Dr Renee Hoynck, Honorary Secretary, WSAVA Dr Renee Hoynck is a Dutch veterinarian and WSAVA Executive Board member.
Could you introduce yourself to WSAVA members?
I qualified from the University of Utrecht in Biology and Veterinary Medicine. I went to work in mixed practice in a small village in the Netherlands. I enjoyed large animal work – carrying out Caesarean sections in fields at sunset and attending cows on an island in the river next to our practice. Sometimes we had to convey cows back to the mainland by boat and some always managed to jump off and swim back to shore!
In 1998, I took on co-ownership of a small animal clinic on the coast in the Netherlands in a town called Den Helder. I became sole owner in 2014 and was delighted when the clinic received an externally awarded accreditation – that of ‘Star Clinic’. I recently sold the clinic but remain as practice manager and vet.
I’m a past member of the Ethical Board for the Royal Veterinary Medical Association and was a board member of the Netherlands Association for Companion Animal Medicine for six years. I was also the NACAM Assembly Representative to the WSAVA for many years. I was recently appointed to the Council of Animal-related Affairs in the Netherlands, which advises ministers and government on animal health and welfare issues.
What is your ‘day job’?
Mostly working as a vet which I still enjoy tremendously. There is never a dull moment! I like to be able follow patients and their owners from start to finish. We see the whole picture.
When and how did you first get involved with the WSAVA?
As a young vet, I attended as many WSAVA congresses as possible because I found them so inspiring and actually I’ve never stopped feeling that way! I always try to attend with family so that we can also have a holiday.
You’re a member of the Executive Board. What are your key areas of responsibility?
As Honorary Secretary, the Secretariat is my main responsibility. It is now undergoing a transition to ensure that it is professionally run and capable of sustaining a fast growing WSAVA. WSAVA CEO Arpita Bhose and her Assistant Emma van Rooijen provide fantastic administrative support, enabling Executive Board members to focus on strategy and on the development of the WSAVA into the truly global veterinary community we want it to be.
Are you working on any particular initiatives at the moment?
A key focus is to encourage medical doctors to embrace the concept of One Health. While veterinarians are aware of its importance, many doctors have seemed reluctant so far. Recently WSAVA One Health Committee Chair Mike Lappin helped me by creating a presentation on Zoonoses for WSAVA members to use to educate doctors in their country. Mike did a great job and I was asked to give the presentation to a group of doctors in my hometown. It was well-received. We are currently fine-tuning the presentation before making it available to all WSAVA members through the website.
Why do you think the WSAVA’s work is so important?
Today’s world is all about communities and networks. We are all caring people so it is important that we share with each other as much as we can – wherever we are from and whatever our circumstances. Our ultimate goal is to improve companion animal welfare and I feel privileged to be part of this great group of volunteers giving so much of their time to make a better future for companion animals and their owners.
What do you do when you are not working?
I walk my dog on the beach and love to cook for family and friends. Visiting museums, concerts and other art venues is another passion and I read, play tennis, ski and sail when I get the chance. Most of all, I enjoy travelling the world.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Be proud to be a veterinarian! It is the best profession in the world and being a WSAVA member makes it much more fun as you are never alone. You are part of the nicest community in the world!