View from the C-Suite: How Diversity Elevates Veterinary Care

January 30, 2024
"How Diversity Elevates Veterinary Care"

Dr. Alea Harrison is the first Black woman appointed chief medical officer of Banfield Pet Hospital, the nation’s leading provider of preventive veterinary care.

In January, Alea Harrison, DVM ’06, was named chief medical officer of Banfield Pet Hospital, overseeing more than 3,600 veterinarians at over 1,000 locations across the United States. The achievement continues a career at Banfield that she began after earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2006 at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, which is part of Adtalem Global Education.

At Banfield, Dr. Harrison has made a difference first as a frontline veterinarian and then in leadership roles, including vice president of veterinary internal operations. She is a board member of Banfield’s charitable arm, the Banfield Foundation, with a mission of making preventive care possible for the pets that need it most. Dr. Harrison is also a member of Banfield’s POWER and executive sponsor of its Asian & Pacific Islander diversity resource groups, which are focused on attracting, retaining, and elevating diverse talent.

Here she shares her perspective on the importance of diversity to the veterinary profession, the pets they serve, and the people who love them.  

Elevating All of Our Veterinary Professionals 

In veterinary medicine, we have so many pets that need to be seen and not enough veterinarians. The demand outweighs the capacity. To provide quality care and create access for patients, we have to diversify our pipeline. It’s going to take all of us to drive this profession forward.  

When I talk about diversity, I mean diversity across the board, including diversity of thought. There is so much that can be done when you can see what’s possible.

Coming into the veterinary profession, I wanted to have an impact. That to me was treating pets. I am now afforded this amazing opportunity to help support veterinarians and veterinary professionals at a much larger scale as chief medical officer.  

While I sit here as the first, I won’t be the last. It’s important for me to share my story, to share the stories of others who may sit in different roles throughout the profession to understand what’s possible.  

It’s important to embrace what makes you different. Don’t hide your differences. Celebrate them. Celebrate others.  

I don’t fit the mold. You don’t have to fit the mold.  

Read more about Dr. Harrison’s career and time at Ross Vet.  

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