Inside INdiana Business

Organization seeks to diversify veterinary workforce

(photo courtesy of Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine has launched an organization designed to help diversify the veterinary workforce. The university says the League of VetaHumanz will highlight role models in the veterinary industry as superheroes in conjunction with 18 member institutions throughout the country.

Purdue says the veterinary workforce is currently more than 90% white and the goal of the organization is to provide underserved youth access and support to pursue veterinary careers. The VetaHumanz will represent academia, practice, research, government, and industry; the university says they will provide resources for veterinary students to engage with children in their communities after graduating.

“We have an amazing team of superheroes, including teachers, community leaders, artists, graphic designers, communications experts, evaluators, students, veterinarians and experts in diversity, equity and inclusion who are all thrilled to take our role modeling programs to the next level and inspire future veterinary professionals,” said Dr. Sandra San Miguel, founder of the League of VetaHumanz and associate dean for engagement in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We can all make the world a better place if we work together and use our powers for good.”

The organization plans to provide “resources in a box” for children without access to in-person role models. The resources will allow children to learn about a veterinary role model and perform a veterinary-related educational activity at home.

The league is being supported by a five-year, nearly $1.4 million grant from the Science Education Partnership Award program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Purdue says “VetaHumanz” is a take on the term “metahumans,” which in the DC Comics universe are “human beings who get superpowers after a dormant metagene is activated during a time of extreme physiological stress.”

Purdue says the league’s impact will be evaluated by the Evaluation and Learning Research Center in the university’s College of Education. The evaluation will study changes in attitude toward the veterinary profession, knowledge of veterinary science and the impact of live and virtual role modeling, among others. 

You can learn more about the League of VetaHumanz, including a list of member institutions, by clicking here.