WSAVA steps up efforts to improve wellbeing for workers

WSAVA steps up efforts to improve wellbeing for workers

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Professional Wellness Group is ramping up its efforts to improve the health and well-being of all veterinary team members.The mental health of veterinary professionals has long been a concern, with a 2019 PWG study showing problems were worst in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, with the Covid pandemic only exacerbating things.

In response PWG, which is co-chaired by human psychologist Nienke Endenburg and Derick Chibeu, a veterinarian working in general practice in Nairobi, Kenya have added three new members.

They are:

  • Veerle van Geenhoven, senior veterinarian at the Center for Clinical Veterinary Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. Veerle has a particular interest in the integration of psychosocial competence in the veterinary profession. She adopts the Balint method from human medicine to understand the psychodynamics in vet-pet-pet owner relationships
  • Elli Kalemtzaki, a veterinarian who is also a Certified Professional Coach. Her focus is to help veterinarians develop their leadership skills, inspire and motivate their teams and engage with clients
  • Debbie Stoewen, a veterinarian and social worker and creator of an accredited veterinary continuing education program called “The Social Side of Practice” which focuses on the human-animal bond, veterinary wellness, communication, teamwork, organizational culture and leadership

Responding to her now role, Elli, below, said: “I was very excited to find out about this role as I have a special interest in advancing the health and well-being of veterinary professionals globally. Problems such as burnout, depression and anxiety account for a significant proportion of mental health issues in the veterinary profession. I firmly believe that all veterinarians should be able to work in a supportive, professional and caring environment, where they are valued and respected.

“I am very keen to start working with the PWG team and hope to contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of our veterinary colleagues worldwide.”

Nienke said: “The PWG is working to support the well-being of the thousands of veterinary teams around the world who work day in day out to care for animals and their owners. I am delighted to welcome our three new members who bring new skills and who join us a time when our work has never been more important.

“We are looking forward to moving quickly with the development of our global guidelines for launch in early 2022. We expect them to mark an important step towards bringing about positive change and enhancing the wellbeing of all veterinarians globally.

“We could not do our work without the support we receive from WSAVA Gold Partner Hill’s Pet Nutrition. On behalf of the PWG, I would like to say a big thank you to the company for its commitment to veterinary wellness and EDI.”