Opportunity through community: “A place to give Black veterinary professionals the space to be great”

“When I first entered the profession, I didn’t actually think about how homogeneous it was,” says Tierra Price, DVM, MPH. “That realization didn’t come until after I was about two years into veterinary school.”

That was in 2018, while Price was attending the Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. A 2020 graduate of the school, Price was 1 of only 5 Black students in a class of 127. When that fact hit home, it hit hard.

“I felt alone and isolated,” she told NEWStat. “I was very nervous about whether I would love my job and whether my colleagues would accept me or not. I thought that if I could find the community that could relate to me, a community that I felt safe in, I’d be a lot better off.”

But when Price went looking for that community, she was shocked to discover that it didn’t exist. “So I created it.”

“It” was BlackDVM Network, which started as an Instagram page through which Price sought to reach out to—and connect with—other Black students in veterinary schools across the US. Price would feature them on the page, and the page caught on. As word spread, Black veterinarians, hospital staff, and preveterinary students began to follow it.

As interest grew, Price saw an opportunity to create a support network for her Instagram followers, and launched a website with the goal of creating a community for veterinary professionals to learn, grow, and discover their potential.

Today, a scant three years later, BlackDVM Network is a thriving platform for the empowerment of Black veterinary students and professionals that offers members a chance to:

  • Connect in a mobile-friendly safe space to build meaningful relationships
  • Participate in monthly community sessions, during which members can relate to each other and build connections for success
  • Attend events centered around medicine, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, wellness, and professional development
  • Meet mentors who can guide them in the right and provide career advice

Membership also provides access to a global network of Black veterinary professionals and live-streamed webinars, plus a job board and externship listings. Corporate memberships are available for companies that want to support diversity.

The site also includes a directory of Black veterinarians and technicians from around the world, so pet owners can support diversity in the profession as well.

“We’re really a community for Black veterinary professionals to come, grow, connect, and achieve,” Price said. “We want everyone to feel like they have the opportunity to be successful in veterinary medicine.”

Price envisions BlackDVM Network as “a place to give Black veterinary professionals the space to be great,” she says. “We hope to see more people who look like us entering the profession because we love it so much.”

Photo courtesy of Tierra Price