Jacksonville Organization helps diversify veterinary medicine

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Humane Society has recognized the lack of diversity in the veterinary field and is now doing something about it through a partnership with the Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology on the West Side.

Diamond Canada, Isyss Cornely, and Savannah Davis are 17-year-old seniors at Duval County High School, and all three have interests in caring for animals that began at a younger age.

“I’ve always grown up with animals, that’s all I’ve ever known,” said Canada.

“I want to work with pets. That’s something I really want to do, ”Cornley said.

“Taking care of them and making sure the animal’s life is the best they can have has always made me happy,” said Davis.

The three students are participating in a diversity, equity and inclusion program that focuses on the veterinary medicine field. The program was funded by a $ 10,000 grant donated to the Humane Society by the First Horizon Foundation. As part of the program, the Humane Society works with the Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology to help students interested in careers in veterinary medicine, particularly minority students. The Humane Society administrators told News4Jax that the goal of the program was to create employment pathways for historically underrepresented populations – both in Jacksonville and in the animal welfare and veterinary sectors.

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A diversity, equity, and inclusion program focused in the veterinary field was funded by a $ 10,000 grant donated to the Jacksonville Humane Society by the First Horizon Foundation. (WJXT)

A study conducted by the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health at Tuskegee University found that animal welfare is predominantly white women.

Dr. Lisa Greenhill, MPA, Ed.D., senior director of institutional research and diversity at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, announced that minorities make up only 8% of the veterinary workforce.

Dr. Shonte, Bishop of Forever Vets Veterinary Clinic in Jacksonville, is part of that 8%.

“It is very important to have professionals who look like people in the community, especially under different cultural aspects of the treatment of animals. Culturally, animals mean many different things to different people, ”said Bishop.

She also said that most people choose to become veterinarians at a young age.

“But when there is a lack of contact with this medical field, it’s hard to know that the career option is even an option for them,” Bishop said.

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Dr. Shonte Bishop is a veterinarian at Forever Vets veterinary clinic. (WJXT)

Canada, Cornley and Davis will spend 250 hours at the Humane Society, working directly with the veterinary team. As a participant, you must learn and master several veterinary skills. The three ambitious young women said that they have gained a lot of practical experience so far.

“We can do blood tests by testing for different things. We are also allowed to have vaccinations, ”said Canada.

“Put things in the system when it needs to go in, give drugs,” Cornley said.

“I’m learning about different diseases animals can have,” said Davis.

“It is our desire to develop programs that actively recruit and nurture a more diverse population in the animal welfare field while providing education and training for youth in our community,” said Denise Deisler, CEO of JHS.

“To see and actually be a part of it and do this while we are in high school is really amazing to us,” Cornley said.

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All three students participating in the program told News4Jax that one day they would like to have their own veterinary practice.

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