By: Samantha Bartlett
March is “Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month”. As the name implied, the goal is to increase awareness and encourage girls at an early age to pursue their interests in science and engineering fields. Research shows that girls enroll in math and science courses and score similarly in math and science classes in middle and high school. The same holds true for undergraduate studies, except that women are more likely to pursue life sciences as opposed to engineering and math studies. Although women make up half of the college-educated workforce, only about 29% of the science and engineering workforce is comprised of women. There are many activities going on as part of this movement, particularly with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) academies. Although, veterinary medicine is one of the fields that has seen a disproportionate increase in women to men entering the workforce, the profession can still have an impact on encouraging girls and women to enter the science and engineering fields. Overall, there has been a decreased number of both male and female applicants to veterinary schools nationwide. By providing role models and mentoring younger people, our profession can encourage girls and boys to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. By providing mentorship to these young people, experienced veterinarians can help them pick the most efficient paths to a career and hopefully lessen some of the stress and financial strain that has plagued the most recent generations of veterinarians to enter the workforce.
The month of April has many activities influencing the veterinary profession. These provide several opportunities for community interaction and practice building.
The American Red Cross Pet First Aid Awareness Month is in April. The Red Cross has developed a free pet first aid app that can be downloaded from their website to your smart phone. There is also an online pet first aid course that pet owners can register for at redcross.org/takeaclass. The class covers monitoring of vital signs, bleeding emergencies, cardiac events and seizures. There is also a section on preventive care. .
The second week of April also hosts National Dog Bite Prevention Week. This event focuses on education and prevention of dog bites particularly to children by household pets. The CDC estimates that dog bites were the 9th leading cause of non-fatal injury to children ages 5-9. Approximately $483 million in dog bite claims were paid in 2013. The AVMA has several resources including podcasts, infographics, a Facebook page, a client brochure, and a coloring book. These resources are excellent ways to reach out to the community. More information can be found at www.avma.org/public/Pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention.aspx.