Last spring, the UW–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine hosted the Iverson Bell Midwest Regional Diversity Summit. Students, faculty, and staff from more than a dozen universities across the country came together to discuss current diversity and inclusion work in veterinary medicine, and how to expand opportunities for students who feel out of place in the field.
Over the past few years, the UW has emerged as a leader in national endeavors to remove barriers for students and practitioners of color and build a more welcoming environment within veterinary medicine. In recent years, the school’s chapter of Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) has twice earned the VOICE National Chapter of the Year Award for its above-and-beyond efforts to host community events, improve cross-cultural awareness, and impart a sense of belonging to students.
The Iverson Bell Midwest Regional Diversity Summit culminated in a new mural for the UW — one that celebrates diversity and inclusion efforts and offers a path forward for the continued work of groups like VOICE. With design assistance from Milwaukee artist Tia Richardson, participants of the summit helped bring the final version to life. Now displayed next to the Renk Learning Center in the School of Veterinary Medicine, it serves as a reminder of the history of UW veterinary medicine and challenges current students and faculty to help realize a more welcoming future.