About Our Organization

Mission Statement
Broad Spectrum Veterinary Student Association’s mission is to connect, support and empower community for LGBT+* students and allies across veterinary education.
*LGBT + will be used as an inclusive acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer,Questioning, Asexual and others who self-identify on the sexual orientation and/or gender expression continuums.

Vision Statement
Broad Spectrum desires greater support and a sense of community for all LGBT+ students and allies throughout veterinary medical education. We actively strive to counter episodes of bigotry and marginalization with positive messages of diversity and inclusion. We have healthy, supportive and encouraging relationships with pre-veterinary, veterinary and graduate students, faculty, staff and administrators. We are known for advocating for the respect and equality of seen and unseen LGBT+ members in the academic veterinary community and beyond. We contribute to the development of safe and welcoming veterinary school environments for pre- and current veterinary students. Broad Spectrum makes veterinary schools more inclusive for all students, especially LGBT+ students. We accomplish this by starting important and courageous conversations about LGBT+ inclusion, in addition to maintaining much needed support for LGBT+ students in veterinary medicine.

Our History

We were founded in 2011 at the SAVMA Symposium hosted by UC Davis. The name 'Broad Spectrum' came out of a calculated attempt to be as inclusive as possible to any student who falls anywhere on the spectra of sexuality, sex, or gender. We welcome all students no matter their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. And yes, allies, this means we welcome you, too!

Our Links

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day, an event conceived of in 1987 by Thomas Netter and James Bunn, officers working at the World Health Organization on the Global AIDS Program.  Since 1988, it has been held every year on December 1 to raise global awareness about HIV and AIDS (which affects 33.3 million people world-wide), show support for those living with HIV, and commemorate those who have passed away.  The event provides an opportunity to address topics such as global inequities in access to health care and anti-viral drugs, the stigma and discrimination targeting those with HIV, and the need for continued research funding and education. 

via http://www.aidsandhiv.org/news/why-is-december-1-world-aids-day.html

For veterinarians and veterinary students, being pro-active in learning about HIV and AIDS  is of utmost importance, especially in an era of One Health, One Medicine.  In his excellent must-read article, "HIV/AIDS Education: Still an Important Issue for Veterinarians," Dr. Radford G. Davis, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, summarizes it best:

Veterinarians need to better understand HIV/AIDS for many reasons: to dispel unfounded beliefs; to address discrimination and liability issues; to educate and protect the health of clients and employees; to help those with HIV/AIDS keep their pets; and to meet legal and professional requirements. To do this, veterinarians must become proactive in learning about HIV/AIDS and in reaching out to pet owners living with HIV/AIDS, as well as the physicians of those individuals.

At Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, the Student LGVMA chapter, the first LGBT group to ever be established at Tuskegee, was able to host a very successful World AIDS Day Event for the second year in a row.   The LGVMA recently awarded their group with the 2011 LGVMA Leadership Award for outstanding leadership and community activism within the veterinary profession.

TUSVM-LGVMA World AIDS Day Poster, Courtesy of Audrey Weaver

I was able to briefly interview Audrey Weaver, a third-year student and Secretary of Broad Spectrum, about their event today.

Sonia Fang: So this was your second year hosting a World AIDS Day event, correct?

Audrey Weaver: Yes ma'am

SF: How did it go?  Did you bring in speakers this year?

AW: It was great. We had an awesome turn out with our HIV testing. We did have a speaker from the Alabama State Department of Public Health. There was food. There were cupcakes!! We raised some money that will be given to AIDS Alabama in Birmingham.

SF: Cool! Who was the speaker and what was their topic of discussion?

AW: The speaker was Lani Thompson and she talked about HIV statistics and practicing healthy sexual relationships.  She's the HIV coordinator for the Department of Public Health.

SF: Awesome! So do you have any tips for other school groups trying to pull off a World AIDS Day event?

AW: Well...hmm...persistence is key. This year was a little frustrating because there were some road blocks, but I think even if there is only one person dedicated to the project, the rest of the school will follow. Incentives seem to work well (food,raffles,etc).  I have to admit that it was frustrating when there wasn't a lot of people at the lunch and learn that we had. But I'm glad that even the small crowd that came received the message and enjoyed the speaker.  I still see it as a success. We had more people this year get tested which is awesome to me.

SF: That's great! WesternU was able to secure free HIV testing two years back, but we've run into problems in recent years. Do you have any tips on approaching people to donate time/resources to HIV testing or did your club fund it?

AW: We contacted Unity Wellness Center which is a part of East Alabama Medical Center in Auburn, AL. They do a lot of HIV awareness programs and work closely with HIV/AIDS patients. They are a nonprofit organization that works closely with the community. This is our second year working with them and it's always at no charge. There are lots of organizations that have trained professionals that will come to a location and administer free testing.  Usually local health departments will help. I don't think that can do large numbers but it probably depends on the area.

SF: Great! Do you have anything else you want to say?

AW: I love cupcakes!! 

SF: Hahah, well congratulations on another successful event! Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed on such short notice

AW: Yay!! Thanks Dr. Fang*!

SF: Thank you for all you do, Dr. Weaver!

Raising awareness at Tuskegee.

Did your school commemorate World AIDS Day?  Send us your stories and photos!

Here are some from WesternU from last year:  Lambda and Friends encouraged everyone to wear red,  distributed free red ribbons, provided pizza, and took a fancy photo at lunch. 
Free pizza.  Always an incentive.
Lambda and Friends, World AIDS Day 2010

More Articles on Veterinarians, HIV/AIDS or World AIDS Day
Leading HIV researcher, veterinarian delivers keynote at CVC Baltimore, DVM 360
World AIDS Day: Look to the Future, Educate Yourself and Watch a Documentary, Autostraddle
'Gay disease' or not, HIV is our responsibility, qnotes
Some Dentists Refuse to Serve People With HIV, The Advocate
Pause Today to Remember Lost Loved Ones..., The Root

*Note: We are not actually doctors.  Yet.