AAHA’s hiring. Veterinarian and AAHA board member Will Draper talks about why people of color should apply

“Because it’s long overdue, and AAHA is committed to increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity in our organization,” Draper told NEWStat.   “The more diversity we bring into AAHA, the easier it will be for those who follow in our footsteps to garner key positions, making sure all are represented and heard.”   

Draper, who was appointed to the AAHA Board of Directors last September, said a more diverse staff will benefit AAHA, and benefit the profession.

“Diversity, in its most basic form, means building a group that includes folks of all different origins, races, ethnicities, classes, physical capabilities, gender identifications, and sexual orientations,
Draper said. “The benefits on both sides are gaining knowledge and understanding about one another. During my short tenure on the Board, I’ve appreciated the honesty and transparency of my fellow board members in recognizing that people of color have been overlooked,” Draper said. “They sincerely want to know how we see the future of our profession from different eyes with different backgrounds.  Every one of us come out of any conversation we have as better, wiser veterinary colleagues, people, and friends.”

Draper, who attended Tuskegee University in Alabama, an historically Black university for both undergraduate and veterinary medical studies, received his DVM in 1991. He moved to Atlanta in 1992, married Françoise Tyler, DVM, in 1993, and together they founded The Village Vets in Atlanta in 2000.

Draper said he takes a great deal of pride in the diversity in their Atlanta-based practice groups, from the veterinarians to the kennel attendants.

“We are fortunately seeing a small wave of diversity in the veterinary profession in recent years. When I applied to the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987 it was the only school to which I applied. Like many other young Black pre-vet students at that time, it was understood that Tuskegee’s program, the only one on an historically Black campus or university (HBCU) campus, was my only realistic shot at acceptance.

Outside of the classrooms—and in veterinary practices in particular—diversity hasn’t caught up, said Draper.

AAHA is committed to changing that, starting at the top.

“My appointment to the AAHA Board is firm evidence of that change,” Draper said.

Now AAHA needs your help to make that change organization-wide.

“AAHA is committed to recruiting well qualified and exceptional talent to help strengthen and build upon our Strategic Vision,” said AAHA’s Director of Member Experience Michelle Johnson. “Utilizing our Core Values—integrity, simplicity, and collaboration—we’re finding and creating new ways to evolve as an organization. Join us in our evolution!”  

Join our team

Open positions:

  • Practice Consultant (CVT, LVT, RVT, or CVPM required)
  • Business development representative
  • Accreditation specialist
  • Member experience representative

Email Kristin Durney to hear more about any open position or submit an application. Please include which position you're interested in, in the Subject line of your email.