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Catch up on this week’s top headlines with the weekly veterinary news roundup, presented by VetX International.

Female Vets Make $100K Less Than Men Annually

New research from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has found that there is a substantial pay gap between men and women in the field.

They found that in the top quarter of earners, there was a $100,000 wage difference between men and women. 

The disparity primarily affects new graduates and the top half of earners. 

Although researchers couldn’t pinpoint the causes, unconscious bias, size of practices, less external financing and societal expectations were all listed as potential factors.

Whilst they did find a practice ownership disparity between male and female veterinarians, these differences didn’t account for the wage gap as a whole. 

‘Veterinarians can take many paths in their careers, all of which affect earning potential,’ stated the paper’s senior author, Dr. Clinton Neill, assistant professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences.

‘Similar to what’s been found in the human medicine world, we found the wage gap was more prominent in the beginning of their [veterinarians] careers but dissipates after about 25 years. This has large implications for lifetime wealth and earnings, as men will consequently have a larger sum of wealth at the end of their careers because of this.’

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Prominent Veterinarians’ Death Prompts Discussion Around Veterinarian Suicide 

According to data from the American Medical Veterinary Association (AMVA), 1 in 6 veterinarians has contemplated suicide over their lifetime. This statistic was fully realised this month after the death of Josh Smith, DVM, a prominent veterinarian from Wisconsin. 

Dr Smith had been working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW) in October 2020,  teaching and training veterinarians in critical care. 

‘Everyone looked to him for not only mentorship, training, help, but also friendship; he really became a friend to many here’ said Kai Shiu, BVMS, MRCVS, DACVIM (Oncology), a former colleague and friend of Dr Smith. 

‘We are determined to not make his loss in vain, I really think our profession has made a great deal of progress in recognizing this public health epidemic of suicide among our profession… but we’re trying to ask, what more can we do as a profession?’ 

‘Maybe we really need to think about how much debt people have and how we pay interns and residence. Thinking about how we make it ok for new veterinarians to feel like they can ask for a salary that they need to feed their family and pay off their debt.’ 

‘This has made me realise it can affect anyone’. 

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Black Lives Matter Protests Spur on a New Generation of Veterinary Diversity Champions 

Spurred on by the Black Lives Matter protests, organisations across the US have sprung up – encouraging diversity and inclusion in the veterinary field. 

Organisations such as The Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals, Pawsibilities Vet Med, and the Latinx Veterinary Medical Association are some of the few that have been established. 

Several of the founders of these organisations spoke to VIN news about their experiences as people of colour within the veterinary profession. 

‘I was realizing that there are multiple aspects of vet med that discourage people to pursue it: [such as] income and culture’ said Dr. Serena Nayee, founder of Chapter VIII: Veterinary Inclusion and Intersectionality Initiative.

‘Later on [in my career I had], more realizations about myself and being involved with the LGBTQ community and realizing that maybe I didn’t have the representative community that I needed there, too — that all inspired me to pursue the creation of this organization.’ 

Hira Basit, co-founder, Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals (AAVMP), further told VIN news that she was ‘discouraged from entering the profession mainly because I didn’t see anybody that looked like me. I thought, “Maybe I’m not supposed to be a veterinarian.”’ 

‘Since founding the AAVMP, I’ve been really happy with the journey because I realized that there are so many people who have similar stories and who have similar backgrounds.’

To read more about their stories, click here:

Welsh Vet Speaks Out About Corporate Takeovers of Practices

A Welsh vet has spoken up about the potential impacts of veterinary corporate takeovers for practice owners. 

Richard Davies is a partner at the Pembrokeshire-based Fenton Veterinary Practice. He is a leading advocate for the independence of veterinary ownership. 

Corporate ownership has increased over the last couple of decades – especially after 1999, when the law changed to allow non-veterinarians to be able to own practices.

‘The winners of the initial sale are the current practice owners, who are paid handsomely, and well beyond what it would be affordable or sensible for younger vets within the practice to buy into.’

‘Hence the ones in line to be the next partners or directors are the losers as the opportunity to buy in has gone, even though they may themselves have built up substantial goodwill with the clients.’

Although he concedes that there are some benefits to corporate ownership, Dr Davies maintains that those buying into corporate models should remain wary. 

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Major Green Project Recycles a Ton of PPE From Veterinary Clinics

200,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been recycled in a major project headed by VetPartners. 

Used masks, aprons and gloves were collected from almost 300 practices in England, Scotland and Wales and recycled with TerraCycle. TerraCycle is a company that specialises in recycling hard-to-dispose of products. 

The company provides clinics with boxes for PPE waste and later collects them to be recycled. 

VetPartners sustainability manager Hannah James, who organised the project, said: 

‘It is fantastic to see the figures and realise the positive impact we have had on the environment as the waste has been reprocessed into new materials rather than going into landfill or being incinerated.’

‘We have had positive feedback from our practice teams welcoming the opportunity to recycle PPE. During the pandemic, practices increased the amount of single-use PPE being utilised as we needed to protect their health and well-being, but the impact this would have on the environment was a concern.’

‘Even after COVID-19 has run its course, we will continue to have the boxes in our practices as there is a budget to continue. Our practices are really embracing sustainability and offering them the TerraCycle boxes for PPE prompted many of them to start looking at other sustainability initiatives as well.’

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Why Having Green Space is Important For Employee Wellbeing

With more of us spending our time indoors than ever before, it begs the question – what impact does this have on our mental health?

In a 2018 study by the University of East Anglia, researchers gathered evidence from over 140 studies to determine whether nature had an impact on our health. 

They found that regular exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of a number of conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and chronic stress. 

So can we use nature to make our workplaces better?

Having a greenspace at your workplace, where you can recharge is key to improving staff wellbeing. 

Businesses without access to such spaces can benefit from having green walls or even rooftop gardens. 

Even having plants around the office can be beneficial. Studies have found that ‘green windows’ are sufficient enough for employees to experience micro restorative benefits, which have cumulative benefits on wellbeing. 

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