Western University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will present “A Black Perspective on Race in Veterinary Medicine: A Conversation,” on Tuesday, October 13.

The online Town Hall will take place from 6-8 p.m. It is designed for faculty, students and staff in the Vet Med program.

“This is the start of a number of activities that will be taking place through the year,” explained Dean Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD. “This is the beginning of a conversation.”

Ruby L. Perry, DVM, MS, PhD, Dip. ACVR, Dean of Tuskegee University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michael J. Blackwell, DVM, MPH, Director for Pet Health Equity at the University of Tennessee, will join Dr. Nelson in the conversation.

The Town Hall takes place at a time when the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others has prompted a renewed national focus on racism in American society. But Dr. Nelson noted that racism “isn’t an urgent problem. It is a chronic problem.” The online conversation will illuminate personal stories of pioneering African American veterinarians who have helped move the profession forward.

Dr. Perry is the first woman to serve as Dean at Tuskegee University. She earned her BS degree in Animal and Poultry Science from Tuskegee in 1976 and her DVM in 1977.  She later earned an MS in Microbiology from Michigan State University, where she also conducted a residency program in veterinary radiology. She served on the faculty at Michigan State for 20 years, earning tenure as an associate professor, before returning to Tuskegee in 2007. Dr. Perry is the first African American female board-certified veterinary radiologist in the American College of Veterinary Radiology.

Dr. Blackwell also early his DVM from Tuskegee University. He earned his Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University. Prior to his current position at the University of Tennessee, he had served as Dean of its College of Veterinary Medicine. He also has served as Chief of Staff, Office of the Surgeon General of the US, Deputy Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration and as Chief Veterinary Officer, US Public Health Service. During his 23 years on active duty, he achieved the rank of Assistant Surgeon General (Rear Admiral) of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.