Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Human-Animal Interaction

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging: The Basics

As the name implies, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consists of four main categories.

Diversity

Diversity is defined as the representation of differences among individuals, including gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability and age, among others [ 1].

Equity

Equity refers to the fair and impartial access, treatment, opportunities, advancement, and distribution of resources to all individuals [ 1]. It is important to note that equity is not the same as equality. Where equality means that individuals or a group of individuals are given the same resources and opportunities, equity recognizes and accounts for the fact that the circumstances and historic causes of disparities for an individual or a group of individuals may not guarantee similar outcomes [ 1].

Visual of the difference between equality and equity.

Image from the Interaction Institute for Social Change.

Inclusion

Inclusion refers to an outcome that ensures all individuals, regardless of background or identity, are and feel welcomed. Inclusivity requires equal participation, decision-making authority, and development opportunities within an organization or community [ 1].

Belonging

Belonging, the newest addition to the framework and language around diversity, equity, and inclusion, refers to the feelings and perceptions of individuals that their identities are not only accepted, but also integrated and celebrated. A sense of belonging means that individuals feel valued for their authentic selves and do not feel required to adjust or assimilate to be part of the group.

Visual representation of diversity, equity and inclusion

DEI In Human-Animal Interaction

Perceived Importance and Actual Diversity in Human-Animal Interaction

To begin to evaluate the state of DEI in the human-animal interaction (HAI) field, directors of HAI centers around the world were surveyed about their perceptions and the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Directors answered the following questions:

"How important do your colleagues and other professionals in the field consider diversity to be?”  

Nearly 78% of directors believe that DEI is “Very” or “Extremely Important” to their colleagues and other professionals in the field.

Visual representation of perceived importance of diversity

 

“How diverse are the participants and clients in the field of the human-animal bond?”

“How diverse are the researchers, practitioners, and educators in the field of the human-animal bond?” 

Only 14% of directors view the participants and clients represented in HAI to be “Completely” or “Very Diverse.” Under 5% of directors consider the researchers, practitioners, and educators in the field to be “Completely” or “Very Diverse”.

Graph of perceived diversity in HAI

 

The demographics of the HAI center directors reflect the lack of diversity in the field. The majority of directors are white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and neurotypical.

Graph of director demographics

 

Conclusion 

There is a large gap between the perceived importance of DEI and actual diversity of both participants and professionals in the field. While most of the center directors stress the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, there is also a lack of diverse representation in the field.

Strategies to Promote DEI in the Field

Current Stategies

Currently, human-animal bond centers are using a variety of initiatives to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in their programs and across the field. These initiatives include methods to increase accessibility (such as scholarships and distance learning opportunities), hiring initiatives, conducting and promoting HAI research in diverse populations, and offering coursework and trainings related to DEI.

When asked to describe how centers are currently promoting DEI, directors listed four strategies most frequently:

Graph of current implemented strategies to promote DEI

Additional Stategies

There are countless other strategies that can be used to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field. Some additional examples include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Investing in scholarships and financial aid for historically marginalized students, faculty, and staff.
  • Funding programs that support the retention and success of historically marginalized students, faculty, and staff.
  • Offering culturally competent academic support and mental health resources.
  • Implementing hiring initiatives to support the hiring of historically marginalized students, faculty, and staff.
  • Funding research in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the field.

The OHAIRE Lab's Commitment to DEI

The OHAIRE Lab recognizes the gap in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in HAI and is committed to promoting DEI in our program and beyond. Although this list is ongoing and continues to grow as we learn how to improve in this area, below are some examples of our pledge to DEI:

  • Requiring team participation in DEI-focused learning opportunities and trainings. Examples include:
    • Anti-racism workshops offered by Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine, and subsequent team discussions
    • Mandatory disability education training during onboarding
    • Seminars and presentations offered by Purdue University and Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine on DEI
    • Suicide prevention training and relevance to study populations
    • Safe Zone and Trans Inclusion trainings
  • Conducting research on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within HAI
  • Seeking to hire students, faculty, and staff from historically marginalized communities
  • Incorporating input from relevant communities in research design and implementation
    • Advisory panels with individuals from studied populations before launching studies

This list is ongoing and will continue to grow as we learn how to improve in this area.

DEI Resources

The resources below were compiled by the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The resources below apply to any field and are available to all. We encourage everybody, regardless of discipline or position, to utilize these resources to promote DEI.

Websites & Online Resources

Documentaries

Some of these documentaries may require subscriptions or the creation of a free account to access.

Podcast Episodes

All these podcasts are free and do not require subscriptions.

Books 

  • Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People , Mahzarin R. Banaji & Anthony G. Greenwald (2013)
  • Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces, Karen Catlin (2019)
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Dr. Robin DiAngelo (2017)
  • A Race is a Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Persons in Your Life, Janet E. Helms (1992)
  • How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi (2019)
  • Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions , Tiffany Jana & Michael Baran (2020)
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo (2018)
  • Beautiful Country: A Memoir, Quian Julie Wang (2021)

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging in HAI Graphics

Graphic 1

Graphic 2

Graphic 3

Graphic 4

 

The information and graphics above were compiled and created by undergraduate research assistant  Marjorie Leblanc. The resources presented above were compiled by Clare Jenson,  Nira Grynheim, and the OHAIRE Group.

References

  1. Extension Foundation Impact Collaborative (2021). Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion .
  2. Interaction Institute for Social Change. (2016).  Illustrating equality vs equity .
Resources and information were also enhanced by our lab’s participation in the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine Center of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine's certificate programs. To take the course, enroll here.
 

    Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

    © 2022 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by PVM Web Communications

    If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact PVM Web Communications at vetwebteam@purdue.edu.