[lg policy] Nondiscrimination language added to diversity policy of AVMA

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed May 10 10:51:56 EDT 2017

Nondiscrimination language added to diversity policy

Posted May 10, 2017

​The AVMA Board of Directors agreed April 7 to update the “AVMA Policy on
Diversity and Inclusion” to add nondiscrimination language that includes,
among other things, both gender identity and expression as well as
parental, marital, and pregnancy status. The modifications reflect the
importance of diversity and inclusion in ensuring access to veterinary care
for all segments of the U.S. population, according to the recommendation

The diversity and inclusion policy, available here
<http://jav.ma/policyondiversity>, now reads as follows:
Diversity and Inclusion
The AVMA is committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the
profession of veterinary medicine so that we can best serve the animals,
the public, and our members. Our goal is to mirror the growing diversity of
the communities we serve and to promote an understanding of their varied
needs. To this end, we are committed to actively promoting and maintaining
diversity and inclusion in our membership, leadership, and organization,
and educating our members regarding the value of diversity and inclusion.
This commitment embraces the value of the many areas of the veterinary
profession, and the value of our members’ and their clients’ varied
backgrounds, including but not limited to race; ethnicity; physical and
mental abilities; gender; sexual orientation; gender identity or
expression; parental, marital, or pregnancy status; religious or political
beliefs; military or veteran status; and geographic, socioeconomic, and
educational backgrounds.

The first AVMA Policy on Diversity, adopted in 2004, simply stated that
“The AVMA is committed to diversity in all aspects of the profession so
that we can best serve the animals and public. This commitment to diversity
pertains to professional areas of service and to cultural, ethnic, gender,
and racial representations.”

The policy was revised in 2012 with changes suggested by the now-sunset
AVMA Member Services Committee. The revisions added language to the policy
primarily in three areas:

   - Promotion of inclusion.
   - Acknowledgment that veterinarians live and work within communities
   that are constantly changing.
   - Recognition and valuing of the many different aspects of diversity.

Regarding the last point, the MSC had noted that the preceding three or
four decades had presented the profession with a huge gender shift and
exposure to new cultures, concepts, and challenges.

​ ​Dr. Karen Bradley, District I representative, and Jeff Olivarez, Student
AVMA president, listen during the AVMA Board of Directors’ April 6-8
meeting. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)  ​

Review of the “AVMA Policy on Diversity and Inclusion” was initiated in
2015 in response to discussions at the House of Delegates regular annual
session that year and comments received through the AVMA at Work blog, and in
preparation or the standard five-year review as directed by AVMA policy.
More recently, the Lesbian and Gay VMA started a letter-writing campaign to
encourage the addition of wording on gender identity and expression.

Finally, the change establishes consistency among AVMA policies following
revisions to the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, to which
similar nondiscrimination language was added at the April 2016 Board
meeting. The document had been amended at the behest of the House of
Delegates and Dr. Elizabeth Sabin, associate director for international
and diversity initiatives.


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