Dr. Iverson Bell, Jr. Gives Keynote Address During PVM’s Inclusive Excellence Week
The 2019 VOICE (Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment) Inclusive Excellence Week at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine was punctuated with a Martin Luther King, Jr. Keynote Address on January 23 by Dr. Iverson C. Bell, Jr., who is a teacher, training doctor, and psychiatrist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Bell is one of four Black training directors out of 248 psychiatry residency programs and one of the 840 Black psychiatrists out of 28,000 in the U.S. He also is known in veterinary circles as the son of a small animal veterinarian who practiced in Terre Haute, Ind., and lectured at Purdue. Dr. Iverson Bell, Sr. worked tirelessly to promote equal opportunity for all and to increase diversity in the veterinary profession, and his legacy is honored through both the national Iverson Bell Symposium hosted by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), and the Iverson Bell Midwest Regional Diversity Summit.
The address by Dr. Iverson Bell, Jr., titled “Wellness Challenges for Students and in the Real World”, introduced the idea of coping with burnout by making decisions for the intended outcome of holistic fulfillment. In particular, Dr. Bell encouraged individuals to make career decisions around their love and joy for the work and also to serve as peer support for individuals who may be experiencing burnout in school and/or in their career. He emphasized that self-care plays an integral part in reaching personal fulfillment. The event was co-sponsored with Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Diversity Action Committee (DAC). Purdue Veterinary Medicine’s Inclusive Excellence Week, presented by VOICE, coincided with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day January 21. “Initiated in the spring of 2018, Inclusive Excellence Week is designed to inspire, empower, and engage groups by sparking discussions around diversity and inclusion,” said VOICE president Edris Grate, of the DVM Class of 2021. He added, “It was an honor to host Dr. Iverson Bell, Jr., not only for his knowledge pertaining to wellness and psychology, but also for the legacy of his father, Dr. Iverson Bell, Sr.”
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