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Using Communication Skills to Navigate the Challenges and Opportunities for Creating Inclusive Communities

Veterinary practices are searching for ways to successfully recruit and retain diverse teams. And while increased diversity within the profession is much needed, we must also consider the environment that awaits these individuals. In addition, it is imperative that we create an inclusive community for clients and potential clients. But what does it take to create a culture of inclusion and belonging? How can a single person affect change?

This workshop will take a closer look at the challenges and opportunities of creating inclusive veterinary communities. We will define foundational terminology and concepts relative to creating a culture of inclusion and belonging. Finally, we will provide an open space to practice the communication skills needed to advance inclusion in veterinary medicine.


  • Explore the challenges of building inclusive communities
  • Define the concepts of inclusion, exclusion, social identity, and intersectionality
  • Consider the potential impacts and identify strategies to mitigate implicit bias in the veterinary space.
  • Identify and practice the communication skills needed to advance inclusion and create a culture of belonging within communities

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Tina Tran, DVM

tina tran

Christina V. Tran is a first-generation Filipino-American raised outside of Chicago. She has and undergraduate degree from the University of California–Davis, and a veterinary degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The majority of her career has been in small animal private practice: as a full-time associate, relief veterinarian, and house call practice owner, with additional work in shelter medicine and academia. She was on the veterinary technology faculty at Portland Community College and was the veterinary technology program director at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, she is associate professor and clinical relations lead veterinarian at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Tran is passionate about volunteering. She serves with the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association (president and founding board member), AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee (at-large alternate), Arizona Veterinary Medical Association (Board of Directors), Arizona Veterinary Medical Examining Board (Investigative Committee member), and the AVMA’s Council on Education (site visitor and selection committee). She and her dog Marley are a registered pet therapy team with Pet Partners.

Teresa Graham Brett, JD

Teresa Graham Brett

Teresa Graham Brett, JD, serves as founding associate dean, diversity and inclusion, and assistant professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. She is responsible for developing and leading efforts to systematically integrate equity, diversity, and inclusivity into programs to create transformational impact in the veterinary profession. Teresa and her faculty co-director, Dr. Ryane Englar, have developed the only two-year longitudinal professional skills course in veterinary medical education with equity, diversity, and inclusion skill-development fully integrated into all aspects of the curriculum.

Prior to the this, she served as assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion at the University of Arizona, associate vice president and dean of students at the University of Texas–Austin, and associate dean of students and co-director of the program on intergroup relations at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. She provides training and consultation for colleges, universities, faculty members, and professional staff across the US and internationally in intergroup dialogue skills, social justice education, and integrating equitable and inclusive learning processes and practices into organizations and curricula.

She earned her bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona.