WSVMA Board votes to support WakeUpVetMed initiative
At their Sept. 12 meeting, the WSVMA Board of Directors approved support for the WakeUpVetMed Initiative introduced earlier in the year to the AVMA. The WSVMA is the first state veterinary medical association to approve support for the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative. Dr. Marie Sato Quicksall, president-elect of the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association (MCVMA) from Bainbridge Island, attended the meeting by invitation to speak about efforts by the MCVMA and nine other key organizations to improve DEI in the veterinary profession through their call to action.
The WSVMA’s strategic plan has included the objective to address DEI within the Association as a pathway to realizing the vision for the organization, but until now no action has been taken. At the meeting, the Board also took an additional step of approving the formation of a standing committee to work on DEI activities, recognizing that sustainable actions and review will need to be an ongoing effort, not just the work of a limited-time task force.
WakeUpVetMed is a broad call to action for the veterinary community at large to work collaboratively in creating transformational and lasting change in the lens of DEI. Initially sent to the AVMA, the list of actionables can be adapted to fit veterinary organizations, educational institutions or individuals:
- Self-Assessment – Understanding where the organization currently stands in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Accessibility – Ensure equitable process for all members, including BIPOC members, to join and grow within organizational Leadership.
- Accountability and Transparency – Implement processes for which organizations will be held accountable in regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- Expanding Membership – Identify opportunities to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive membership.
- Organizational Commitment – Ensure that organizations and their leadership is culturally competent and acting in the best interests of all of its members.
- Investment – Provide financial and structural commitments to improve the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in veterinary medicine.
- Outreach and Engagement – Advance lasting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives between veterinary partners at the AVMA, state VMAs, constituent allied veterinary organizations, academic institutions, veterinary practices and associates (all stakeholders).
The Board’s decision to become more focused on DEI actionables will help us develop innovative ways to enhance and build strategies to benefit our members, our organization and the profession, where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard and where every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. It pushes us further to ensure that each member of our community has the full opportunity to thrive and it will help us discover how we can do a better job of attracting diverse populations that will ultimately lead to a stronger and better veterinary profession.
The WSVMA is committed to making positive change and we encourage members to join us. A charge for the committee will soon be developed and advertised to the membership. But in addition to considering this for the Association, ask how you can enhance your own efforts within your practice and community.
Posted October 23, 2020