MVMA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

While creating the MVMA strategic plan for 2022-2025, the MVMA Board of Directors aimed to evaluate and integrate initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The MVMA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Action Team formed in 2021 and developed a Diversity Mission Statement that was approved by the MVMA Board of Directors in October 2021. 
The MVMA Diversity Mission statement is as follows: 

The Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association maintains that diversity, equity, and inclusivity promote excellence. We are committed to increasing representation, support, retention, and accessibility in the veterinary profession to foster a sense of belonging within our communities.

Acknowledgment: The veterinary medical profession, and the communities it serves, have been and continue to be disproportionately white, heterosexual, cis-gender and without consideration of disabilities. In the State of Minnesota veterinary practices and institutions stand on the traditional, ancestral and contemporary land of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge the complexity of the systems that limit representation and accessibility, and we pledge to utilize our understanding of this history to inspire change.

We strongly support and will actively promote the American Veterinary Medical Association’s goals from the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession.

MVMA Awarded "Best in Business"

The MVMA was honored to receive a national “Best in Business” Award from the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE) this past July.

The award recognized the MVMA’s efforts in launching a partnership between our association, Mission Animal Hospital and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School - Twin Cities. There are 37 Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study programs across the country with 100s of corporate partners, but until now, there had never been a partnership in a veterinary clinic.

“This partnership is a step in the right direction to help high schoolstudents from all backgrounds access the eterinary profession.” MVMA Executive Director Kelly Andrews said.

Learn more about the partnership featured on FOX-9 here.

The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) also provided a deep dive into the partnership with reflections from Mission Animal Hospital staff here.

Steps Taken in 2022 to reflect this mission statement and move it forward are outlined below. If you have interest in joining the DEI Action Team, bi-monthly virtual meetings, please reach out to [email protected] today! 

1. Promote interest in the veterinary profession at the elementary, middle school and high school age levels.

The DEI Action Team worked on and put forward a proposal that was approved by the MVMA Board of Directors to partner with Mission Animal Hospital and the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Twin Cities work study program.

Mission Animal Hospital will be working with four high school students this academic year (a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior). The students will begin in a veterinary assistant role to give them an on-the-ground view of what a day in the life of veterinary professionals looks like, but the role will evolve to fit individual interest and provide a well-rounded experience. This opportunity will allow four students from a diverse background to learn the inner workings of a veterinary clinic through a program with a track record of success. There are 32 Cristo Rey programs across the country and this will be the first ever partnership in the veterinary profession. We hope to be a pilot program across the country to provide more opportunities for youth in diverse populations to access the veterinary profession and have a goal to partner with more Minnesota clinics and school work study programs in the future.

“We are grateful for the MVMA’s partnership in this program for the inaugural year,” said Dr. Kelsey Bertamus, DEI Action Team member and Hospital Director at Mission Animal Hospital. “We hope that it is a program that can grow beyond Minnesota in the future and really help build a pipeline of fantastic young people from diverse backgrounds into the veterinary profession.”

The DEI Action Team is looking into areas to partner with at elementary and middle school age groups next. 

2. Determine the best metrics and methods to understand existing diversity within the current Minnesota veterinary medical profession as a foundation to monitor progress.

You may have noticed changes related to race and gender selections when filling our your MVMA renewal form this year. The MVMA aligned more closely with the AVMA when it comes to tracking race and gender with these changes. This will allow us to objectively monitor diversity in order to ascertain mission progress.

3. Commit to at least an annual MVMA Lunch N Learn on DEI to encourage continued awareness and learning for MVMA members.

DEI Action Team member Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota presented “The History and Future of Veterinary Medicine: A DEI Discussion” at the MVMA Lunch N’ Learn on Tuesday, November 8th. 

4. Increase diversity related scholarships by the MVMF and others.

This summer the DEI Action Team brought a proposal forward to the MVMF Board to review their scholarships and assess opportunities for scholarships related to diversity and inclusion. We are currently working with the MVMF Board of Directors to put an action plan in place towards this goal.