Purdue Center of Excellence for Diversity, Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine takes human-centered approach to advance profession

September 15, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University on Sept. 15 will begin offering online certificate programs in diversity and inclusion for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, educators and students through the Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine. The center was developed by Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine in partnership with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The center is a virtual resource and training center designed to provide veterinary students, professionals, and support staff with intercultural skills needed to be successful in an increasingly diverse world, said Sandra San Miguel, Purdue Veterinary Medicine associate dean for engagement and professor of veterinary clinical sciences. She said additional programs and resources will be added to the center as it grows.

"This new center and the certificate programs administered by Purdue will help fulfill one of the key recommendations of the 2011 North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium report, which emphasized that intercultural awareness was a core competency that all veterinarians should possess 'because culture and belief systems impact delivery of veterinary medical care,'" San Miguel said.

The certificate programs that begin this month are designed for those who seek to improve their communication, leadership, teaching and learning, and cultural competency skills and who are committed to fostering welcoming work and learning environments, she said.

"At the Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine, we envision an inclusive veterinary profession that is prepared to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse society," said Willie Reed, dean of Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine. "We believe that establishing a veterinary workforce where all individuals are inspired, supported, and empowered to achieve their full potential will lead to breakthroughs in animal and public health."

Beth Sabin, AVMA's associate director for international and diversity initiatives, agrees.

"One of the goals stated in the AVMA policy on diversity is to promote an understanding of the varied needs of the diverse communities our members serve," Sabin said. "To this end, the AVMA is committed to actively promoting and maintaining diversity in our membership and organization and educating our members regarding the value of diversity."

Participants in the certificate program will complete a combination of online learning modules, community engagement and cultural experiences to build their skill sets in navigating the diversity of generations, sexual orientation, ability, gender, race and ethnicity, San Miguel said. Certificates and nine hours of continuing education credit are available upon program completion.

"The development of this certificate within the new center represents an important step in advancing the long held goal of the AAVMC to include lessons on diversity and inclusion within the DVM academic program. We are delighted that this content is available to DVM students as well as other veterinary professionals," said Lisa Greenhill, AAVMC's associate executive director for institutional research and diversity.

The program will launch Monday (Sept. 15). Pre-registration for groups is now available. For more information or to pre-register, go to humancentervedvetmed.org 

Sources: Sandra San Miguel, 765-494-8052, amass@purdue.edu

Willie Reed, 765-494-7608, wreed@purdue.edu

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