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RCVS announces the recipients of the 2024 RCVS Honours and Awards

30 April 2024

The Principal of the world’s top-rated veterinary school, a vet who helps the animal companions of homeless people in Gloucester, a farrier who has trained hundreds of veterinary students on hoof health, and a vet nurse who advises the public on cat wellbeing and behaviour are among those who have received an RCVS award this year. 

Sue PatersonDr Sue Paterson FRCVS, RCVS President (pictured), said: “This year we saw a record number of people submit nominations for our suite of awards thanks to a very active social media campaign. This campaign saw a number of previous years’ recipients talking about how important their award was to them, and encouraging members of the professions to recognise veterinary excellence by making nominations, and its success was demonstrably clear.

“Having so many high-quality nominations meant the Nominations Committee and RCVS Council were left with a difficult decision on who to choose, although it gave us great pride to see so much veterinary excellence on display. All of this year’s winners are the cream of a very large crop and so I congratulate them all for this very significant achievement.”

The full list of awards and recipients can be found below. All nominations for RCVS Honours & Awards were approved by the Nominations Committee, comprising members of the RCVS Officer Team including the President, Vice-Presidents and Treasurer and Chair of VN Council. The nominations were ratified by RCVS Council at its March 2024 meeting. No Student Community Award has been bestowed this year.

Queen’s Medal

Professor Stuart ReidThe Queen’s Medal, which was approved by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 as the highest honour that the RCVS can bestow upon an individual veterinary surgeon, is awarded in recognition of someone who has achieved a highly distinguished career with sustained and outstanding achievements throughout.

This year’s recipient was Professor Stuart Reid FRCVS (pictured), Principal of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and a Past-President and Council member of the RCVS. Stuart has led the RVC since 2011 and, for the past four consecutive years of his tenure, the vet school has topped the QS World University Subject Rankings for veterinary science.

During his time as RCVS President, Stuart presided over the ratification and adoption of a new Royal Charter which recognised veterinary nurses as a fully regulated profession for the first time; launched a consultation on the proposed use of ‘Dr’ as a courtesy title for veterinary surgeons which was then approved by RCVS Council; and ran the London Marathon to raise money for animal welfare and mental health charities. During his time on RCVS Council, Stuart was also heavily involved in the Mind Matters mental health initiative, including chairing its governing Taskforce, as well as the joint RCVS and British Veterinary Association (BVA) Vet Futures project.

Stuart’s nominator for the Queen’s Medal was Robin Hargreaves, who served as BVA President during Stuart’s 2014-15 term. Robin said: “Professor Reid has directly influenced the learning environment and educational outcomes of many hundreds of veterinary professionals through his teaching, administration, and leadership at the institutions he has led. Further to this, by his involvement in the Veterinary Schools Council and now the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) in the USA and work with affiliate teaching institutions around the world, he influences veterinary education globally.

“His huge body of work in infomatics and epidemiology will have had impact on animal welfare and human health. In particular, his work on antimicrobial resistance seeks to help animals both human and non-human in the face of one of the world’s greatest threats to health and survival.

“Professor Reid’s work and communication around mental health issues within our professions has been central to the widespread awareness of mental health as an issue. He has helped to bring together experts from across the field to better understand the drivers of poor mental health, and develop strategies to support those affected, whilst breaking down stigmas and barriers to access such support.

“Few individuals can have had so much influence at the intersection of animal and human health, teaching, research, administration and third sector voluntary work. I can only speak for the influence he has had on me and it is profound and inspiring.”

VN Golden Jubilee Award

The Veterinary Nursing Golden Jubilee Award was introduced in 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first veterinary nurse training course. The award is aimed at veterinary nurses who have had a sustained and distinguished career, who can demonstrate a leadership role within the profession and who can act as an ambassador for the value of veterinary nurses and their work.

Andrea JefferyThis year’s recipient is Andrea Jeffery RVN (pictured), an educationalist, VN pioneer and former Chair of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council. She was the first veterinary nurse to chair VN Council as well as being the first to sit as a member of RCVS Council, representing the University of Bristol Veterinary School.

As VN Council Chair, Andrea oversaw the creation of the first Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses. In 2007, along with fellow former VN Council member Hilary Orpet RVN, Andrea developed the ‘Orpet and Jeffery Ability Model’, the first model of veterinary nursing care which helped to provide a standardised approach to veterinary care. Latterly, Andrea worked as Chief Nursing Officer for Linnaeus with responsibility for more than 2,000 nursing staff.

Her nominator, Trish Scorer RVN, Lead Pre-registration Experience Manager at Linnaeus, said: “Andrea co-created a career framework for the nursing teams across the Linnaeus primary care and referral practices. This means that from the start of their career, through all role levels, nursing teams have clear and transparent career pathways, ensuring that nursing is a career for life with clear signposting for each career stage.

“During her time in both further and higher education, Andrea has educated hundreds of student nurses, helping them to understand the accountabilities of veterinary nurses for all of those patients committed to our care. Andrea has huge satisfaction meeting those students now as RVNs working as amazing ambassadors for the profession.”

Trish added: “The work which Andrea undertook with Hilary Orpet in the creation of the Orpet and Jeffery Ability model for the first time helped define nursing activities and accountabilities in terms of patient care and delegated authority. It helped to provide an evidence base to our practice and whether the nursing care interventions we make do make a difference to the care we provide patients.

“Andrea has spoken and will continue to speak in forums that raise awareness of veterinary nursing as a profession and how vital a role the veterinary nurse is as part of an interprofessional team within clinical practice.”

Honorary Associate

The RCVS Honorary Associateship is awarded to non-veterinary laypeople in recognition of the special contribution they make to the veterinary sphere. Previous recipients have included scientists, lecturers, educationalists, charity-workers, journalists, farriers, farmers and those involved in the commercial field.

This year, the Honorary Associateship was awarded to three people: Dr Iain Berrill, James Ferrie and Professor Diana Williams.

Dr Berrill, a fish biologist and Head of Technical at Scottish Salmon, was nominated for working closely with fish vets to improve the health and welfare of fish in the Scottish aquaculture industry. His nominator, Ronald Soutar MRCVS, who is Head of Veterinary Services at Scottish Sea Farms Ltd, said: “Iain is also the go-to person for vets and others outwith the sector wishing to access information on fish health and welfare or seeking a conduit to the agreed opinion of Scottish aquaculture’s vets. He has, for example, provided vet-related information to the Scottish Government’s Farmed Fish Health Framework, to the BVA’s working group on sustainable aquaculture and to the VMD in relation to the use and availability of medicines for farmed fish.

“Without Iain’s work, and the way in which he does it, the work of Scotland’s salmon vets would undoubtedly have been harder. He has dealt incredibly competently with many issues which would have diverted us from the very important focus on the daily care of farmed fish.”

James Ferrie has been the farrier for the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine for some 50 years, helping to train generations of equine vets, providing lectures and practical workshops to students, contributing to books and scientific papers, and working with vets to maximise treatment outcomes and welfare.

His nominator is Patrick Pollock FRCVS, Professor of Veterinary Surgery and Remote and Rural Medicine at both the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh and Director of the Glasgow Equine Hospital and Practice and Head of the Division of Equine Clinical Sciences at the University of Glasgow. He said: “It is not an exaggeration to say that no farrier has contributed more to equine welfare than Jim Ferrie. In 2024, it will be 50 years since Jim took over as the farrier at The University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine and, since then, he has shaped the careers of hundreds of veterinary surgeons, many who have gone on to greatly improve equine welfare.

“As well as providing a weekly specialist referral farriery service to the equine clinics at the University equine hospitals in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Jim has lectured across the globe to farriers, veterinary surgeons and horse owners and developed multiple novel approaches to equine foot problems and lameness, including an approach to foot imbalance, the most common cause of foot lameness in the world, that has been truly transformational in terms of the welfare of all types of equids.”

Diana Williams was until recently Professor of Infection Biology and Microbiomes at the University of Liverpool’s Institution of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Studies where she has benefitted animal health and welfare through her teaching and her research, particularly in the field of livestock health, welfare and productivity.

Her nominator is Professor the Lord Trees, a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and Emeritus Professor in Veterinary Parasitology from the University of Liverpool. He said: “Diana Williams has made a great contribution directly to animal health and welfare, and indirectly to aid the veterinary profession's ability to improve animal health and welfare.

“She has done this, first, through her teaching role in academia to over 2,000 veterinary undergraduates since 1994 at the University of Liverpool, giving them a great understanding of the causation, impact and control of parasitic diseases in the UK and globally, and imbuing in them a great interest in the subject; second, by influencing thousands of vets and associated professionals with her outreach and knowledge transfer activities; and third, through her world-class research, informing and influencing tens of thousands of animal health and public health professionals globally in improving the control of important parasitic diseases.”

Compassion Award

The Compassion Award is for veterinary surgeons or veterinary nurses at any stage of their career who have demonstrated compassion towards fellow professionals and/or members of the animal-owning public. This may be as part of a one-off initiative or sustained over a longer period of time, but the individual needs to have made a significant impact and shown genuine compassion above and beyond what might have been expected of them as part of their day-to-day work.

This year’s recipient was Timothy Sandys MRCVS, who started the Gloucester branch of StreetVet, a charity in which vets and veterinary nurses offer free essential veterinary services to the pets of people experiencing homelessness and continues to be the branch’s team leader.

His nominator, and fellow StreetVet volunteer Clifford Alderman MRCVS, said: “Tim is a self-effacing non-judgmental human being who always goes that extra mile to help both people and their animals. He is a magnificent member and representative of the veterinary profession and is an effective leader, an inspiration to those who work with him, and a good friend to many of his charges.

“He has been the recipient of the Dean Lester Coleman StreetVet Vet Volunteer of the Year Award and has supported so many of the homeless community in Gloucester.

“One outstanding success is convincing local hostels to accept dogs inside with their owners, especially during Covid 19 and lockdowns, because his guidance and efforts convinced the authorities that the pets were vaccinated, treated for parasites and generally well looked after. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award for the constant effort and endeavour he shows and he is an outstanding credit to his profession.”

Impact Award

The Impact Award is bestowed upon a vet or vet nurse who has recently made a considerable impact that has affected the profession at large, animal health or welfare, or public health.

This year’s recipients are: Dr Eve Hanks MRCVS, Thom Jenkins MRCVS and Mark Morton MRCVS. [Please note: while ordinarily only two Impact Awards are bestowed every year, the Nominations Subcommittee felt that Mr Jenkins’s nomination, which was originally for the Inspiration Award, was more suitable for the Impact Award.]

Dr Hanks is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of MI:RNA Diagnostics, and was nominated for the impact of her entrepreneurship and innovation on the world of veterinary diagnostics.

Her nominator is Dr Robert Coultous, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of MI:RNA who also works as an Affiliate Researcher at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School. He said: “Eve has created a platform technology that diagnoses pre-clinical disease, and predicts progression and response to treatment.

“She has harnessed the power of microRNAs, small non-coding molecules regulating gene expression in health and disease. Her new approach to precision medicine analyses microRNA fingerprints with artificial intelligence and mathematical modelling.

“She is paving the way to a new diagnostics era, offering a genuinely scalable solution to early disease. Her innovation is affordable and offers tangible benefits to veterinary surgeons. It will help pets live longer lives, preserve and improve horses’ sportive potential and welfare; while, on farm, it will reduce the use of antimicrobials, increase productivity to feed a growing population, improve animal welfare, strongly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect consumer safety.”

Thom Jenkins is CEO and co-founder of PetsApp, a veterinary engagement and communication platform that assists veterinary practices and their clients with a variety of tasks including appointment booking, reminders, payments and chat functions.

His nominator is Dr Jessica May MRCVS, Customer Success Team Lead at PetsApp. She said: “Thom is a visionary. He will continue to inspire the professions and many people beyond, too. Whether it is finding even more ways to galvanise clinic teams to serve pets more efficiently and effectively, or delighting owners with their customer experiences, or attracting talent from other industries. He strives for progress every day and is never content with ‘business as usual’.

“Thom has a true growth mindset, which is coupled with deep understanding and compassion. His energy and motivation are contagious. Thom uses highly scientific methodology in his business process; yesterday’s successes are fertile grounds for reflection and testing new hypotheses. This rigour is strongly appreciated by veterinary professionals.”

Mark Morton is the initiator and clinical lead for the Canine Cruciate Registry (CCR), a database which aims to improve outcomes for dogs with cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, one of the most common causes of lameness in dogs. The registry is run by RCVS Knowledge, the charity partner of the RCVS, and is working to build an evidence-based in order to better understand which surgical techniques and implants improve patient outcomes.

His nominator is Professor John Innes FRCVS, Director of Movement Referrals in Cheshire and former Chair of the RCVS Fellowship. He said: “Mark has been exemplary in the way he has brought together a multi-disciplinary team to guide and steer the CCR. He has worked tirelessly to promote engagement with the CCR amongst UK vets through multiple presentations at meetings and on webinars. I am sure the RCVS Knowledge team would agree that he has given generously of his time, always with good humour, and excellent leadership skills. It is important to note that Mark has been eager, industrious and inclusive in working to open the CCR to all veterinary surgeons: GPs, Advanced Practitioners and Specialists.

“Mark has been a driving force in delivering the first published report from the CCR data, which was both professional and informative. RCVS Knowledge has now asked Mark to take up a wider volunteering role as the 'RCVS Knowledge Clinical Lead for Registries', recognising his leadership skills and expertise in this area, as well as how the model of the CCR platform could be adapted to registries for other chronic conditions.”

Inspiration Award

The Inspiration Award is for vets or vet nurses who have demonstrated the ability to inspire and enthuse others consistently throughout their career.

This year’s recipient was Alexandra Taylor RVN, who is currently the Cat Wellbeing and Behaviour Advisor for International Cat Care, where she plays a global role in educating cat owners, veterinary teams and all those who work with cats about how to optimise the care and welfare of cats.

Her nominator was Louise Northway RVN, Clinical Lead VN at Wendover Heights Veterinary Centre and Quality Improvement Lead at RCVS Knowledge, who said: “Alex has been invited to speak internationally, and her lectures are always very well received. She is probably the most 'well known' feline RVN in our industry and that is a result of years of hard work. She has written dozens of peer-reviewed articles and blogs, recorded podcasts and contributed to feline nursing textbooks.

“She delivers in-house team training as well as taking part in webinars, and really works to educate as far and wide as she can. Her influence is so positive because she is authentic, strong and kind. She is 'the nurse' you would want to work with. She guides and supports you with your knowledge, and I’m sure thousands of nurses are no longer scruffing cats as a result of her educational articles and lectures!”

International Award

The International Award is bestowed on veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses or laypeople who have worked internationally, from either within or outside the UK, and have made an outstanding contribution on issues that are in line with the RCVS mission, for example, around raising veterinary standards, veterinary education, improving animal health and welfare, developing leadership, or promoting mental health and welfare.

This year’s recipients were Dr Nancy de Briyne and Professor Susan Mbugua.

Nancy has been Executive Director of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) since 2021, having worked at the organisation since 2000. FVE is the representative body for veterinary organisations from 38 different European countries, including the United Kingdom, and acts as a coordinating body, allowing veterinarians from across the continent to share best practice and knowledge.

Her nominator was Professor Stuart Reid FRCVS, a representative for UK veterinary education at FVE. He said: “Although her impact has been in several areas, it has been in her advocacy for responsible drug use that Nancy has been internationally outstanding. Antibiotic sales were notoriously high in the early 2000s, which created a reputational risk for the veterinary profession. Nancy worked hard to steer FVE in its role in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and has been the driving force behind innovative FVE initiatives to advocate for the responsible use of antimicrobials and decrease the use of antibiotics in animals. With support from FVE members, allied stakeholders and agencies, Nancy's tireless efforts were instrumental in initiatives that supported a significant shift in the trend of antibiotic sales, which have now nearly halved.

“Each successive FVE Strategy has included objectives and targets related to combating AMR, and each one has resulted in numerous evidence-led position papers, conferences and awareness campaigns, good practice documents, research activities, and scientific publications. While the initiatives themselves have been commendable, it is Nancy's can-do attitude that has truly set her apart.”

Susan is the founding member of the Kenya Small and Companion Animal Veterinary Association (KESCAVA), and before that the Kenya Women Veterinary Association (KWVA). Under her leadership of KWVA, the organisation developed an outreach program that educated women, especially in rural areas, on good animal husbandry, while her leadership of KESCAVA has seen it become a member of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Her nominator, Dr Anita Patel FRCVS, a dermatology specialist who runs Veterinary Dermatology Referrals, said: “When she was the president of KESCAVA, she organised the members to get involved in neutering and vaccination programs. The members of the organisation have continued with the outreach program, not only delivering neutering, parasite control and rabies vaccinations but educating children and adults on how to care for animals and the importance of prophylactic treatments.

“Professor Mbugua has mentored and trained post graduate students (both MSc and PhD) and continues to support undergraduate and post graduate students. As the president of KESCAVA she led the first official congress for the organisation in 2017.

“Professor Mbugua’s leadership, reputation and vision makes her an excellent ambassador for the veterinary profession, especially in Africa. She understands the need to improve the welfare of animals and has the practical experience to achieve this goal.

“She understands diversity, the culture, and represents and appreciates the role women play in society. She is well known and respected by veterinarians in Kenya and neighbouring African countries. Her achievements in Kenya are being rolled out in other developing countries.”

AGM and Awards Day

All of these awards will be presented to the recipients at this year’s RCVS Annual General Meeting and Awards Day, which takes place on Friday, 5 July at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.  

Details of the programme, and how to register, will be announced in due course.

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