RCVS joins Federation of Veterinarians of Europe’s United in Diversity Campaign

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has joined a Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) campaign aiming to highlight the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the veterinary professions. Originally introduced at the FVE General Assembly in London back in June, the campaign was launched as part of World Mental Health Day to encourage veterinary organisations and individuals to come together and share resources, examples of their work, and future aims regarding EDI.

As part of the campaign, the RCVS has recorded a short video, highlighting its current EDI and mental health work and its plans for the future. The introduction to the video features RCVS Director for the Advancement of the Professions, Angharad Belcher, who oversees the RCVS’s work on EDI as well as the RCVS mental health project, the Mind Matters Initiative.

In the video Angharad states: “EDI and mental health are inextricably linked and there is still much work to be done across both areas to ensure that we can create a thriving veterinary workforce where people feel psychologically safe to speak out and bring their whole selves to work without fear of retribution.

“Education, research and collaboration are paramount. We are striving to do our utmost to pinpoint where the key problems lie so we can come together and use our shared knowledge to work towards a better future.”

The video lasts just over 5 minutes and also features Chair of the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group (DIG), Dr Tshidi Gardiner MRCVS, and RCVS Senior Vice President and Chair of the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative, Dr Kate Richards MRCVS, who both go into further detail about the College’s ongoing work and commitment concerning EDI and mental health.

Dr Tshidi Gardiner said: “As the current Chair of DIG, I have been really proud to be able to contribute the College’s ongoing activities surrounding EDI and, by extension, mental wellbeing. By linking diversity and wellbeing, we can ensure all members of the veterinary team feel connected and psychologically safe at work.

“Since creating the FVE campaign video, we have been continuing to add to our bank of resources, an example of which includes updating content for our profile page on the official Black History Month website.

“We have some truly fantastic EDI advocates here in the UK veterinary industry, and I think it is really important that we are all able to share our experiences without fear of judgement. This was a key aim of the interviews recorded for the Black History Month website – to share the success stories and achievements but also bring to light some of the challenges that we as BAME veterinary professionals have had to overcome.

“We are definitely moving in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go. However, I hope that through our ongoing work and commitment, together we can continue to promote a positive shift in the professions, where people can be increasingly open, accepting and willing to learn from each other’s experiences.

“Making conversations about diversity, inclusion and mental health common place is key. The more we listen, the more we learn and the easier it becomes to create a space where everyone can feel empowered to be themselves.”

For more information about the FVE campaign, you can visit the FVE United in Diversity campaign page and the RCVS’ contribution can be accessed directly on YouTube.

The RCVS will continue to update content for its Black History Month page throughout the year and current content can be accessed via their online profile. To access the Black History Month interviews directly, visit the RCVS Black History Month YouTube playlist.

For more resources on Inclusive Leadership for the veterinary professions, visit the RCVS Leadership Library.