Dr Kate Richards was confirmed as the 150th RCVS President at the College’s 2021 Annual General Meeting, which took place on Friday 9 July.
Kate’s investiture makes her the 10th female President of the RCVS and the first to lead an all-female presidential team with Senior Vice-President Mandisa Greene and Junior Vice-President Melissa Donald.
During her first speech as RCVS President, Kate spoke about how experiences of loneliness early in her veterinary career, when she was working in rural farm vet practice, has led her to have a deep understanding of the importance of connection, something which has been reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the value of connections for our mental health and wellbeing. Social distancing has spotlighted in fluorescent pinks, blues and greens the need for social connections. When hungry we eat, thirsty we drink, when we feel lonely we need to connect.
“And that starts with connecting with ourselves, nurturing our minds and bodies, building our sense of self and resilience. I am passionate about initiatives including the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative and Vetlife that support our professions.
“Connections within the professions have been fundamental to my career, providing opportunities to collaborate, extend my knowledge and forge support networks. I look forward to building stronger connections with vets in the UK and abroad, including the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe. I’m so excited about the energy, new connections and networks springing up in the profession. “I’ve worked in non-veterinary roles where I’ve had the opportunity to make new connections and share knowledge across professional disciplines.
“Pre-pandemic I attended a seminar on domestic violence. Speakers from social services said how hard it was to identify victims of domestic violence who were too scared to report. I informed the room about the Links Group, which works hard to raise awareness of the connection between the abuse of animals and people. Sadly, there are still silos, disconnections between well-meaning professionals. That proves to me the critical role of vets in human health and welfare by reporting animals they suspect of non-accidental injury.”