Mental health and wellbeing lectures for veterinary students, staff and professionals were among University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science 80th anniversary celebrations from August 1 to August 5.
The 80th anniversary celebrations featured an inaugural student scholarships and awards evening, special interest group lectures, mental health lectures for students, staff and the profession by international and local speakers, and the launch of a student peer support network.
Councillor of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in the United Kingdom, Dr David Bartram, was invited to present at the week and gave two guest lectures and a workshop.
They covered enhancing personal mental wellbeing, dealing with stress workshop, and veterinary professional wellness and support, from a UK perspective.
“David is passionate about the mental health and wellbeing of the veterinary profession,” Head of School Professor Glen Coleman said.
“He gained a Master of Philosophy and RCVS Fellowship for his research in this field, and has published extensively and presented at conferences worldwide.”
Dr Bartram is Director of Outcomes Research for Zoetis internationally, based in the UK.
He is a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Surrey, where he is responsible for teaching elements of the professional skills program.
Dr Bartram received the 2013 British Veterinary Association’s Chiron Award for outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession.
His UQ lectures were partly funded by the Douglas Slatter and Elizabeth Chambers Endowment Fund with the donation from the estate of Douglas Horton Slatter given by Dr David Brown.
“Dr Brown and the School have identified that investing in the mental health of veterinarians while they are students is crucial for the long-term well-being of the profession and the students’ careers,” Professor Coleman said.
UQ alumnus, Emeritus Professor Trevor Heath also gave a special lecture on the evolution of veterinary education.
A student scholarships and awards evening recognised top students’ achievements from semester two, 2015 and semester one, 2016.
Vice President of the UQ Veterinary Students Association Gemma Holland, who organised the program for the week to celebrate the school’s 80th anniversary said a range of special interest group discussions were held.
They included reptile nutrition, graduate opportunities with Greencross domestic violence and the veterinarian, careers with exotic species, working in the marine industry, one health speakers, small animal medicine and surgery speakers, overseas placements, pathology research, equine and bovine medicine.
Mental health discussions included an Are you ok? Student Services workshop, domestic violence and the veterinarian, vet school story time where staff shared some of the challenges they have faced as a veterinarian, and domestic violence.
“We particularly thank our sponsors, Greencross, AVA, UQVSA, Hills and the Vet School,” she said.
“The UQ Union supported the launch of our peer support network and we had social touch football, dinner and an outdoor cinema on campus on the Friday evening.”
The School of Veterinary Science will continue its 80th anniversary celebration activities this year with continuing education seminars, veterinary science reunions and an 80th anniversary One Health lecture.