Racial/Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Competence in Veterinary Medicine: Addressing Changing Demographics and Language Barriers
This thesis explores the current lack of racial and ethnic diversity of the veterinary profession and its predicted impact on the future of the profession due to the rapidly changing US demographics. It reviews the timeline of the measures taken by the American Medical Veterinary Association (AVMA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) to increase attraction and retention of individuals from misrepresented ethnic and racial groups. However, it acknowledges that racial and ethnic diversification of the veterinary profession is a long-term goal spanning several generations, and that for this reason, implementation of immediate grassroots methods of improving cultural competence between doctors and, at the very least, the fastest growing minority group in the United States, is of great importance. In an attempt to contribute to the diversification of the veterinary profession and advocate for cultural competence by removing common language barriers, a portion of this project consisted of translating two veterinary emergency medicine pamphlets into Spanish. These pamphlets were created by VCA Animal Referral and Emergency Center of Arizona, a practice in one of the states listed as having a large Spanish-speaking population. Veterinary medicine brochures and pamphlets are available in Spanish on the AVMA website, but not only are emergency medicine documents not included among those translated, a vast majority of practices do have them physically available at their practices for their limited English proficient clientele. Addressing cultural competence by removing language barriers can easily be completed by providing physical copies of multi-language translated material in practices across the nation.