May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month across the US: a month dedicated to paying tribute to the history, contributions and influence of AAPI individuals throughout our country's history.
In honor of AAPI Heritage Month and in the spirit of recognizing and celebrating AAPI individuals in veterinary medicine, the ACVIM is pleased to spotlight the Association of Asian American Veterinary Medical Professionals (AAVMP). The AAVMP works to bring the Asian-American veterinary community together and to empower, mentor and support Asian veterinary professionals both in the US and internationally.
ACVIM Oncology Candidate, Kelly Hicks, DVM, currently serves as the Visual Communications Director of the AAVMP and shared some information with the ACVIM about the mission, work and future goals of the organization.
About Dr. Kelly Hicks
I am a first-year medical oncology resident at Oregon State University. I am a multiracial, Filipino-American and currently the Visual Communications Director for the Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals (AAVMP). My role through the AAVMP involves managing and creating visual content for all of our social media accounts. My interests include hiking and traveling in my free time.
Can you tell us a bit about the mission and goals of the AAVMP?
"The AAVMP was founded by two veterinary students, Hira Basit and Stephanie Kuo, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Our founders created the organization with the goal in mind to highlight all underrepresented veterinary medical professionals, particularly those of Asian descent.
The AAVMP is currently two years out from our founding date, and our mission of building a community for Asian veterinary medical professionals worldwide remains the same. As an organization, we want to continue to inspire, empower, and support our members through continual mentorship, scholarship, and educational opportunities.
Currently, the AAVMP has 14 student chapters at AVMA-accredited veterinary schools, over 2,000 followers on Instagram, and members in 7 countries worldwide. We hope that through this organization, we can learn, share, and connect with all AAPI veterinary professionals across the globe. In addition, the AAVMP works alongside other DEI organizations as we seek a more diverse veterinary medicine profession."
What would you like to see organizations like the ACVIM do to support and recognize AAPI individuals in veterinary specialty medicine?
"As a current ACVIM Candidate, I have directly experienced the competitiveness that is associated with matching into a residency program. Through the AAVMP, I have met and become friends with several Asian veterinary colleagues, mostly international veterinarians. A common struggle that I’ve heard from my Asian colleagues is the difficulty of obtaining a Visa when trying to advance their education through United States internship and residency programs. I hope that one day we can provide more support for our international veterinarians by supplying them with more opportunities and resources to overcome the hurdles of acquiring specialty Board-certification."