RCVS Council elects first black council member as junior VP

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Council has elected its first black council member in its 175-year history to be junior vice president of the college for 2019-20.

Mandisa Greene, who was first elected to council in 2014 and was re-elected last year, is currently chair of the Practice Standards Group, which coordinates the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme, and a member of the Primary Qualifications Subcommittee and the Legislation Working Party. She has also served on the Standards Committee and as well as chairing the Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) Coordinators Liaison Group.

The election of Greene took place at the RCVS Council meeting on Thursday 7 March, the day before the 175th anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter to the RCVS by Queen Victoria, recognising the ‘veterinary art’ as a profession and giving the college powers to administer examinations to the students at London and Edinburgh veterinary colleges, which they would need to pass to become veterinary surgeons.

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Born in the UK, and raised in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies from the age of two, Greene moved back to the UK aged 18 to study for a BSc in Biological and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Exeter. She then gained her veterinary degree from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2008.

Since graduating, her interests have been in small animal practice and emergency and critical care, and she has worked as a veterinary surgeon in a number of practices in the West Midlands.

Greene currently works for Medivet in the Staffordshire town of Newcastle-under-Lyme and lives in Stoke-on-Trent. She is a published author, having been the researcher on a paper about genomic variations in Mycobacterium published in BMC Microbiology.

Greene, said: “I am humbled that my peers and colleagues elected me as junior vice president and fully appreciate that, as the first ethnic minority member of council, this is an historic appointment, especially when there is so much discussion over the importance of diversity and inclusion both within the profession and wider society.

“Growing up in Trinidad we would always have animals in our home as my mother would often arrive with extra pups and kittens from litters around our neighborhood. It was only when I returned to the UK that being a veterinary surgeon from an ethnic minority was seen as unusual and I realised that young people from minority ethnic backgrounds might not consider a veterinary career as a result.”

She added: “I am also concerned about diversity more broadly, including making the veterinary professions more open to people with disabilities, looking at socio-economic and class backgrounds and also the situation of our European colleagues, some of whom I know have suffered abuse over the last few years and may feel uncertain about their future in the UK.

“Whilst my background may be unique, I would say my experiences as a small animal practitioner who has a young family and wears many other hats underscores the commonalities amongst us, so I am also interested in issues such as practitioner wellbeing, work-life balance, out-of-hours work and practice standards.”

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