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Creating Empowerment Opportunities in the Veterinary Sciences

Febrary 20, 2024. Read the article at ThermoFisher Scientific.

Willow Brook Animal Hospital in DeSoto, Texas, is redefining what it means to be a veterinary clinic, providing not only exceptional care for over 4,000 pets but also serving as a beacon of economic empowerment and professional development in the veterinary field. Under the leadership of Dr. Maya A. Barfield and her husband, Adrian, with the support of the Black Economic Development Fund (BEDF), the clinic represents a significant stride towards diversity and empowerment in a field where less than 2 percent of veterinarians in the U.S. are Black. The Barfields' acquisition, facilitated by a $1.1 million loan from BEDF and backed by Thermo Fisher Scientific's strategic impact investment, not only secured the clinic's future but also its role as a symbol of progress within the predominantly Black community it serves.

Beyond animal care, Willow Brook is committed to nurturing the next generation of veterinary professionals, particularly from Black and minority backgrounds. Dr. Barfield's mission extends to providing educational and development opportunities, aiming to enrich the field with diverse talents and perspectives. This effort aligns with the broader objectives of Thermo Fisher and its partners, like the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), to address inequalities and strengthen communities through thoughtful investments. Willow Brook stands as a model of how businesses can contribute to societal progress, championing both animal welfare and human development.

Thermo Fisher announced in early 2021 that it would invest up to $25 million in minority-serving institutions to help address the unequal access to capital for Black-owned businesses, Black entrepreneurs and Black communities in the United States. $20 million was committed to the BEDF, which was launched by LISC to increase financing to Black-led financial institutions, anchor institutions, and businesses.

Learn more about the Black Economic Development Fund here.


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