New Year Begins with Special Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion in PVM
During the week surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the College of Veterinary Medicine’s chapter of VOICE (Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment) hosted Inclusive Excellence Week with several virtual events focused on the theme, “Finding Our Voices.” VOICE provides a common ground for veterinary students, staff, and faculty from all backgrounds to exchange ideas and celebrate diversity.
“As a minority entering a predominantly white career field, organizations like Veterinarian’s as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment have been major influencers in creating a sense of inclusion and hope for me and other students,” said Malaycia Goldsmith, president of Purdue VOICE. “There is power in actions of inclusion. That power is formed by making connections, learning from, and uplifting people that have differences – actively working to listen, understand, and support one another.” Malaycia further shared, “As a member and the president of our Purdue VOICE chapter, I have continuously been filled with gratitude to be surrounded by and learn from the people within this community, whether they are our members or supporters. I hope that our organization can continue to shed light on socio-cultural issues and influence all of us to continue to reflect and see how we can play a part in increasing diversity in spaces that need it.”
Kicking-off Inclusive Excellence Week, the MLK Day of Service included a food drive in support of Purdue’s ACE Campus Food Pantry. Food donations were accepted all week long in the college’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Lynn Hall as well as at locations around campus.
A Q&A Panel entitled, “Making Room in Veterinary Medicine,” featuring Danielle Lambert and Dr. Tierra Price, was hosted via Zoom on Tuesday, January 19. Danielle Lambert is the founder of Snout School, an organization dedicated to supporting women in veterinary medicine. Dr. Tierra Price is the founder of the Black DVM Network, an organization for Black veterinary professionals to connect and grow while increasing the exposure of diversity in veterinary medicine.
A virtual panel discussion on Wednesday, January 20, featured some familiar faces to the PVM family. The panel consisted of Dr. Henry Green, the first African American veterinary cardiologist and a former PVM faculty member; Dr. Margie Lee, one of the first African American veterinary graduates of the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine; and PVM alumna, Dr. Mary Beth Leininger (PU DVM ’67), the first woman to serve as president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The trio led the panel discussion on “Breaking the Ceiling: Significant Firsts in Veterinary Medicine.”
The Inclusive Excellence Week schedule continued Thursday, January 21 with a Zoom session featuring Dr. Kate Toyer, the president of the Australian Rainbow Veterinarians and Allies, an organization dedicated to supporting Australian Veterinarians who are part of the LGBT+ community. Dr. Toyer led the open forum focused on creating the new norm in veterinary medicine.
Finally, on Friday, January 22, the week of activities was capped-off with a virtual Amazon Prime Watch Party for the movie Hidden Figures, which tells the story of a team of female African American mathematicians who played a pivotal role in NASA’s success during the Space Race in the 1960s. “VOICE put a lot of work and effort into Inclusive Excellence Week, and it showed,” said Dr. Latonia Craig, the college’s assistant dean for inclusive excellence. “I was happy to see so many faculty, staff, and students support their programming. We want to do everything in our power to continue to promote engagement in the area of diversity. I’m so proud that VOICE is an extension of the PVM Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Their commitment and innovative programming will take this college to greater heights.”
Writer(s): Jonathan Martz, PVM Communications Intern | firstname.lastname@example.org