Brocato, Billy Ray (2017-08). Why So White? A Pilot Study of the Sociocultural Factors Affecting the Underrepresentation of African Americans in Veterinary Medicine. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • By surveying students and veterinarians at three selected colleges of veterinary medicine (CVM) in the United States, this project investigated the sociocultural conditions that affect the persistent underrepresentation of Blacks in the fields of veterinary medicine. A pilot study was conducted to examine survey participants' attitudes and individual characteristics, including family background, educational experiences, and mentor relationships that might have contributed to their academic and career decisions. Additionally, as a cultural text, the survey instrument was designed as a lens to view participants' social and personal beliefs informing their gender and racial identities. Because this study was exploratory, quantitative techniques were included that allowed for abductive, counter-factual inferences based on statistical findings. Eighty-nine participants (faculty and practicing veterinarians and veterinary graduate students) were selected from three independent CVMs: one in Texas, one in Alabama (a historically African-American university), and one in Indiana. The survey instruments comprised 128 questions. Group comparisons, Chi-square contingency tables analyses, multiple and logistic regression, and exploratory factor analyses were computed to identify sociocultural spaces and fields of experience that led to careers in veterinary medicine. The findings demonstrated that Blacks and ethnoracial groups' limited access and development of human capital resources disadvantaged their recruitment and retention in the fields of veterinary medicine in the United States.

publication date

  • December 2017