Dec, 2023

Advancing Equity, Inclusion & Diversity in the Veterinary Profession

Currently, the veterinary profession is not representative of society. To increase diversity in the field and ensure that we are representative of pet enthusiasts broadly, Mars Veterinary Health and our businesses are committed to changing how equity, inclusion, and diversity (EI&D) are championed within our organization and across the veterinary profession. EI&D initiatives across Mars Veterinary Health include:

Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition

Mars Veterinary Health helped establish the Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition (DVMC), which works to increase representation of veterinary professionals from diverse communities including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), to ultimately improve access to quality care for more pets and service to the community.

Members include all Mars Veterinary Health North America practices (Banfield Pet Hospital, BluePearl Specialty & Emergency Pet Hospital, VCA Animal Hospitals), Antech, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), Boehringer Ingelheim, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, IDEXX Foundation, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, National Association for Black Veterinarians, Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association, PrideVMC, Chewy, and Zoetis. The coalition works in partnership with a commission established by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, the Veterinary Medical Association Executives, and others, together aiming to drive EI&D across the profession.

As DVMC members, Mars Veterinary Health, Banfield, and Royal Canin helped announce an annual scholarship program in partnership with the 1890 Foundation to provide no less than five scholarships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for outstanding students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with an interest in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

League of VetaHumanz Partnership

Mars Veterinary Health sponsors the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine’s League of VetaHumanz, which teams up with community organizations to provide access and support for underrepresented children who aspire to veterinary careers through an alliance of veterinary superheroes in academia, practice, research, government, and industry. The program engages under-resourced communities to educate and inspire kindergarten through fourth-grade children with veterinary lessons, activities, stories, and self-guided educational STEM experiences.

In 2022, VCA launched a pilot program with VetaHumanz at its St. Clair Shores clinic in Michigan where veterinary team members interacted with students to help them learn about veterinary careers. VCA plans to bring VetaHumanz to more of its hospitals in the future.

Pawsibilities Vet Med Partnership

Mars Veterinary Health sponsors and partners with Pawsibilities Vet Med to help increase diversity in the veterinary profession through mentorship, professional development, and resources to all intersecting identities, including but not limited to ability, ethnicity, gender identity, non-traditional paths, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, religion, and veteran status.

Vet Set Go Partnership

VCA and Vet Set Go encourage future veterinarians by improving their access to programs and education through hands-on experience shadowing and educational resources to help students overcome barriers often faced when pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

Banfield Pet Academy™

Banfield Pet Academy was established 15+ years ago to inspire future veterinary professionals by introducing them to veterinarians and veterinary technicians in their community. Banfield veterinary professionals volunteer their time to educate and inspire nearly 10,000 elementary school, middle school, and high school students annually through presentations, behind-the-scenes hospital tours, and job-shadowing experiences. Since its launch, the program has reached more than 100,000 kids, and the practice has made all three editions of Banfield Pet Academy available at no cost to the entire veterinary industry via Banfield Exchange.

Part of Banfield Pet Academy, Banfield’s NextVet internship program is aimed at strengthening and diversifying the veterinary pipeline by creating career pathways for students 16 years and older to explore a future in veterinary medicine.

Banfield also partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expand the reach of Banfield Pet Academy and help inspire high school students from underrepresented backgrounds to consider a future in veterinary medicine.

National Association of Black Veterinarians Partnership

BluePearl partners with the National Association of Black Veterinarians (NABV), a network of individuals and organizations committed to advocating, providing support, and cultivating an inclusive community for African Americans in veterinary medicine. BluePearl aims to help NABV achieve its objective of promoting veterinary medicine to underrepresented groups by working with K-12 students, pre-veterinary medicine undergraduate students, and students in professional veterinary degree programs across the US.

Atlanta Humane Society Veterinary Clinic Support

Atlanta Humane Society announced the construction of a new veterinary clinic opening in Spring 2022, made possible with VCA’s support. The clinic will provide accessible veterinary care to a qualifying population of pet owners experiencing financial hardship or who need support to keep pets healthy and in their homes.

Diversity Resource Groups

Thousands of Mars Veterinary Health Associates participate in their practice’s internal Diversity Resources Groups (DRGs), which exist to enable our people to connect to share their personal experiences, and challenges, and support one another. BluePearl also launched the Abilities Beyond Limits and Expectations (ABLE) DRG, to celebrate and empower Associates of diverse abilities to reach their full potential by providing an inclusive environment that advocates and supports inclusivity and accessibility.