For as long as she can remember, Dr. Shaunita Sharpe has wanted to be a veterinarian. She developed a passion for Emergency and Critical Care because she loves the challenge of transforming a sick and dying patient into a patient that can go home and hopefully live many more years
What are some of the biggest challenges in your area of expertise?
Realizing the moment you won’t be able to save the patient and having to tell the family.
Is there a particular type of case that has inspired you?
It’s not the case, it’s the patient’s family…sometimes things do not go the way you want and when a client can take the moment to comfort you (even when you feel like you have let them down), it is truly an inspiration to me.
One of your passions within the field of veterinary medicine is your work to promote diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine. Could you talk a little more about this?
Yes! This is definitely important to me. I just found out from a colleague that Oregon State University is having its very first black male graduating from their school. Granted it’s a young school (established in 1975) but this is disappointing.
My spark is from seeing the lack of people who look like me in my profession. I didn’t know black veterinarians existed until I saw Debbye Turner (Miss America) on TV. The first black veterinarian I met in person was in veterinary school. So what do I do…every single opportunity I have to speak with kids…I take it… because maybe that class or group will have one black student that will say “hey I like animals too and she looks like me…maybe I’ll be a veterinarian”.
Presently I am a part of the ACVECC diversity and inclusion committee and I oversee a subcommittee that is focused on mentorship. Presently we are trying to develop a quarterly “virtual meet up” project for underrepresented veterinary students.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to hang out with the family. SLEEP! Watch TV (especially some good binge worthy shows). Shop. Work out a little. And a good toast or two is nice.