efforts of diversity, equity and inclusion in the hospital setting as we collectively work to decrease disparities and barriers faced by marginalized employees and clients.
    • Utilization of inclusive hiring practices, including an intention to identify and remove bias.
    • Formation of an inclusive, equitable, and safe space for all team members, clients, and referral and community partners regardless of their role, organizational longevity, gender, age, race, religion, abilities, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation.
    • Promotion of justice, anti-racism, support, and clarity within hospital protocols and procedures related to our response to discrimination, racism, and microaggression.
    • Commitment to staying educated, participating in CE, and consulting professionals to learn and expand our knowledge in DEI.
  • Self-assessment:
    • Intention to actively and repeatedly take inventory, address biases, and make an honest and objective assessment of our DEI action plan.
    • Designate a BVER Diversity Ambassador as part of our leadership team with the following charges:
      • Create and implement clear anti-racist hospital policies and procedures
      • Lead a hospital diversity committee, with participants from every staff level
      • Collaborate with management to maintain our DEI foundation and update future goals, ensuring that we remain committed as a team and a community partner.
    • Outreach and Engagement
      • Advance lasting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within our hospital structure.
      • Create a sense of belonging and value within our organization for all employees.
      • Develop a collaborative network across all team members, referral partners, clients, and community partners.
      • Empower all team members to grow and make a difference within and beyond our hospital walls.
    • Accessibility:
      • Consider the barriers for people who belong to a marginalized group to be heard or to advance into leadership positions within the hospital.
      • Work to promote autonomy for every team member such that they can make decisions, learn, organize, and achieve excellence.

“It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those other identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make the strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”
~ Audre Lorde

Veterinary Diversity Organizations:

  • American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges Diversity Initiative: https://www.aavmc.org/programs/diversity/
  • Black DVM Network: https://www.blackdvmnetwork.com/
    • BlackDVM Network is a safe space for Black veterinarians, technicians, and assistants to connect, learn, and empower one another. We provide a community for Black veterinary professionals to advance their careers and access economic opportunities. We believe successful veterinary professionals are core to the advancement of veterinary medicine. We’re shaping the future as bold, authentic leaders who want to see excellence and success available to all veterinary professionals.
  • National Association of Black Veterinarians: https://nabvonline.org/
  • Underrepresented No More: https://www.urnm.org
    • Underrepresented No More serves to inspire all pre-veterinary students and the resources found here will put you on the path to realizing your aspirations of becoming a veterinarian.
  • Pawsibilities Vet Med: https://pawsibilitiesvetmed.com
    • Pawsibilities Vet Med is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups into the veterinary profession.
  • Vibe The Canadian VIBE Network (Veterinary Professionals Instilling Black Excellence): https://www.facebook.com/CanadianVIBENetwork/about/
  • Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association: https://mcvma.org/
  • Latinx Veterinary Medical Association:https://latinxvma.org/
  • Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals
  • PrideVMC: https://pridevmc.org/
  • Veterinarians as One for and Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE): https://vetvoicenational.org/
    • VOICE is a student-run organization that seeks to increase awareness, respect, and sensitivity to differences among all individuals and communities in the field of veterinary medicine.
  • Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association” https://vetvoicenational.org/
  • Woman’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative: https://wvldi.org/
  • Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE)

Veterinary Wellness and Mental Health Organizations and Resources

Reading:

Podcasts:

Allyship resources and education programs: