Dr Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director of UK dog welfare charity Dogs Trust, has been awarded the 2023 WSAVA One Health Award.

Dr Boyden, who is also Chair of UK-based charity Links Group, will receive the award in recognition of her work to highlight the role of veterinary teams in spotting signs of animal and domestic abuse.

Dr Boyden said she is both humbled and hugely honoured to be nominated and judged worth of the award.

“I am lucky to be part of an amazing Links Group team, which delivers this important training to the veterinary profession. My sincere thanks to the WSAVA Executive Board for recognizing this work. I’d also like to thank MSD Animal Health, whose support enables us to carry out this training.”

The Links Group campaigns to raise awareness of the link between the abuse of people and animals through support, training, and inter-agency working. In this role, Dr Boyden has lectured widely using a wide range of educational resources developed by the Links Group for veterinary teams.

Dr Michael Lappin, Chair of the WSAVA One Health Committee, said Dr Merck and himself are long-term admirers of the critical work being done by Dr Boyden in the area of domestic abuse and, as a result, they were delighted to nominate her for this prestigious award.

“Dr Boyden’s contribution to raising awareness of domestic violence as a One Health issue is recognised all around the world and she gives excellent guidance to support the veterinary healthcare team to be proactive in this space. We are looking forward to showcasing her work during our workshop just before WSAVA 2023. We are also honoured that she will give an Awards Winner lecture during the One Health stream at Congress.”

The link between One Health and domestic violence has been a key focus of the One Health Committee and it will address the topic at a workshop on September 26 in Lisbon, Portugal, the day before this year’s WSAVA World Congress.

Dr Boyden will participate in the workshop, together with Dr Melinda Merck, a former co-chair of the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee, and a global expert on veterinary forensics and animal crime scene investigation.

Dr Boyden graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London in 1992 and spent 11 years in general practice. She joined Dogs Trust in 2010 and was appointed Veterinary Director in 2011.

In addition to her veterinary responsibilities, she is involved with the charity’s outreach work, including the Freedom project, which provides temporary fostering for dogs belonging to people fleeing domestic abuse, and public affairs. In her role as Chair of the Links Group, she is involved in undergraduate training on Non-Accidental Injury (NAI) within the UK veterinary schools.

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