Dr. Jennifer Ogeer: Helping to grow the veterinary profession through inclusion
Jennifer Ogeer headshot with illustrated plants around
By Jen Phillips April

inety percent of veterinary professionals identify as white, yet it’s been reported that nearly four out of 10 Americans identify as part of a non-white race or ethnic group. Unfortunately, these realities create a disconnect. Take children accompanying their family pet to the veterinarian’s office, for example. Those children notice if no one looks like them, so they may not consider veterinarian medicine a viable career option.

Furthermore, the veterinary profession is in crisis because there aren’t enough veterinary professionals. One way to bridge the gap between the predominately white veterinary profession and the growing gap in pet care is by encouraging people of all races and ethnicities to pursue their love of animals and consider the veterinary profession.

“We lack individuals in this profession who look like the communities they serve,” shares Dr. Jennifer Ogeer, board chair of Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition (DVMC).

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In 2020, a group of passionate veterinary leaders started DVMC to address the profession’s lack of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The organization encourages black, indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to pursue veterinary careers and provides a structure of encouragement and support through three pillars. Those pillars include scholarships and mentorships, educational and travel grants, and internships.

“We want to create accessible pathways to the profession, not only through veterinarian college, but also at the undergraduate level. We’re leveraging animal health organizations to support these students with internships so they get practical experience and mentorships,” says Dr. Ogeer.

With many potential students facing financial barriers, to date, the DVMC has awarded five students $20,000 for their junior and senior years through their partnership with the Thurgood Marshall Fund.

Dr. Ogeer adds, “The organization opens the dialogue about how leaders can champion DEI and the benefits of connecting with animals. Everyone benefits from connecting with their pets. When we foster an open environment, it permits us to show up and be our authentic selves.” In addition to serving as board chair of DVMC, Dr. Ogeer is also Chair of the Board of Directors to Veterinarians without Borders. When she joined Veterinarians without Borders, it was as the Treasurer of the Board. At that time, there were few veterinarians with an MBA background and she had a strong desire to support the organization’s financial sustainability.
6 people standing for a photo at seminar
... Children notice if no one looks like them, so they may not consider veterinarian medicine a viable career option. with illustrated pot under neath
“In 2016, we started looking at areas in Canada sparsely populated with little access to animal healthcare. We discovered many opportunities existed to offer healthcare services, particularly within Aboriginal communities,” she shares.

Dr. Ogeer says, “This exposes the children to veterinary medicine and also helps the animals. Healthy people, healthy animals, and a healthy planet.”

In addition to her volunteer roles, Dr. Ogeer serves as the Vice-President Medical Science and Innovation, Antech Diagnostics, a division of Mars Petcare. Her academic background includes graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), University of Guelph, 25+ years ago. She completed an emergency medicine/critical care residency at Tufts University/Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston and a Master of Science degree in Critical Care at the OVC. She spent several years in academic teaching, research, clinical practice, and administration as an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Canada. She’s also completed an Executive MBA and Master of Arts in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.

When asked how the Master’s in Organization Behavior and Leadership supports her veterinary work and diversity pursuits, she says, “Once I finished my degree, I worked as an associate professor in academia practicing clinical medicine, teaching, and administration. I started seeing a big shift in the profession with more women and more corporatization. The executive MBA teaches a broad range of skills, from finance to marketing, but there’s a big piece on leading change. I reflected on my experiences and realized I wanted to deepen my understanding of my core competencies.”

portrait of Doctor Jennifer Ogeer
As a result, her thesis was titled, “What are the enablers and the barriers that allow women to gain access to leadership roles?” Within the thesis, she explored the realities of women’s lives who are often caring for elderly parents and taking children to activities in addition to their professional lives. It’s all about supporting them and finding
a balance.

Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Ogeer loved animals as a child. And with both her mom and sister working in healthcare, she grew up seeing them care for others. So, caring for animals was a natural step.

“I was always trying to adopt every stray dog and cat, much to my parents’ dismay,” she adds.

Dr. Ogeer shares this about her career: “[It is] a journey of passion. Every day is a joy to do what I do and give back to the community. I get to work with incredible people who care about what they do, help build communities, and empower people.”

For more information on DVMC, visit

"[It is] a journey of passion. Every day is a joy to do what i do and give back to the community." - Dr. Jennifer Ogeer
Jen Phillips April headshot
A web writer since 2005, Jen’s written over 1,000 articles on pet-related topics. She works with veterinarians and pet professionals around the world to help them attract and retain customers through effective content marketing practices. Passionate about both pets and digital marketing, you can find out more at When not working with her fabulous clients, you can find her eating tacos and practicing her Spanish in her adopted home of the Riviera Maya.