Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Tuskegee is Tops for Black Veterinarians

October 12th, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine

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Despite efforts to draw more people of color, veterinary medicine remains the least diverse field in the medical profession. An October 1 article in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) reports that,

according to the 2000 U.S. census, 92.4 percent of veterinary professionals were listed as “white non-Hispanic.”

At that time, 73.6 percent of physicians and surgeons were listed as white non-Hispanic, as were 82.8 percent of dentists, 86.5 percent of optometrists, 78.9 percent of pharmacists, and 80.4 percent of registered nurses.

JAVMA reporter Greg Cima writes that since 2000, “the number of students from minority groups underrepresented in veterinary medicine has increased from less than 10 percent in 2005 to just less than 12 percent.” Lisa Greenhill, associate executive director for diversity at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, is optimistic about this tecent growth. She explains: “It’s still incredibly small compared with other health professions, but it is a significant increase in a short period of time.”

The redux for African Americans is that Black folks seeking care for their pets will rarely encounter health professionals of their same ethnicity. More significantly, those African Americans who live in Black neighborhoods will usually have to leave their communities in order to find healthcare for their pets.

There is some good news on the veterinary front, though. The Montgomery, Alabama Advertiser recently reported that, “More than 70 percent of black veterinarians in the U.S. are Tuskegee grads,” and that “the school continues to train 50 to 60 percent.” Despite the low numbers of of African Americans in veterinary medicine nationwide, Tuskegee University’s School of Veterinary Medicine continues to recruit and retain (and graduate) disproportionate numbers of Black students in the field.

As I addressed in a previous blogpost, historically Black does not always mean exclusively Black, or even majority Black. In addition to Black students, Tuskegee’s vet school enrolls Asian American students, white students, Latino/a students, and international students from India. Indeed, Tuskegee’s school of veterinary medicine seeks not only to increase the Black presence in this field, but to diversify the field across ethnicities. Advertiser reporter Kathy Seale writes,

Tuskegee, which is semiprivate, remains the lone veterinary school at a historically black college. They plan to continue their mission to help the profession more accurately reflect the population, they said, and to work with other schools to help further that cause.

–Posted by Ajuan Mance

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Posted in African American Students, African Americans, Black Colleges, Black Students, Current Events, Diversity, Higher Education, race, Tuskegee University, Uncategorized, Veterinary Medicine

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