Panel webinar to explore cultural competency in vet med

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What is cultural competency? How does it affect the interactions you have with your clients and the care you give to patients? More importantly: How do you develop more of it within your team?

The upcoming webinar, Fostering Cultural Competency in Veterinary Medicine, taking place Tuesday, April 2 (12:00 pm–1:00 pm Mountain Time), hosted by AAHA Chief Medical Officer Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, CVJ, and sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, will seek answers to these questions.

Building cross-cultural skills

According to the AVMA, “Cultural competence refers to the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures” and it encompasses an awareness of your own cultural point of view, knowledge of other’s cultural views and practices, and recognition of unintentional bias (as well as the willingness to overcome them).

Possessing the skills to interact effectively and respectfully with clients of various cultures is crucial in veterinary medicine. It involves understanding the impact of culture (one’s own and others’) on pet ownership, decision-making, and communication.

On the part of veterinary teams, becoming culturally competent requires a willingness to learn—as well as humility, introspection, and honest examination of personal biases and misconceptions.

The hard work needed to become more culturally competent can pay off in increased client trust and compliance and better patient outcomes, making it well worth the effort.

About the panelists

Omar Farias, VMD, (he/him/his) is the director of scientific and academic affairs for Hill’s Pet Nutrition. He has over a decade of experience in small animal private practice as both an associate and a practice owner, while also devoting time to help local animal welfare organizations.

He is the president-elect of the Pride Veterinary Medical Community and a board member of both the Mark Morris Institute and the Diversity Veterinary Medicine Coalition. Originally from Puerto Rico, he now lives with his husband in Kansas City, Missouri.

Marina Tejada, DVM, is the supervising veterinarian for the North Shore Animal League America in New York City and the Director of Outreach for the Latinx Veterinary Medical Association.

A Colombian American and a Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine graduate, she also serves on her alma mater’s Alumni Association Executive Board and the President’s Council of Cornell Women. She has strong interests in mentoring preveterinary and veterinary students and promoting diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine.

Sara Taylor, RVT, is the vice president of veterinary nursing at the San Francisco SPCA. In this role, she oversees approximately 50 registered veterinary technicians and 40 veterinary assistants. A self-described “leadership nerd,” she strives to make careers as credentialed technicians sustainable and enjoyable for her staff. As a part of this, she has been a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Tyler Primavera, DVM, is one of the founders of Vetspacito, a “business and movement aimed at helping Spanish-speaking pet parents and pets receive better veterinary care.” A Hawaii native and a graduate of Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Primavera also works as a relief veterinarian and a speaker on overcoming language barriers in veterinary medicine.

We look forward to learning from these expert panelists about how all of us can improve our cultural competence for the betterment of our profession as a whole. This webinar is open to all veterinary professionals and is particularly applicable to veterinary practice managers and practice owners. CE credit for 1 hour is pending with the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association.

Learn more and sign up at

Further reading

Vetspacito: Overcoming language barriers in veterinary care (NEWStat)

Cultural competence and cultural humility in veterinary medicine (AVMA)

Cultural Competence Is Everyone's Business: Embedding Cultural Competence in Curriculum Frameworks to Advance Veterinary Education (Journal of Veterinary Medical Education)

Emily Singler, VMD, is AAHA’s Veterinary Content Specialist.

Cover photo credit: © aelitta E+ via Getty Images Plus

Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors.


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