List of Black Diplomates Sparks Discussion and Action

In this week’s VetCrunch news roundup, we discuss diversity in the veterinary industry, announce the BVA veterinary photographer of the year competition, share hope for Ukraine and celebrate 100 years of The New Zealand Veterinary Association.

Dr. Coretta Patterson, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and group medical director for research development at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, recently took it upon herself to honor her fellow Black diplomates. 

Historically, the ACVIM has not collected racial demographic information from their 3000 plus members, therefore Dr. Patterson decided to compile a list of names of Black diplomates with the help of Marian Tuin, the ACVIM membership manager.

Coretta found 58 Black diplomates on the list she compiled. Whilst not exhaustive, this is the most detailed list of Black veterinary diplomates to date. 

The findings highlight the lack of representation Black people face in veterinary medicine. According to the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVC), the number of veterinary students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups is higher than ever before at 23.2%. Data from the 2022 Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program (which had 2,094 applicants) also found that Black applicants only accounted for 2.9% of the total applicants, compared with 70.2% for white applicants.

The findings have shown a change is needed and sparked a group of AAVC veterinary specialists to put out a paper on the current state of diversity in postgraduate training programs.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is also working to update and improve their ability to capture demographic data about its members, including race, ethnicity, gender, and employment information.

“If we look at human health care and know that human health care suffers when there are not enough providers patients can relate to based on a cultural and social basis, that’s likely true in veterinary medicine, also.”

“It’s important from a historical perspective to honor the past and look where we’ve gone and how we can make veterinary medicine and veterinary specialties appealing.” Said Dr. Patterson. 

Why Should You Care?

It is imperative that the veterinary medicine community understands the importance of creating an environment that is not only reflective but supportive of a variety of cultures and professionals at all levels. While there are still clear disparities in the representation of black people in veterinary medicine, it is possible for this to change.

But long-term efforts must be made to provide access, ensuring that those seeking to pursue their passion for animal care and science can be successful in doing so regardless of their racial identity. Increasing the visibility of black practitioners can help shift veterinary medicine from its currently limited perspectives towards a field with more inclusive ideals and objectives. 

This kind of progress creates an opportunity for every aspiring veterinarian. We all have a role to play when it comes to increasing diversity within our industry – everyone from students and clinic owners to policymakers – which is why we need you to take action and make sure our profession is as equitable and inclusive as possible. 

Ultimately, valuing diverse opinions and experiences leads us one step closer to providing better care for our patients and a better life for those in this profession.

Click here to read the full article.


The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has announced their 2023 veterinary photographer of the year is officially open. This marks the eighth year of the organization’s competition, which showcases veterinarians’ creativity and imagery of their daily lives, colleagues, and animals they care for.

This year the competition features a brand-new category ‘vets at work’.

The categories are:

  • Vets at work – capturing the day-to-day life of a vet.
  • All creatures great and small – showcasing the diverse animal kingdom.
  • Happy pets that make us smile –  pretty much speaks for itself!

All BVA members are encouraged to take part, no matter their ability!

BVA President Malcolm Morley said: 

“This competition showcases the unique talents, creativity and skills of BVA members.”

“This year, we would love to see how our members can use their passion for photography to capture the essence of our profession. This is an opportunity to show what life as a vet is really like, to capture the hard work and challenges on camera but also to demonstrate the kindness, skills and compassion of our incredible colleagues – as well as the amazing animals they care for.”

“This is your chance to show off your talents. We are so excited to see the stunning entries start to pour in and look forward to announcing the winner at this year’s BVA Live event in May.” 

The competition closes Sunday 12th March 2023. Finalists will be invited to BVA Live in May, where the winners will be unveiled and attend the prizegiving.

Why Should You Care?

They say a picture tells 1000 words! And right now our brains are going in a very mischievous direction about how to subvert the comp in order to do some social good…

However, we’ll keep our slightly left of field ideas to ourselves. Get your own!

So, do you love to take photos on your phone? Or perhaps use photography as a hobby outside of work? Why not put the photos to good use and enter the 2023 BVA Veterinary Photographer of the Year competition?

The competition is a great way to see different perspectives of veterinary medicine from all across the UK, plus you could get invited to BVA Live AND win a prize – what more persuading do you need! Jump on the trend. 

Click here to read the full article.


Ever since the Russians invaded Ukraine in February 2022, there has been a rising number of rabies cases found in abandoned dogs and cats. However, thanks to the support of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), the president of the Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Dr. Vladlen Ushakov, has announced they are now able to start offering rabies vaccinations, microchipping, and even spay/neuter surgeries in five Ukrainian cities. Dr. Ushakov went on to say that more than 2,000 animals have already been vaccinated against rabies.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has managed to raise more than $634,000 in relief for Ukraine.

Speaking of the support and the efforts to care for animals in Ukraine, Dr. Ushakov said,

“My dear veterinary family, we will not grow tired of working in this field—the field that we chose for the love of animals—just as our people do not grow tired of defending our home, our Ukraine.”

Our immediate efforts since the invasion are directed toward saving animals and supporting veterinarians and pet owners.

With your help, we have financially supported more than 200 veterinarians and veterinary clinics.

This is more than help. Together with AVMA and AVMF, we gave hope to Ukrainian veterinarians that they are not alone in this war.” 

Why Should You Care?

News cycles move on from stories as they age or grind on. But reality does not follow the same pathway and the suffering in Ukraine is very hard to quantify from the comfort of a safe, warm office in the UK.

It matters that we continue to support Ukraine in big ways – such as providing aid and arms to feed their people and defend their land. But also in smaller ways, such as supporting our fellow professionals so they can do their jobs in the hardest of circumstances.

Bravo to this initiative and all who have supported Ukraine in the past year. While we pray for peace, while there is war, we don’t forget you.

To read the full article, click here.


The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) has recently announced its 100-year anniversary. The first ever NZVA meeting was held on the 15th of January 1923 at the Victoria University of Wellington, where the 26 founding members voted unanimously to form the NZVA. C J Reakes was the first known elected president of the association, whilst A M Brodie was the first elected Vice President and W T Collin the first Secretary-Treasurer. 

The (NZVA) has also announced the nominations for their 2023 awards – where they acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of others in the profession – are now open.

The NZVA Board and Awards Committee have also introduced a new award for 2023: the Environmental Sustainability Award, which aims to recognize those making some practical application of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

Why Should You Care?

The 100-year announcement calls for celebration and reflection on where the association started and how far it has come today. This is also highlighted in the NZVA 2023 awards which acknowledge individuals who are making a difference in the profession. 

Which is all well and good. But wowzers, we can’t help being struck by just how dramatically the profession has changed in the intervening century. Not a woman in sight in this photo! One can’t help but wonder what the gentleman in this photo would make of the technological, gender, ownership, and societal changes that have blown through both the world and vet med since. It’s fascinating to look back to get a sense of just how far forward things have gone. 

But back to the present…. if you have a friend, colleague, or manager that you think deserves an award, why not nominate them? 

To find out more, click here.

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