Issa Robson- Co Founder BVEDS
I am a Thai / British dedicated farm vet graduating from Edinburgh University in 2008. As
well as being in clinical farm practice, I have been a project manager, a lecturer and now I am finally
a Veterinary Clinical Teaching Fellow at Surrey, which means I get to mentor the final years
and the next generation of Surrey vets – a role I absolutely love!
After many years of trying to fit in and biting my tongue about racism, I seem to have developed a policy of radical honesty and starting awkward conversations about discrimination in the profession. I know one thing now; it does get
easier the more you talk about these difficult issues. As a profession we can either have uncomfortable conversations or live with dysfunction.
For those that can’t (or won’t) hear what you have to say, there are many more that can hear you and by speaking honestly, you will also discover how many people have been through similar experiences, across a multitude of diverse
identities. They will be glad that you spoke up and you will not feel alone.
I am proud to have been part of developing and huge community of support between other affinity groups in the veterinary professions.
Navaratnam Partheeban- Co Founder BVEDS
Navaratnam graduated from Edinburgh and has worked in farm animal production ever since. He has worked in clinical practice, higher education and both in the pharmaceutical and livestock nutrition sectors. He is currently a director for the Oxford Farming Conference and is undertaking a Nuffield Farming Scholarship. His passion for livestock has taken him all over the world having completed training and research in countries such as the US, China and South Africa. He is now based at the Chelmsford branch of Westpoint Farm Vets as a clinical vet.
Fabian Rivers- Working group member
Fabian Rivers is an exotics and small animal vet in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Fabian graduated in Czech Republic in 2018 and went straight into exotics practice. He currently is clinical lead and also is undertaking a certificate in exotic animal practice as well as a mentor, external lecturer and speaker on a variety of issues from exotics practice to recent graduates to breed/animal welfare topics.
Fabian was involved very early with BVEDS primarily as an early contributor and member and since then has occupied a position as a role model/officer, attending and contributing to events particularly on access.
“BVEDS has been the revelation for how to unify the silent voices in veterinary medicine way too long. It its intersectional, proactively inclusive, transparent and I appreciate a space where I can my authentic self and welcome others who have often felt suffocated by that in the vet community”
Emma Ormandy- Working Group Member
Emma is a lecturer in veterinary professional and clinical skills at the University of Liverpool and joined the BVEDs steering group in January 2020. Emma currently leads the Equality and Diversity group at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences at the University and has particular focus on allyship and decolonising the veterinary industry. Twitter:@EmVet
Rachel Malkani- Working Group Member
Rachel is the Scientific Officer and also leads the Diversity and Inclusion steering group at the PDSA. Additionally, she is also a PhD student in veterinary medicine and science at the University of Surrey researching the welfare of dogs with chronic disease using a welfare assessment tool (The Animal Welfare Assessment Grid). She has been involved with BVEDS since 2018. The work of BVEDS is so important and vital in the veterinary profession. There is a range of issues in this industry at both the systemic and individual level that need to be addressed to make the veterinary world a more fair, equal, and safe place for all staff and students. BVEDS has already made such great progression already and can’t wait to see what is in store for the future.
Libby Kemkaran- Working Group Member
Libby was a consultant in the city delivering Change Management/Business development before she then retrained as a vet. She graduated 2011 from University of Cambridge with the Pfizer prize for Outstanding Achievement. A lifelong student of Behavioural Psychology she took the opportunity whilst there to also undertake a degree in Biological and Biomedical Science, major in Behaviour, specifically Neural Mechanisms. She then spent 5yrs working as a Small Animal Clinician before a car crash left her unable to perform surgery. She now works 1:1 Neurocoaching vets and corporate companies, and helps people get unstuck, find the root of the problem and rewire themselves for success. She delivers training and Executive coaching on Leadership, Communications, High Performance, and Strategy.
Nicole Regan- Working Group Member
Nicole is a newly graduated small animal first opinion vet working in the Northwest. She first became involved with BVEDS in 2019 after attending the ‘Community Mastermind’ as a 4th year student at London Vet Show. She then went on to help set up the BVEDS student branch at Liverpool vet school. Nicole is also a member of Chester Zoo’s youth board advising on engagement, inclusion, and accessibility issues across the zoo. Nicole received the 2022 UVLAA Final Year Student Award in recognition of her work across BVEDS, Chester Zoo, as well as online communities Vets; Stay, Go, Diversify!, and VetWings. You can hear more about her journey to becoming a vet in the RCVS ‘For the Record’ podcast: bit.ly/ForTheRecord-2
Zaila Rhodes- Working Group Member
Elyse- Working Group Member
My name is Elysé, I qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 2017 after having attended vet school as a mature student. I worked for three years in traditional mixed practice, before moving into emergency and critical care and zoo work. I am currently one of the BVA council’s Recent Graduate Representatives.
Throughout my student days and early career, I found that the university system and veterinary workplaces as a whole were a challenging place for anyone who did not fit the mould of an “expected” veterinary student. I have witnessed intersecting protected characteristics such as race, religion, sexuality, disability and gender, as well as perceived socioeconomic and cultural differences present significant barriers to advancement within our profession on multiple occasions. This is unacceptable.
I care deeply that this profession that I love reflects the community in which we live and believe that the veterinary world needs to undergo systemic change and serious dismantling of ingrained prejudices in order to enable this. I joined BVEDS in 2020 in order to actively promote anti-bias learning amongst employers and institutions, and support early-career vets, nurses and paraprofessionals facing issues of race, ethnicity, diversity and discrimination.
Lauren Chong- Working Group Member