Educational Session: Curriculum and Leadership

Sunday, March 15, 2015

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Teaching Veterinary Ethics: The Why and the How
Grace Mulcahy, University College Dublin
Bernard Rollin, Colorado State University
Kate Millar, University of Nottingham
Alison Hanlon, University College Dublin
Manuel Sant'Ana, University College Dublin

"The Why and the How of Teaching Veterinary Ethics" will be an interactive, provocative and thought-provoking interactive session that touches on some of the Big Questions facing the veterinary profession and wider society. Dr. Bernard Rollins will lead off with a talk covering why we should teach ethics to veterinary students, a review of how such teaching has changed in veterinary curricula, current trends, and where the future of veterinary ethics teaching may take us. Dr. Kate Millar will then follow on with examples of the research and teaching nexus of veterinary ethics at the University of Nottingham. Drs. Alison Hanlon and Manuel San t'Ana will discuss their research on the experience of veterinary professionals in Ireland in dealing with ethical conflicts, and on the use of vignettes in teaching veterinary ethics at University College Dublin. The session will conclude with a panel discussion involving each of the speakers, with a debate on what the veterinary profession can/should do to take a more active and visible role in contemporary issues in bioethics.

Women’s Leadership in Veterinary Medicine: A Call to Action, and WHY!
Donald Smith, Cornell University
Julie Kumble, Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts

Women now make up the majority of veterinary students and new graduates. However, women veterinarians still fill a minority of leadership positions, mirroring what is seen in society at large (government, industry, etc.). Change is underway with 31% of the AVMA House of Delegates made up of women, but only two of fifteen voting members of the AVMA Executive Board are women. In academia, only six of 30 veterinary schools have women deans and approximately 25% of tenured professors are female. The reasons behind the female leadership gap are multifactorial with four categories: systemic, cultural, psychological and economic. We present relevant statistics of women leaders in several areas of the profession, including industry and clinical practice as well as academia and organized veterinary medicine. But it is not just about numbers. Through our interviews with over 50 mid career and senior women leaders, we also make a compelling case that the very future of the profession depends on women swelling the ranks of leadership to forge a 21st century paradigm for veterinary medicine as an integral member of the health professions. The economic health of animal medicine is one thing, but the bigger prize is our relationships with human health and environmental sustainability. Articulate and forward-thinking women with well-developed leadership skills can lead our effort to create that future. The era of veterinarians simply treating animals and preventing animal disease is over. We must grasp the opportunity to enhance human health through animals. Women leaders are beginning to embrace that vision, and are absolutely critical to fulfilling this mission. Dr. Smith and Ms. Kumble are founding board members of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI), established in July, 2013 and made up of diverse and creative leaders emboldened to forge substantive change. To date eight veterinary schools have formed or are in the process of forming student chapters to help students engage in women’s leadership.