The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has elected Thai veterinarian Dr Siraya Chunekamrai as its new President. Dr Chunekamrai is a pioneer of veterinary practice in Thailand where she opened the country’s first equine surgery in 1996. She has a strong interest in self- and professional development and in helping WSAVA member associations in countries where companion animal practice is still emerging to raise standards of care. Dr Ellen van Nierop has been elected as Vice President. A Dutch veterinarian, she practices in Ecuador and is a former Honorary Treasurer of the association.
The WSAVA has also elected two new members of its Executive Board, Dr John de Jong, a past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, who will serve as Honorary Treasurer, having held the role on an interim basis for several months, and Dr Jim Berry, formerly chair of the WSAVA’s Congress Steering Committee and a past president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. All of those elected will serve a two-year term.
Dr Chunekamrai graduated from Kasetsart University Veterinary School, Bangkok, and studied for her PhD at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. She first became involved with the WSAVA in 2008 as President of the Veterinary Practitioners’ Association of Thailand, joining its Executive Board as Honorary Secretary in 2012. She has been Vice President since 2018.
Dr Shane Ryan, the WSAVA’s outgoing president will also serve a further two-year term as Past President.
Commenting, she said: “I am humbled and grateful to have been elected as the WSAVA’s first female president, a move that reflects the steps our community has taken to become much more representative of our profession globally.
“Taking on this role in the ‘Pandemic Age’ is challenging but, while disruption is painful, it can highlight new opportunities and it’s inspiring to see our members around the world already making great strides in maintaining their veterinary communities virtually.
“During my presidency, I will be leading efforts to increase our inclusivity and attract more volunteers to support our Committees and other activities. We have already made great progress in transforming ourselves into an ‘offline to online’ association and recently held this year’s Assembly Meeting successfully online.
“While we will reinstate our face-to-face activities as soon as we can do so safely, it’s exciting to see the new ways in which we are already supporting our members virtually and providing leadership, support and education to companion animal veterinarians wherever they are in practice. I’m really looking forward to my presidency and to supporting the rapid growth and development of our amazing global veterinary community. If you’re not involved yet, you should be!”
The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 113 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide.