AVMA, AAVMC Support National Coming Out Day – Thursday, October 11th

30th Anniversary National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2018

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Understanding the value of a diverse and inclusive profession, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) are adding their support to National Coming Out Day, Thursday, Oct. 11.

“The AVMA believes that a more diverse and inclusive profession is a stronger and healthier profession,” said Dr. Janet Donlin, CEO of the AVMA. “We want all members of the veterinary community—veterinarians, staff, students and clients—to be able to reach their full potential by feeling safe and comfortable being themselves. National Coming Out Day is a wonderful way for LGBTQ people and allies to find community, strength and support.”

“AAVMC and the veterinary medical colleges are preparing graduates to work in an increasingly diverse world. By promoting the basic principles of diversity and inclusion, we are fostering a climate that promotes success for all members of the veterinary medical community,” said Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe, CEO of the AAVMC. “We embrace the differences as well as the commonalities that bring us together, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

While the acceptance of LGBTQ people has increased, this population still faces significant discrimination, which has been associated with higher rates of health problems, psychiatric disorders, substance abuse and suicide.

“Being LGBTQ can create additional stressors, such as the inability to be authentic and to feel safe,” said Dr. Melinda Merck, president of the Pride Veterinary Medical Community. “If we can’t be our authentic selves, or feel safe in that authenticity, it creates barriers that not only affect our health but can also hinder our relationships with coworkers and clients, and can ultimately have a negative impact on our animal patients.”

Healthy animals rely on healthy people to take care of them. Recognizing this, the AVMA has taken a number of steps and developed several resources to address the issue of emotional and mental health and wellbeing within the profession. This includes a state-by-state directory of wellbeing programs for veterinary professionals, which provides a contact point for mental health programs and/or peer assistance in each state; a free training program that teaches AVMA and SAVMA members how to identify the signs that a colleague may be considering suicide and steer them toward professional help; and the Wheel of Wellbeing, which lists more than 30 simple activities that veterinary team members can do to boost mental and physical health. A complete list of AVMA’s wellbeing resources and initiatives is available on the AVMA website.

As stated in its Policy on Diversity and Inclusion, the AVMA is committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the profession of veterinary medicine so that it can best serve the animals, the public and its members. The AVMA aims to mirror the growing diversity of the communities it serves and to promote an understanding of their varied needs. To this end, the AVMA is committed to actively promoting and maintaining diversity and inclusion in its membership, leadership and organization, and educating its members regarding the value of diversity and inclusion.

“Support for LGBTQ health and wellbeing is an essential component to thriving individuals and practices,” said Dr. Donlin. “Showing our support for those who identify as LGBTQ is just one way to be more inclusive and improve the overall health of the profession.”


The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 91,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine. Visit avma.org to learn more.

The AAVMC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean Basin, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. Visit www.aavmc.org to learn more.