Q1. Tell us about you, your family and where you live?
Hello! My name is Dallas, and I currently live in Wellington New Zealand. I moved here 4 years ago from Canada, where I have spent most of my life. I completed a bachelor of science in biology at the University of Guelph, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Ontario Veterinary College, and a Master of Science in epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. I also had the privilege of joining the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Field Epidemiology Training Programme for a couple of years where I worked on zoonoses. I have a real passion for One Health and zoonoses – I have worked on projects focusing on rabies, anthrax and highly pathogenic avian influenza. I currently lead the veterinary epidemiology team at OSPRI, who is working to eradicate bovine TB from New Zealand.
I live with my two big dogs Sherlock and Prairie and enjoy all sorts of outdoors activities – running, hiking, sailing, and scuba diving.
Q2. What is your favourite food?
I really love seafood, particularly shellfish.
Q3. Do you have any favourite music?
My playlists are filled with many different genres to suit my mood. I listen to jazz and classical while working, pop and dance while exercising, and even some country music on a Friday night.
Q4. What is your favourite sport
I don’t follow professional sports very much, though am trying to become an All Blacks fan to support New Zealand!
Q5. Tell us in a paragraph what your current veterinary position is.
As lead veterinary epidemiologist at OSPRI, I help to use science to inform policy. My team is involved in deciding which diagnostic tests we use to find TB, our testing regimens (how often and which animals to test), slaughter surveillance research, developing scenario tree models to test our policy and to provide proof of freedom, and so much more. No two days are the same, and it is very rewarding work.
Q6. What influenced you to become a veterinarian?
I loved science and was interested in a career that opened a lot of doors. I’ve certainly experienced that in my career so far.
Q7. What do you enjoy most about being a veterinarian?
As mentioned above, I love how many roles our skills can be useful in. We are trained in pattern recognition and population health – which is useful both in animal, and human, populations.
Q8. What are some of the main challenges for you and your national veterinary association?
Our vet association is called the New Zealand Veterinary Association, or NZVA. Based on some recent work, I believe some of our major focuses include:
1) Workforce sustainability (workforce shortages, and the need to modify business models to improve retention rates)
2) After hours clinical services (coping strategies and guidelines for veterinary businesses)
3) Advocacy (helping vets deal with public perception and continued social license, supporting the industry in animal welfare/health and safety/emergency management)
4) One Health (antimicrobial resistance and anthelmintic resistance issues, environmental sustainability)
Q9. How do you communicate to your organisation about the CVA and its activities?
I will be sending a summary to the NZVA about what is covered in our meetings, and this will be presented to our Board. I will highlight any issues the NZVA needs to be aware of or to be involved in.
The information will also be posted on the NZVA website and shared by email newsletter to members.
When the opportunity is right, I will also aim to write an article for the vet magazine (“VetScript”) that is sent out to New Zealand members.
Q10. How do you think the CVA can assist you in your Councillor Role?
As I am new to this role, there is a lot I have to learn and I would appreciate all of the advice and information sharing that I can get. I am very excited to get involved.