CVA Councillor Profile – Dr Dianne Phillips of Australia

Q1. Tell us about you, your family and where you live?

I live in a beautiful part of rural Victoria, amongst farmland and nearby bushland, lakes, unspoilt beaches and national parks. I like to think we have the best climate in Victoria, which helps when you are working as a rural practitioner outside!

We have a small hobby farm where we keep a little goat herd, chickens and ducks and occasionally a horse which my 3 girls ride. We make goats cheese when we have a doe in milk, and a ready supply of home grown fruit, vegetables and eggs.

Q2. What is your favourite food?

Maybe that home-made goats cheese on good bread, but I’m a bit of a foodie so can’t choose one thing!

Q3. Do you have any favourite music?

Most types of music except modern jazz and punk/hard rock.

Q4. What is your favourite sport

Swimming and cycling

Q5. Tell up in a paragraph what your current veterinary position is.

I work in for the Victorian government, partly as a field veterinarian, and partly as a technical expert for the rest of my animal health team in the south east of Victoria (about 15 other staff). Our work covers disease surveillance investigations and projects, traceability and auditing of agricultural industries, animal welfare in production animals and emergency response for natural disasters and emergency animal diseases.

Q6. What influenced you to become a veterinarian?

My grandparents were farmers and I spent many hours following my grandfather around and helping (hindering?!) him with his livestock as a child. I always wanted to help in some way in the rural community and preferably work outside.

Q7. What do you enjoy most about being a veterinarian?

Finding solutions to problems and being part of a rural community.

Q8. What are some of the main challenges for you and your national veterinary association?

In the digital age, everyone is an expert and it’s hard to stay abreast of new developments; vets need to work harder to retain a respected and authoritative position in animal health. The traditional model of veterinary careers are no longer representative of the many and varied veterinary  pathways and the organisation must be flexible but relevant and cost effective to retain the membership of its constituents. The globalisation of agricultural markets, levels of international travel, effects of global warming and habitat loss create many new challenges for our agricultural industries and stakeholders which vets must respond to with limited resources! Changing animal welfare values often place vets in an bridging role between traditional farming members and a rapidly evolving urban society, where it is challenging to find a constructive pathway forward.

Q9. How do you communicate to your organisation about the CVA and its activities?

I supply the AVA with a twice yearly written report, supply short media article for publication and have ad hoc communications about ideas, events and plans.

Q10. How do you think the CVA can assist you in your Councillor Role?

Communication between members to identify particular needs or opportunities and to build networks between counsellors to boost connections and exchanges. I would be happy to hear from any of the CVA community!