By Cora S. Ellis
According to a 2020 employment study, there are less than 830 African American veterinarians practicing in the United States. While the popular television show, “Critter Fixers” on National Geographic Wild showcases two Black male vets, it is hard to find these doctors in most cities. Cincinnati is no exception. Veterinarians train just like other physicians; they must pass the rigors of medical school with an emphasis on animal health to earn the Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine (DVM) degree.
Not all vets are taking care of family pets or farm animals. Dr. Ralph Brown, DVM, who turns 90 in April, is the most senior of them in our city. In his 40-year career, this now retired government vet protected our meat & poultry supply as a Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), while his colleague, Dr. Ellis Jones (retired) was an Ohio Area Supervisor. Millennials like Dr. Nikki Harville, originally from Washington, DC follows in the footsteps of Dr. Brown as a graduate of the prestigious Tuskegee University College of Veterinarian Medicine. She practices in the greater Cincinnati area and has special interest in dermatology and oncology.
And then there’s Dr. Kamaria Catalan (Dr. Cat), the owner of Rover The Rhine, a full-service veterinary hospital in the heart of downtown, who is past president (2016) of the Cincinnati Veterinarian Medical Association and is also the CEO of House Vets for House Pets in Anderson. As options become more available others are practicing online. Dr. Hannah Rice offers her services through veterinary telemedicine with companies like Vetster. Dr. Brown mentored Dr. Amber-Renee Hickson. After 15 years of practice, she is starting a new business venture with Pet Vet 365 Hospital. These animal specialists are delivering great services to our city, and they encourage young people to consider this field as the possibilities are endless and most rewarding. Happy birthday Dr. Brown.