(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A new initiative at Purdue University is trying to give a different look to an important job.
Prudue's College of Veterinary Medicine launched a new organization called the League of VetaHumanz, an effort to diversify the veterinary workforce, which is over 90% white, and provide underserved youth access and support to pursue careers in the veterinary field.
The intiative will feature role models as superheroes, called VetaHumanz, in academia, practice, research, government and industry, and provide resources for veterinary students to engage with children in their communities after graduation, according to a press release from the university.
“We have an amazing team of superheroes, including teachers, community leaders, artists, graphic designers, communications experts, evaluators, students, veterinarians and experts in diversity, equity and inclusion who are all thrilled to take our role modeling programs to the next level and inspire future veterinary professionals,” said Dr. Sandra San Miguel, founder of the League of VetaHumanz and associate dean for engagement in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Each VetaHuman has a superhero identity, and San Miguel goes by “Pink Phoenix.”
Training opportunities for aspiring veterinarians will be offered for school kids and high school students including virtual vet lessons, children’s books and an online game.
“We can all make the world a better place if we work together and use our powers for good,” San Miguel said.
There are 18 member institutions and organizations across the U.S., and the league plans to expand the program globally, per the release. The league will be supported for the next five years by a $1.35 million grant from the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.