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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Interview: Dr. Daniel Edge

Daniel Edge, DVM, MBA is Vice President of the LGVMA and currently works as Senior Manager, Veterinary Liaisons and Medical Affairs for Abbott Animal Health. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and worked as an emergency room veterinarian in referral practice before joining veterinary industry in 2009.  Daniel and AJ, his partner of 10 years, currently live in Des Moines, IA but are looking forward to moving to the Chicago area this summer with their two boys, Jackson (7) and Peyton (2). Their family is rounded out with a long-haired Chihuahua, Gizmo, who has been with Daniel and AJ since shortly after they first met.

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, Dr. Edge!  Where did you grow up? Can you tell us a bit about where you went for your undergraduate and your veterinary education?  
I grew up in a very rural community outside of Clinton, NC.  I worked in tobacco and cucumber fields growing up in addition to turkey production and hatchery farms.  I went to undergrad at NC State University where I majored in Biochemistry and Chemistry.  Following graduation, I went to Iowa State University and completed my DVM in 2003.

Tell us about your job!  Did you always know you wanted to be a veterinarian, or what made you decide to pursue this career?  What made you pursue the specific field you’re in now?
I believe I'm one of those people who declared my intent to become a veterinarian at the age of 4.  I never considered any other job although I purposefully chose Biochemistry as an undergraduate degree in case I needed a back up plan to enter the pharmaceutical world.  I always had an affinity for animals, cats especially growing up, and felt that I wanted to contribute to their well being.  I first entered the veterinary workforce as an emergency veterinarian in a referral practice in NC.  I spent about 6 years there but became a little burned out on the hours/weekends.  It was also around that time that my partner and I were trying to start a family through adoption, so I wanted to have a more "regular" schedule and reliable benefits. It was at that time that I found a job with Abbott Animal Health as a Veterinary Liaison, or field technical veterinarian.  I have worked my way up since that first job and now am the Senior Manager for Veterinary Liaisons and Medical Affairs.  I enjoy the job, because while I am not directly working with animals any longer, I have much influence in improving how people practice and in bringing quality products to market that are specific to veterinary medicine.

How do you identify in terms of the LGBTQ/Ally community?  How (if any) do you feel that your identity has affected your school, job, and living location choices/opportunities?
I identify as gay.  When younger, before veterinary school, I was closeted and fearful for how life would be out of the closet due to my being in a very conservative and rural environment.  Undergraduate school was a much better situation, but still one in which I was not quite comfortable being myself so it was early in veterinary medical school that I completely outed myself to my family and friends.  As far as work goes, I have been very fortunate that I have never had a direct issue related my sexuality in the workplace.  My experience in private practice was very welcoming to myself and my partner.  In fact, the referral practice I was in had several other LGBT employees throughout all of its' locations.  In my current corporate setting, sexual orientation is recognized as a protected part of diversity.  I work in a very diverse workplace in terms of culture, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation.  The corporation provides domestic partnership benefits and even provided assistance for one of our adoptions which is a phenomenal benefit that is rare to come by.  There is an active network of LGBT employees in which I have participated.  In the end, I don't believe my sexuality has ever held me back or been an obstacle to employment or promotion within my career thus far.  While I am very happy with this, I also recognize that this is not true for all people like me and I am very grateful for the positive experiences I have had thus far.

Do you have any words of advice to students, especially in terms of involvement in LGBT extracurricular activities and being out in the application process (whether that’s for externships, internships, or jobs)?
I believe in the philosophy that honesty is the best policy.  My involvement with LGVMA is included on my resume, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other documentation of my extracurricular and career work.  When interviewing at all of my jobs (current and past) I did not always proactively address my sexuality and my employers were wise in not asking any personal information which would be a violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws.  However, if comfortable with the interviewer, I did drop information about my children and spouse using pronouns that would confirm my relationship.  In my current corporate job, I had also researched the company in advance to assess their stance on anti-discriminatory practices and learned of their inclusion of domestic partnerships in benefits.  Due to that information, I felt comfortable outing myself during the interview process.  This was a personal choice for me, and not necessarily one that everyone should take.

Did you have any memorable LGBTQ mentors?
I did not have any specific LGBTQ mentors in either undergrad or veterinary school, but rather friends that offered support when I needed it.  After veterinary school, I did learn that there were allies within the faculty which I wish I had known at the time as I would have reached out to them not necessarily for support, but for appreciation of their existence.

What are your thoughts on the current climate for the LGBTQ community (e.g. with regards to our current status, rights, struggles).
I am very fortunate to be on the forefront of the waves of progression for LBGTQ rights.  My partner and I married in Iowa in 2009 and have been blessed with two beautiful children through adoption.  We moved back to Iowa in 2010 to ensure that both of our names would be included on their re-issued birth certificates.  I sense that we are on a great momentum here in the US that is swinging towards inclusion of all persons of LBGTQ backgrounds for equal rights.  With the Supreme Court taking on cases this spring regarding our rights, I am hopeful that change is coming.

What are your thoughts on the state of acceptance of the LGBTQ population within the veterinary field?  Have you ever had any positive or negative experiences?
I think that like any subset of the workforce, there are pockets of progression and conservatism within our profession.  I have been fortunate to always have had positive experiences within the veterinary community when it interacted with my sexuality whether through employers, co-workers, or affiliate organizations such as LGVMA.  I believe there is much more work to be done, however.  Part of this, I believe, has to do with the gender and generational shifts that our profession is experiencing.  It seems that many younger generations are much more open and accepting to persons of LGBT backgrounds, likely because they are more aware of their existence in friendships or family relationships.  As our older, more conservative colleagues retire and move out of ownership and leadership roles, I believe the state of acceptance within the community will expand.

What is your favorite non-veterinary pastime?
I am a closeted crafter :)  I love knitting and quilting, and while an expert at neither, I do enjoy the relaxation it brings me.  I've quilted mostly baby blankets for friends and my own children.  A knitted scarf tends to take me a year but I eventually finish it.  Beyond crafting, I love to sit down with a really good book and lose myself for a few hours.

What are two random facts about you  - can be anything - doesn't have to be veterinary related, in fact it’s better if it’s not?
I was named for a Biblical figure, although I find my personal beliefs more distanced from organized religion the older I get.  I tend to obsess over music for weeks at a time...my current obsession is Of Monsters and Men.  Other recent obsessions have included Greg Laswell and Elbow. I highly recommend giving them all a listen :)

What is your biggest vice? What sorts of things do you work on to improve yourself professionally and personally?
My biggest vice is procrastination although I tend to work well under pressure.  I try to organize myself effectively though many times it still comes down to juggling responsibilities.  I often equate my work schedule to the experiences i had in vet school--focus on what's coming up next, and squeeze in working on future obligations along the way where you can.

What is your strength? How has it helped you get to where you are today? 
I think one of my greatest strengths is my ability to work well with others.  My Enneagram status is "Peacemaker" so I tend to work to keep the flow going without much conflict or interruption.  As such I think it has helped me understand other people better and be more sensitive to their needs or points of view.  This all goes into being a team player which has been essential in every work environment I have been in professionally.

Anything you want to talk about that we didn’t ask?
Specific to adoption, I just want to let people know that while it is a long journey (and this is true for any couple, not just same-sex couples) it is a worthwhile experience.  My partner and I adopted our oldest child through the NC foster system.  He was 4 years old when he was placed with us and his adoption was finalized when he was five.  Our youngest we adopted at birth through an open adoption with the daughter of a  former co-worker of mine.  Both adoptions were positive experiences and we keep in contact with certain biological family members of each child which we feel is imperative to their well being and mental health as they grow up.  When I first went through the coming out process for myself and truly understanding what it meant to be gay, I foresaw a future by myself with no loved ones to take care of me in my old age and that was a very depressing image that I thought would be a reality.  Now, many years later, I live in a world where that doesn't have to be.  I always want to encourage everyone I know, gay or straight, that are considering starting families to look into adoption because it can happen.  It may not happen fast, or in the way in which you imagine, but it can happen.  And when it does you have exactly the family you were meant to have.

Thank you so much, Dr. Edge!