New BVA President champions diversity within veterinary profession

Exotics and companion animal vet Daniella Dos Santos was elected President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) for 2019/2020 at our annual Members’ Day in Swansea today.

Daniella graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2012, after having completed a degree in molecular genetics from King’s College, London. She has worked in small animal and exotics practice in various locations in the South East, most recently as Principal Exotics and Small Animal Vet at Parkvets Hospital, Kent. She is also studying towards a certificate in Zoological Medicine. 

Time for change

A highlight of Daniella’s year as our Junior Vice President (2018/2019) has been the launch of the #TimeForChange campaign. The campaign was initially inspired by our work on confidence and motivation in the profession in 2018, undertaken with the University of Exeter, as part of the Vet Futures project. This year the focus has been on discrimination and on improving the veterinary workplace for everyone in the veterinary team. Daniella has been heavily involved in the development of our ground-breaking Report on Discrimination in the Veterinary Profession, which drew on responses to our pioneering discrimination questionnaire and to our Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey results.

The report prompted us to launch the #BigConversation, which has seen discussion of these important topics in traditional and social media throughout the summer as well as conversations at BVA Council and our Good Workplace Working Group.

Daniella plans to continue this work next year and has announced that the theme for her presidential year is #VetDiversity, which builds upon past presidents Simon Doherty’s and John Fishwick’s themes of ‘One Veterinary Community’ and ‘Team Vet – Working Together’, respectively. The theme encapsulates our ongoing work championing vets working in a range of roles and from a range of backgrounds and their commitment to promoting the development of an inclusive and welcoming profession for everyone.

Commenting on her appointment, Daniella said:

“I am very proud to be a member of the small, but invaluable, veterinary profession and honoured to have been elected as BVA President. I’ve really enjoyed my year as Junior Vice President, getting to grips with the many challenges and opportunities facing the profession in the current political climate. I look forward to representing and championing all members over the coming year and I’m excited to continue our work encouraging and celebrating diversity and inclusiveness across our profession.

“Vets are such wonderful advocates for the animals in our care and I’m keen to ensure we are also advocates for our own welfare and wellbeing. The veterinary world is changing and we have a perfect opportunity in that change to create a profession that is welcoming and supportive of everyone.”

Vets and animal welfare

Daniella is a passionate advocate for animal welfare. She joined our Ethics and Welfare Advisory Panel, which supports policy development at BVA, in 2014, going on to become chair in 2016. In her time as chair, she helped shape key BVA policies, from disease surveillance to extreme conformation. Her clinical and non-clinical experience make her well positioned to represent the varied veterinary roles and diversity of our members. In her year as Junior Vice President, she has played a key role as an advocate for animal welfare, giving evidence at the Public Bill Committee on wild animals in travelling circuses and making key contributions to the development of our upcoming rabbit welfare policy position.

Daniella added:

“As vets, we have a key role to play in raising awareness of the welfare needs of the animals under our care in the media, with the public and with parliamentarians. I’m passionate about championing animal welfare so this role is a great opportunity to share that passion and to spearhead the BVA’s work improving the welfare of animals across all sectors.”

Daniella lives in Maidstone, Kent. Along with her other professional responsibilities, she is also a trustee of the Animal Welfare Foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys walks with her rescue dog Bridget Bones and Latin and Ceroc dancing.