More than 300 leaders and other stakeholders in academic veterinary medicine—the highest number ever—attended the AAVMC's 2017 Annual Conference and Iverson Bell Symposium, March 10-12, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
They gathered to collaborate, honor achievements, share strategies and work toward building a better future for academic veterinary medicine.
Themed "Building a Diverse Workforce to Serve Global Needs," the conference focused on the development of diverse and inclusive environments within global academic veterinary medical institutions. Leading educators shared insights on building diversity and inclusiveness on campus through student and workforce recruitment, promoting intercultural competency, fostering appropriate culture and climate, and other topics.
Conference sessions ranged from “Bridging the Gap between Animal Care Professionals and the Spanish-Speaking Workforce,” to “Creating a Climate of Inclusion for LGBTQ+ Colleagues,” which focused on the importance of mentorship and supportive student groups such as Veterinary Students One in Culture and Ethnicity (VOICE) and the Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association. Other sessions focused on programs that encourage students to immerse themselves in other cultures through global research or other international projects.
Several sessions also focused on how to improve diversity in recruitment and admissions, from early attempts to interest K-4 students in veterinary medicine and other STEM careers to the use of more holistic, qualitative admissions practices.
In acknowledgement of the tremendous political changes underway in Washington, D.C., respected political analyst Peter Cook was invited to share his perspective and insights during a Friday afternoon plenary session. In a humorous and thoughtful presentation, Cook analyzed the factors that led up to one of the largest election upsets in American history and discussed the new administration.
During the AAVMC’s Advocacy Day on Thursday, March 9, more than 80 representatives con ducted more than 140 visits with Congressmen, Senators and staffers. Several prestigious awards and honors were presented during the conference, and on Saturday evening, a formal military retirement ceremony was held for AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe as he completed 24 years of military service as a veterinarian.
The biennial Iverson Bell Symposium honors Dr. Iverson Bell, a visionary who spent his life serving both veterinary medicine and education and who fought for the rights of the downtrodden and oppressed. Dr. Bell’s vision was one of equal opportunity for all and he rose above his era’s pervasive stereotyping and racism to achieve great things.
The 2017 AAVMC conference was sponsored by Boehringer-Ingelheim, Zoetis and AVMA-PLIT.