The College of Veterinary Medicine is pleased to announce that the Dr. J. H. Bias Black Affinity Group has been named a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s 2020 Inspiring Affinity Group Award. INSIGHT Into Diversity is the oldest and largest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education today. For the last three years the college has also been recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award and Health Professions HEED Award.
The Dr. J.H. Bias Black Affinity Group is an all-inclusive affinity group formed to support black students during their veterinary studies and to honor the legacy of Dr. James H. Bias, the first African-American graduate of our college. This group is open to all interested students, faculty, and staff of any background within the college. They have hosted numerous events, including opportunities to network with black veterinarians, meet black students in other Ohio State professional schools, mentor high school and elementary school students, and collaborate with other student organizations. Their impact has been to create a comfortable space for black students to thrive as developing leaders, to create a unified voice, and to foster inclusivity.
The Dr. J.H. Bias Black Affinity Group is one of several Community of Inclusion affinity groups. These are grass-roots efforts formed around a key dimension of diversity and inclusion that may also include a component of health & wellbeing as both are interrelated foundational principles in our strategic plan. Other affinity groups with varying levels of development and engagement include the LatinX, Parenting, WVLDI (women’s veterinary leadership development initiative), and First Generation groups.
Affinity groups can play an important role in fostering an inclusive environment, including contributing efforts to: (1) Foster shared identity among members of non-dominant groups; (2) Foster inclusion and community through a support network of mentors, allies, and peers; (3) Educate the broader college community on a minority group’s perspectives and concerns; (4) Recruit and retain members of minority groups and their allies; and/or (5) Advocate for policies and programs to meet the needs of members of non-dominant groups.