An Update on the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Apr 20, 2021, 08:44 AM by Michelle Hardy


The ACVIM’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, propelled into creation after this past summer’s protests and displays of systemic racism and injustice, was convened in Fall 2020. Comprised of 8 members across specialties and 1 Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, this Task Force was created out of the collective desire for change. The Task Force was charged with making recommendations to the Board for the actions required to actualize the tenants described in the ACVIM existing statement on Diversity and Inclusion.

Having met monthly over the course of the last several months, the Task Force has begun to assemble a set of recommendations that reflect their desire to enact evidence-based, sustainable change. These actions support the vision and mission created by the Task Force to guide their work:

Vision: We, ACVIM members, commit to diversity, equity and inclusion with transparency and accountability, which is a requirement for our profession to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.  

Mission: The ACVIM Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce will develop and implement a strategic plan that eliminates systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by its membership. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and targeted change efforts, current and prospective members will be empowered to both celebrate diversity and achieve their full potential through which the collective advancement of veterinary internal medicine will ensue. 

The Task Force agreed that data on the current state of diversity and inclusion efforts is necessary to define meaningful action. With thanks to its enterprising and dedicated Chair, Chamisa Herrera, DVM, MS, DACVIM, ACVIM was invited to participate in a collaborative project with the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), The cornerstone of the project is a survey designed to better understand the factors that contribute to clinician wellness and will include questions on key demographic data as well. The Task Force, along with other participating recognized veterinary specialty organizations (RVSOs), had the opportunity to identify survey topics that focus on barriers to specialization as well as faculty recruitment and retention- as they relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In exchange, RSVOs will be asked to send an identical survey-already slated to reach specialists in academia via veterinary school deans- to their members, which will expand the sample to include private practitioners. Once the survey is complete, the ACVIM will receive access to aggregated data, as well as ACVIM-specific aggregated-data, where appropriate.

This project is just one small step in what will be a comprehensive set of actions we enact in the coming year. These actions will be guided by a newly established standing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which the Board of Regents approved at their April meeting. Over the course of the next several weeks, the Board and Task Force will engage in active communication and work together to co-create a charge and goals for this new committee. 

The ACVIM, guided by our values and with the support of you, our members, is unwavering in its commitment to maintaining a community of inclusiveness that respects the diverse backgrounds and values of its members, candidates, staff and partners in all of its activities. Watch for future communication in the coming weeks about our continued efforts.

Task Force Members

Chamisa Herrera, Chair

Lucia Alvarez Antoniotti
Angie Arora
Evalyn Galban
Henry Green
Seika Hashimoto Hill
Jean-Yin Tan
Avenelle Turner
Ewan Wolff
Shannon Carter, Staff Liaison
Sara Lust, Staff Liaison
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