Zoetis Champion Of Diversity


By Mike Jernigan

Dr. Ruby Perry, dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, was named the Zoetis Champion of Diversity during the recent Southeastern Diversity Matters Symposium. Hosted by the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine on August 29, the biennial conference featured topics related to diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine. The 2020 symposium was sponsored by Zoetis, Inc., and Banfield Pet Hospital, and focused on designing and maintaining wellness programs that incorporate key concepts of diversity, inclusion and equity.

As the first female dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dean Perry’s outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession and veterinary education align with Zoetis’ commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the industry and inside the company. Dr. Christine Jenkins, chief medical officer and vice president of U.S. Veterinary Medical Services and Outcomes Research at Zoetis, presented the Zoetis Champion of Diversity Award to Dr. Perry during the afternoon session. The award recog- nizes outstanding efforts by faculty leaders and members who champion diverse and inclusive cultures within veterinary colleges to attract and nurture future veterinary leaders.

“Dr. Perry has served as a strong mentor and a role model over the years for many veterinary students—including me—and it is an incredible honor to present her with the Zoetis Champion of Diversity Award as part of the 2020 Southeastern Diversity Matters Symposium,” Jenkins said. “Establishing and sustaining a diverse and inclusive culture must start at the top of an organization, and Dr. Perry has once again led the way as the first female dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the first African-American female, board-certified veterinary radiologist in the American College of Veterinary Radiology.”

The virtual symposium featured multiple break-out and discussion sessions, as well as keynote remarks presented by: Thomas (Thom) Gossom, Jr., ’75, actor, writer and communications consultant; Lisa Greenhill, senior director for Institutional Research and Diversity at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC); and Dr. Christine C. Jenkins, head of Zoetis’ Medical Affairs, Academic and Professional Affairs, Scientific Information and Outcomes Research Groups. More than 130 attendees from 14 states and 17 institutions joined in critical conversations on topics related to challenging students for constructive action, how to recognize signs of distress, and encouraging health and emotional wellness across both education and the veterinary profession.

“As a veterinary community we pledge to commit to using our knowledge and skills for the benefit of society,” said Dr. Calvin Johnson, dean of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Dean Perry exemplifies this commitment and it is an honor to serve alongside her, helping to prepare career-ready veterinarians and biomedical scientists committed to diversity and compassionate care for animals and people.

“This symposium offered a platform for open and honest discussions regarding challenges in the veterinary profession, and provided avenues by which we can support our fellow veterinary professionals to identify, overcome and eliminate these challenges,” Johnson said. “Auburn is very fortunate to have had the opportunity to host the 2020 Diversity Matters Symposium and convene some of the most influential thought leaders to facilitate these important conversations focused on the intersection of diversity, inclusion, equity, health and well-being across the veterinary profession.”

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