Pawsibilities aims to connect individuals from underrepresented backgrounds interested in the veterinary profession to both opportunities available and to potential mentors and advisors within the field.
Groups underrepresented in veterinary medicine: individuals that identify within a sociological category that is discriminated against and whose advancement in the profession has historically been disproportionately impacted by this category. This includes gender, race, ethnicity, geographic, socioeconomic, religion, disability status and educational disadvantage. Examples:
– Individuals from non-Caucasian race and ethnic backgrounds such as Hispanic/Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, and those of two or more races
– Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds
– Non-heterosexual individuals
– Individuals with disabilities
Non-Hispanic Caucasians currently make up 86% of the veterinary profession, while Asian, Hispanic and African American/ Black veterinarians make up 6, 4 and 2% respectively.
The AAVMC reports that for 2017, 78% of veterinary students enrolled in U.S. Colleges of Veterinary Medicine were Caucasian, 2.5% black, 4.8% Asian and 5.4% Latino/ Hispanic. The AAVMC reports that for 2020, 76% of veterinary students were Caucasian, 3% African American/ black, 5.5% Asian and 7.5% Latinx/ Hispanic.
In terms of applicants, the AAVMC reports that in 2016 78% of applicants were Caucasian, 4.4% were African American/black, 7.6% were Asian and 10.7% were Hispanic. In 2020, 75% of applicants were Caucasian, 3.4% were African American/black, 3.7% were Asian and 10.4% were Hispanic.
Veterinary medicine is one of the least diverse professions in the United States. For this disparity to end, more students from diverse backgrounds must enter and remain in the veterinary path. Pawsibilities is a web and mobile platform designed to aid in the recruitment and retention of diverse students in the veterinary profession through resources, discussion forums and the showcasing of diverse veterinarians. Pawsibilities pools available resources and provides information about veterinary medicine to educate students about the myriad of paths they may take within the profession. It also provides a forum to discuss the various challenges and pitfalls on the path to becoming a veterinarian or veterinary technician. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Pawsibilities showcases veterinarians and veterinary technicians from a variety of backgrounds, to emphasize that anyone from anywhere can join the profession. From these interactions, we aim to give students a smoother path along their career, as well as a sense of belonging in veterinary medicine. Pawsibilities is a useful tool for pre-veterinary students, veterinary and veterinary technician students, veterinary technicians, and veterinarians to find their place in the profession and share it with others.
Mentorship is crucial to a successful career. A great mentor can inspire and elevate someone to new heights for everyone’s betterment, while a poor supervisor kills dreams in cradle. Despite this critical importance to a profession, there are shockingly few resources devoted to developing mentorship skills in veterinary medicine. Our field would benefit greatly from instruction at every point in a veterinary professional’s career. Before we even become vets and vet techs, students must learn to identify great mentors, the people who will help us grow as people and professionals, while eschewing those who would write us off or drive us away.
Pawsibilities VetMed Inc. is 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation registered in the state of North Carolina. We are focused on diversifying the veterinary pipeline within the United States, although we are open to international participants as well.
Valerie & Seth
Dr. Valerie Marcano, DVM, PhD completed the dual veterinary and PhD student at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University, and her PhD in the department of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, where she is currently completing her third year of veterinary school. Dr. Marcano has served on the executive board of the University of Georgia’s chapter of Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) in the capacity of Events Coordinator, Vice-President and President. She has also served at the past Vice President, past President and current Co-President of the national chapter of VOICE. Dr. Marcano is a member of the Blue Key Honors Society, a Saul T. Wilson Jr. Scholar and a University of Georgia Ph.D. Scholar of Excellence. She has received numerous scholarships including the 2017 Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship, 2017 the Black Faculty and Staff Organization (BFSO) Scholarship and a yearly scholarship from the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) between 2014 and 2018.
Dr. Seth Andrews, PhD is a post doc in Biological Engineering at the University of Georgia. He received his PhD in Biological Engineering from the University of Georgia in 2019, his Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering from Cornell University. Over the course of his graduate work, Seth has mentored numerous high school and undergraduate students. He also served as the president of the University of Georgia’s Engineering Graduate Club.