Saturday, October 21st • Center for Equity and Inclusion • 4  CE Credits

Presented with support from:


Your Role in Creating an Inclusive Veterinary Practice

In the past diversity alone was long held as a goal for creating modern and supportive workplaces. Today, the goal has shifted to a focus on inclusion and, to a larger extent, equity and belonging. But what does it mean to be inclusive?

In this session, we will discuss practices that contribute to building and maintaining inclusive workplaces, how to troubleshoot challenges and highlight necessary, critical frameworks that support making meaningful changes.

Learning Objections

  1. Examine current workplace environments and identify what may be needed to build and sustain an inclusive environment that supports underrepresented clients and individuals in veterinary medicine.
  2. Discuss and justify the need for inclusive practices to organizational leaders and colleagues.
  3. Name 2-3 individual and organizational actions that support inclusion at work and be able to summarize the importance of intersectional lenses of experience.
  4. Differentiate between diversity, equity, and inclusion and power, belonging, and justice.
  5. Troubleshoot common challenges that may arise in the process of building an inclusive workplace environment.

Attracting and Retaining Talent Through Belonging

The veterinary profession is experiencing an acute crisis in the recruitment, staffing, and retention of veterinarians and credentialed and experienced veterinary support staff. Individuals are leaving their clinics, exploring options outside of clinical settings, and leaving the profession altogether. The staffing crisis has created a concurrent “buyer’s market” where individuals in high demand have many options to consider for their next workplace. As a profession, we’ve investigated and continue to look into the systemic issues fueling the staffing crisis. We’ve also discussed the importance and need for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) as a values-based strategy for recruitment and retention of individuals from undersupported communities with the aspiration of employees working as their “authentic selves.”

While diverse solutions are needed to solve the profession’s issues, one thing remains certain – people want to be seen, valued, and feel that their contributions are influential. How can organizational leaders attract young professionals looking for a work environment that not only supports career development but gives them a place to belong? On the other hand, if you’re a job seeker (or will be), how can you ensure that your employment prospects are aligned with your values and will lead to fulfillment?

In this session, we’ll discuss factors contributing to “the great resignation” and review and explore creative ideas that integrate our need for staffing solutions with principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Learning Objectives

  1. Name some factors that could contribute to workforce belonging.
  2. Give three examples of benefits that help with job retention and satisfaction.
  3. Identify three factors that you align with that would help with your long-term retention.
  4. Learn to ask the right questions to help you stay in your job, and learn to identify areas to investigate in company values.

Addressing Micro and Macroaggressions in the Workplace

Microaggressions are unintended or in some cases intended small statements or actions that bear directly and negatively on the aspects of a person’s marginalized identity. Taken serially, these can cause significant harm and distress and loss of position and employees. Substantial effort has been put into helping people to identify implicit bias and reduce the occurrence of microaggressions in the workplace.

Macroaggression suggests overt actions against marginalized identities. At this time in the veterinary space, microaggressions are likely far more common than macroaggression however we live in a time where marginalized people are increasingly more exposed to this likelihood, particularly in the Black and gender-diverse queer communities (which are not mutually exclusive).

Responding to microaggressions has an established methodology based on training and discussions, although this may be applied differently depending on the institution. Macroaggression response is something that we have not had to employ as often, but the reality of the national situation is that we will likely be faced with difficult scenarios in the future. In this session, we’ll learn how to identify these incidences of harm in the workplace, understand their impact, and discuss prevention strategies as well as effective “in-the-moment” responses.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn the difference between micro and macroaggression
  2. Understand why macroaggression is an increasing likelihood
  3. Discuss responses to microaggression
  4. Discuss responses to macroaggression


Melody Martinez CVT, she/her/ella
Acorde Consulting

Learn more about Melody

Melody Martínez is a Certified Veterinary Technician, the President of the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association, and the first-generation daughter of Afro-Caribbean, working-class immigrants from the Dominican Republic. She grew up in Massachusetts and began her veterinary career in 2007. Melody has worked in small animal general practice, emergency and critical care, and as a Senior Animal Caregiver at Farm Sanctuary, where she oversaw the medical care and husbandry needs of 800 rescued farmed animal residents at their New York sanctuary.

In 2015, she pivoted to a career in nonprofit management, community organizing, and fundraising with organizations dedicated to racial and economic justice. Melody currently works as a racial equity and organizational change management consultant at Acorde Consulting. She provides organizations with training, assessments, and executive coaching to advance their diversity, racial equity, and inclusion efforts. Leading with an analytical and compassionate approach, she supports clients in becoming more connected, making meaningful culture shifts, and leading with integrity. Melody holds certifications in Equity-Informed Basic Mediation and Human Resource Management. Melody strongly believes in mutual aid and increasing access to veterinary care for people experiencing poverty or homelessness with animals – you can regularly find her putting her values into action as a regular medical volunteer at PAW Team.

Learn more about Dr. Wolff

Dr. Wolff,  is a small animal internist at BluePearl Pet Hospital in NE Portland. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, they previously worked  in Florida and in Montana. Dr. Wolff served on the ACVIM Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and the ACVIM Membership Committee and is the co-chair of the Gender Identity SubGroup of the PrideVMC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group. They are a co-author and co-chair of the PrideVMC’s Gender Identity Bill of Rights and a co-lead of the Gender Diversity Guide project.

Dr. Ewan Wolff, they/them
BluePearl Pet Hospital- NE Portland