RCVS President to be featured in ITV Black History Month documentary

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) President Dr Mandisa Greene will be appearing in a special edition of ITV’s current affairs series ‘Tonight’ celebrating Black History Month and the achievements and contributions of people of African and Afro-Caribbean descent in the UK.

The programme, which is due to be broadcast at 7.30pm on Thursday 29 October, will see Dr Greene being interviewed by presenter Alex Beresford alongside a number of other prominent Black Britons including athlete and broadcaster Colin Jackson, publisher and author Margaret Busby, Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees, and nurse and academic Dame Elizabeth Anionwu.

The day before, on Wednesday 28 October at 6pm, Dr Greene will also be delivering the prestigious McCall Lecture, a biennial lecture organised by the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine on issues of importance and significance for the veterinary professions. Her talk, entitled ‘Changing the face of the Veterinary Profession: Adaptation and Innovation’ will explore the significance of her being the first Black person to be President of the College, her journey through the profession and will include a vision for an inclusive future veterinary profession, taking into account different protected characteristics and intersectionality of race, gender and socio-economic background.

In addition to the McCall Lecture, Dr Greene has also carried out a number of other Black History Month-related talks, including recording a podcast for the University of Liverpool, talks with staff at the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Ministry of Justice, and a presentation about veterinary careers to 220 pupils at a South London secondary school.

Furthermore, this month the College also held a joint roundtable with the Veterinary Schools Council on how to support could better support veterinary students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The roundtable included representatives from major veterinary organisations (including the British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society), the eight UK vet schools offering an RCVS-accredited degree, the new veterinary school at Harper Adams-Keele, and Dublin and Utrecht, as well as student representatives.

Discussions included how to establish programmes to address issues around the under-representation of some groups within the profession and widen access and included a presentation from Rheanna Ellis, a final-year veterinary medicine student at the University of Nottingham, who has been working with the British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society to try and form a cross-university network for Black, Asian and minority ethnic veterinary students.

A full report of the roundtable will be published in due course.

Dr Greene commented: “I am immensely honoured to be the first Black President of the RCVS and to use this opportunity to speak to the black community, and indeed all communities, about my love of veterinary science and the importance of the work we do in safeguarding animal health and welfare and wider public health.

“I am a great believer in the phrase ‘if you see it, you can be it’ and I hope that my various talks this month and, particularly the upcoming ITV documentary, will help people recognise that veterinary professionals can come from a diverse range of backgrounds and that, provided they have the drive and the ambition, there should be no barriers to them meeting their dreams.

“Black history is being created daily and has been since the beginning of the black experience. What Black History Month allows us to do collectively is to honour and celebrate the contributions of Black Britons during this one month. It is important that our society counters the portrayal of Black British people which, too often, tends to be one-dimensional, and I am proud to have been able to do this in the context of the veterinary professions.”

In recognition of the significance of Dr Greene becoming the first person of colour to be RCVS President in the College’s 176 year history, as well as wider conversations around racial justice and discrimination that have been prominent this year, the RCVS has also partnered with the official Black History Month campaign which seeks to educate and celebrate the contribution people of African and Afro-Caribbean descent have made to the UK. This includes having a dedicated page on the campaign’s Diversity Portal and being recognised as a Diversity Champion for the College’s ongoing work to improve diversity, equality and inclusion in the profession in collaboration with a number of other organisations through its Diversity and Inclusion Group. The dedicated RCVS page can be found at: www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/article/profile/section/healthcare/the-royal-college-of-veterinary-surgeons-rcvs/

Places at this year’s McCall Lecture can be booked through the event’s dedicated Eventbrite page at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mccall-lecture-tickets-120517431883

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