LMU-CVM Students Complete Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program
(Left to Right): Emma Pawlowski, Da’Ne Irvin, and Audrey Emery at the CVM Farm and Family Day in Fall 2019 at the VOICE booth teaching children the Spanish words
for animals and telling them about the diversity of languages that exist in the world. Audrey Emery wrote about this experience in her project for the program.
Nineteen students from Lincoln Memorial University-College of Veterinary Medicine (LMU-CVM) completed the Purdue University Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine Certificate Program. The program is designed for veterinary medical, veterinary technology, and pre-vet students who want to foster inclusive learning environments at their educational institutions and develop the skills to succeed as veterinary professionals.
“This is a fantastic program that broaches topics of diversity, equity and inclusion as they arise in the veterinary space,” said Micha C. Simons, VMD, associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery at LMU-CVM. “It prepares the participants for compassionate and empathic interactions with the populations they will serve.”
Students had to complete and document three hours of volunteer community service, participate in four pertinent activities and submit written reflections from each. Each student also completed a capstone paper that discussed how they would use the information from the program to strengthen diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine.
Audrey Emery, a third-year veterinary student at LMU-CVM, said her goal was to learn how to better relate to people from all walks of life, and the program surpassed her expectations.
“I have taken the knowledge that I gained in this course and am using it to impact my community at LMU-CVM. I am more involved in our Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) chapter and even hold an eBoard position,” Emery said. “The ability to be involved in meaningful conversations surrounding the issues of diversity and inclusion has been phenomenal and I am excited to see these kinds of events occurring more frequently here at my school.”
Emery’s most memorable experience was being part of organizing a Diversity and Inclusion Workshop for first-year veterinary students. The workshop was held as part of the Professional Skills Course but was entirely student organized and led. Six students in the certificate program along with students in the VOICE chapter developed the curriculum and guided the students through meaningful activities to increase their awareness of diversity and inclusion.
“It was so empowering to be part of a group of student leaders with the same goal of promoting and educating people about the importance of diversity and inclusion,” Emery said. “To then actually take our ideas, use them in the workshop, and foster discussion and learning was amazing.”
Rebekah Larson, a third-year veterinary medicine student at LMU-CVM, says the program has served to expand her perception of what the terms diversity and inclusion mean.
“I have come to recognize and appreciate more fully the level of diversity that I am exposed to every day. Some areas of diversity are readily recognized as unique or different, such as those with physical disabilities, persons who speak a foreign language, or those with a significant age difference, while other areas of diversity are less apparent,” Larson said. “This program has enabled me to become more aware of the diversity that exists and to appreciate each individual as just that – an individual who is unique in their own right and diverse in their own way.”
Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine is located on LMU’s main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee, with additional academic facilities in nearby Lee County, Virginia. LMU-CVM is an integral part of the University’s medical programs and provides real-world, community-based education in a collaborative learning environment. For more information about LMU-CVM, call 1.800.325.0900, ext. 7150 or visit us online at vetmed.LMUnet.edu.