WSAVA Group: Shaping the Future: Wellness in the Veterinary Profession


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Experts from around the world will discuss the implications of research undertaken by the WSAVA’s Professional Wellness Group (PWG) into veterinary wellness in a panel session during WSAVA World Congress. The discussion, called ‘Shaping the Future:  Wellness in the Veterinary Profession’, will take place on 17 July, following a presentation of the preliminary results of a study of more than 4,000 veterinary professionals globally. They will be presented by PWG Committee Co-Chair Dr Nienke Endenburg, a human psychologist, who works at the veterinary school at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands.

Recognizing increased concern as to the impact on veterinary professionals of their demanding working environment, the PWG set out to assess professional wellness and the key factors which affect it globally when it launched its online survey in September 2018.  Dr Endenburg will present the findings before inviting panelists to respond and discuss their perspectives on the issue.  The panel members are:

  • Dr Marie Holowaychuk, a Canadian board-certified small animal emergency and critical care specialist and advocate for veterinary team wellbeing
  • Dr Jen Brandt, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Director of Member Wellness and Diversity Initiatives
  • Dr Derick Chibeu, Co-chair of the PWG and Honorary Secretary of the Kenya Small and Companion Animal Veterinary Association
  • Dr Vicki Lim, who works in New Zealand and is the founder the Riptide Project, an international veterinary wellbeing initiative
  • Mr Elwin van Oldenborgh, President-Elect of the International Veterinary Students’ Association.

Commenting, Dr Endenburg said: “Veterinarians care for our animal companions but the question is, who is caring for them?  As a global community we wanted to gain a clear understanding of the challenges to their well-being faced by our members around the world and to find out both what they have in common and where their experience differs.

“The results of our research provide a unique global view of this important issue and we look forward to discussing these with our expert colleagues and exploring practical solutions that respect the regional, economic and cultural differences of our membership. It will be an important first step towards bringing about positive change and enhancing the wellbeing of veterinarians globally.”

The WSAVA works to enhance the clinical care and welfare of companion animals globally, representing more than 200,000 veterinarians around the world through its 110 member associations. Its core activities include the creation of Global Guidelines which set standards for veterinary care in key areas of practice, including nutrition, pain management and welfare.

WSAVA World Congress takes place in Toronto from 16-19 July.  The Professional Wellness presentation and expert panel discussion takes place at 11.40 am on 17 July.

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