Dr. Ruby L. Perry, dean of the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, was named the Zoetis Champion of Diversity during the recent Southeastern Diversity Matters Virtual Symposium. Hosted by the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, 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.
Tuskegee veterinary medicine alumna 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 recognizes 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,” said Jenkins. “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.”
Dean Perry is also actively involved in the veterinary profession in serving on the executive board as secretary of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). She is also serving a six-year term on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission as an appointee by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. Her service to the university in addition to her college responsibilities have included interim chief of staff and most recently acting president for Tuskegee University during President McNair’s illness.
The virtual diversity symposium featured multiple break-out and discussion sessions, as well as keynote remarks presented by: Thomas 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 the 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 all people.
“This symposium offered a platform for open and honest discussions regarding challenge in the veterinary profession and provided avenues by which we can support our fellow veterinary professionals to identify, overcome and eliminate these challenges,” said Johnson. “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.”
“I am honored to be recognized by my colleagues as being a champion of diversity at the 2020 Southeastern Diversity Matters Symposium hosted by Auburn University. My colleague, Dean Johnson and I made the intentional decision to work together as leaders to begin impactful conversations of change on diversity, inclusion and equity in the veterinary profession. I am also appreciative of our supportive professional relationship,” Perry said.
“I am also appreciative to Zoetis for awarding me the 2020 Zoetis Champion of Diversity Award that further emphasizes my purpose and commitment to making every effort to affect change that positively impacts diversity, inclusion and equity in our beloved veterinary profession. As a Tuskegee graduate, I am proud of our legacy of educating 70% of the African American veterinarians in the nation which speaks volumes. Although we are proud of this statistic, there remains much work to be done to change the landscape of our veterinary profession by increasing the number of veterinarians of color in the profession and increasing the 2% of black veterinarians in the nation,” Perry concludes.
About Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine
The Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine (TUCVM) is the only veterinary medical professional program located on the campus of a historically black college or university in the United States. The TUCVM has educated more than 70 percent of the nation’s African-American veterinarians and received recognition as the most diverse of all schools/colleges of veterinary medicine in the U.S. The primary mission of the TUCVM is to provide an environment that fosters a spirit of active, independent and self-directed learning, intellectual curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, ethics, and leadership; and promotes teaching, research and service in veterinary medicine and related disciplines.
About Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine
The College of Veterinary Medicine is the South's original and nation's seventh oldest veterinary medical program, celebrating 126 years. We prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics, and research. The college provides programs of instruction, research, outreach, and service that are in the best interests of the citizens of the state of Alabama, the region, the nation, and the world.
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately10,600 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.