ISVPS was set up in 2003 by a group of like-minded veterinarians with the principal objective to provide attainable, balanced qualifications for veterinary practitioners working in full-time practice. The General Practitioner Certificates and Nurses Certificates were designed to meet the needs of busy veterinary practitioners and nurses wanting to gain a postgraduate qualification without having to take excessive time out of their busy working lives.
Who are ISVPS?
The ISVPS team comprises a board of directors, a dedicated international assessment manager, examination coordinators for each country, a head of operations and legal consultant, an academic board and a team of Specialist examiners. The ISVPS Director, Dr Sheila Wills (BSc BVetMed CertSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS) is a European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine and a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Specialist in Feline Medicine. Our examination coordinators provide support and advice throughout your assessment and examination process. The academic board consists of 10 veterinary specialists from different clinical disciplines from around the world.
This ISVPS team approach ensures that our assessment and examination methods are continually reviewed and scrutinised to achieve the highest standards and to ensure they remain highly, clinically relevant. We also want to ensure that they are relatable to busy clinical practice and the challenges that brings. All of our training providers’ courses are accredited by us to ensure that you receive the highest standards of CPD provision at all times. As part of the accreditation process we ensure our training providers use our ISVPS approved pool of Speakers to maintain the highest level of interactive and inspiring CPD.
The Academic Board
The ISVPS academic board comprises 10 international veterinary specialists who are each highly recognised in their specialist area of interest. This includes specialists from different disciplines from all over the world. The academic board also provides invaluable insight into the continuing education and assessment requirements in different demographics, thus allowing ISVPS to develop new, cutting-edge assessment methods. ISVPS strives constantly to ensure that all of our General Practitioner Certificates are standardised internationally but we also recognise there are some geographical differences that must also be accounted for to ensure fair assessment of knowledge and skills of our candidates around the world.
Academic Board Members
Simon Wheeler (Chairman UK)
John Houlton (Small Animal Surgery, UK)
Tim Charlesworth (Small Animal Surgery, UK)
Emma O’Neil (Small Animal Medicine, UK)
Melanie Pastor (Small Animal Medicine, France)
Randi Drees (Diagnostic Imaging, UK)
Lorenzo Crosta (Exotic Animal Practice, Spain and Italy)
Mary Fraser (Nurses Certificates, UK)
Philipp Mayhew (Soft Tissue Surgery, US)
Gualtiero Gandini (Neurology, Italy)
ISVPS Senior Team
RCVS Recognised Specialist in Feline Medicine
European Veterinary Specialist in Internal Medicine
After graduating from the University of Reading in 1994 with a BSc in Animal Science, Sheila studied veterinary medicine at the University of London, graduating in 1998. Sheila then spent five years in small animal practice before undertaking an Feline advisory Bureau Residency in Feline Medicine at the University of Bristol. Since completing her residency, Sheila has spent 10 years in small animal medicine referral practice as well as a working for two commercial veterinary laboratories. She acquired the ECVIM Diploma in Internal Medicine in September 2010 and is a European Veterinary Specialist in Internal Medicine and an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Feline Medicine. Sheila has lectured nationally and internationally on all aspects of Feline Medicine.
Her passion has always revolved around education and providing the highest level of continuing professional development for vets and vet nurses in practice. Her role as director of ISVPS allows her to fulfill a lifelong dream of being at the forefront of veterinary education and provision of high quality postgraduate qualifications globally. Certification allows recognition of both veterinary surgeons and vet nurses for their dedication and hard work to further enhance their knowledge in their respective areas of interest.
Ana is Operations Manager and Legal Consultant for ISVPS. She has joined the organization with great enthusiasm aiming to further develop the high standards set up from start.
She graduated at law in Coimbra, Portugal and previously worked in several major companies improving her skills in client management, quality control and supervising client management teams. She has also worked on a legal office as a consultant. She joined the Improve International company in 2007 as business manager overseeing the delivery of the portfolio of courses in the different managed courses from Oporto that include Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Japan, Mexico, Chile and Peru. She also works as the HR coordinator in the offices as well as a legal consultant.
Her range of expertise allows her to provide support on different areas with upper management on new projects and coordinating the existing ones.
John Houlton qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1970 having gained a 1st Class Natural Science Degree in 1967. After 6 years in practice, he returned to Cambridge as University Assistant Surgeon. In 1980 he became University Surgeon, remaining in that post until 1997. He then joined the Veterinary Defence Society as a Claims Consultant until 2010. He has extensive experience of being an examiner, having acted as an external examiner for several UK Veterinary Colleges, having examined for the RCVS Certificate and Diplomas in small animal orthopaedics and surgery, RCVS Fellowships and for the European College of Veterinary Surgeons.
He has a wide number of contacts in Europe and has been President of the British Veterinary Orthopaedic Association (BVOA), AO/Vet International, the European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology (ESVOT) and the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS). He is an RCVS Diplomate in Veterinary Radiology and in Small Animal Orthopaedics, and a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. He is currently European Associate Editor for Veterinary Surgery, a panellist for the BVA/KC hip and elbow dysplasia schemes and a European Specialist in Veterinary Surgery. In 1985 he was awarded the BSAVA Simon Award for outstanding contributions to Veterinary Surgery. He has published extensively and has co-edited five text books. Beyond veterinary medicine, his major interest is gundogs, and working Labradors in particular.
Simon Wheeler, born in Wales, graduated from the University of Bristol in 1981. After working in veterinary practice, he gained a PhD in neurology from the University of London. He is a founder Diplomate and President of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. He held academic positions at North Carolina State University and University of London. He holds an MBA from The Open University Business School, Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is adjunct Professor of Clinical Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine – North Carolina State University.
Always interested in Science and Education, Vera Vicinanza is the International Assessment Manager at ISVPS. She is a qualified veterinary surgeon from the Italian “Federico II” University of Naples. During her studies and later on, she collaborated with Veterinarians Beyond Borders participating in International Cooperation Projects and Education to Sustainable Development Projects, completing her thesis on infectious disease in Sahrawi Refugee Camps in the Sahara Desert (Algeria).
After moving to Barcelona (Spain), she worked in general veterinary practice and obtained her PGCE (Science teaching) from the UB (University of Barcelona) and her MSc in Clinical Behaviour from the UAB (Autónoma University of Barcelona), investigating “The Influence of Nutrition on Behaviour” and presenting her work in the First GRETCA Congress (Cordoba, Spain. 2012). She worked as freelance collaborating with Veterinary Clinics as Behaviour Consultant and with different companies through meetings and seminars on human-animal interaction and Animal Behaviour. She fulfilled her passion for Education working as L&D Manager for a Spanish Nationwide Company delivering training for veterinary nurses and lecturing in Biology and in Food Safety and Hygiene for different companies.
She is writer for different magazines in Spanish on Human-Animal Interaction, Responsible Ownership and Animal Behaviour and Welfare.
After moving to the UK in 2013, she worked for the Cambridge e-learning Institute delivering training in Animal Behaviour and Welfare to students from all over the world and collaborated with the International Cat Care in students’ assessment. Her passion for non-profit organisations and Animal Welfare, lead her to collaborate with the local branches of the RSPCA and Cats Protection.
Georgia uses experience gained since joining ISVPS as an Examination Coordinator in 2017 to oversee international academic standards and to manage partnerships with both training providers and validation partners. Georgia is also responsible for line-managing and supporting the UK-based coordinator team.
Georgia has an undergraduate degree in Creative Industries (from the Queensland University of Technology, in Australia), and an undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medical Sciences (from the University of Nottingham). She is currently undertaking a Postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Educational Studies: Educational Assessment from the University of Cambridge in association with Cambridge Assessment.
Georgia hopes to use both her experience in assessment and her veterinary background to support and strengthen the ISVPS team.
ISVPS Country Representatives
Georgina is a registered veterinary nurse, with 14 years’ experience working in practice in both first opinion practice and a large multidisciplinary referral hospital in the South West of England. Georgina gained the ISVPS certificate in anaesthesia in 2015 through Improve International and became the lead nurse of the dentistry and maxillofacial department. Anaesthesia is a learning passion for Georgina and she thrived in the variation of anaesthesia and patient care required for the departments maxillofacial trauma patients. Her role also included assisting with the teaching of the dentistry residents and supporting their studies for the European diploma in dentistry.
Georgina joined ISVPS in January 2020 and is an examination coordinator for the nurses certificates.
In her spare time, Georgina enjoys growing vegetables at her allotment, traveling and spending time with her two cats, Fresco and Kilo.
Ivete Ribeiro studied Music at the Music Conservatory in Aveiro. In 2009 she graduated in Languages and Publishing Studies in the University of Aveiro, where in 2012, she obtained a Masters in Languages, Literatures and Cultures. In 2014 she attended a course of International Commerce and in 2016, she completed a post-graduation in Legal Translation of French in the same university. In 2009, she started working as a music teacher at the elementary school. Before joining the ISPVS as French Examination Coordinator, she worked in a 3D Printing Company’s customer service team. She has also been working as a French translator of legal documents since 2010.
Lara was born and raised in South Africa, but moved to the UK in 2010. She has extensive experience in hospitality and customer service.
After finding her feet in the UK, she lived in London, and from 2011 to 2018 worked for a renowned retirement charity, which has survived since 1611. She started in the catering department and quickly progressed to Event Manager for the entire venue.
Lara moved to the Swindon surrounding area in 2018.
Lena Tiefel joined the ISVPS team of exam coordinators in the beginning of 2020 and is responsible for ISVPS candidates in German speaking countries. Born in southern Germany she worked full time as a Veterinary Technician until she started studying Veterinary Medicine in 2016. By the end of 2019 she took a break from University for her upcoming mother role and will finish her studies as soon as her baby boy is old enough. She enjoys nature with her dog and playing different instruments such as guitar and piano. In her holidays she explores foreign countries and cultures with her growing family. She is happy to support you on your way to your ISVPS certificate!
Maria José Agüero, born in San Juan, Argentina, graduated in Social Work and has lived in the city of Porto, Portugal since 2014.
She began her academic career at the Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina (2008/2012), having also studied at the Instituto Politécnico de México, Mexico City (2012) and at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City (2013). Maria completed her studies at the Instituto de Serviço Social do Porto, Portugal (2014/2016) and has participated in different projects in the social and healthcare area in Argentina, Mexico, and Portugal.
Marialetizia Villa is a qualified Veterinary Technician, and joined ISVPS as the Italian Examination Coordinator c/o SCIVAC, Cremona (IT) in 2014. Marialetizia has scientific training, high level of experience about sales line management, employee relations with pet shop, veterinary pharmacy, wholesaler.
Marialetizia’s role includes coordination and management of sales activities as consultant for product for animal health, coordination of breeder’s line events, employee relationship with veterinary and organisation veterinary scientific’s events. Marialetizia’s strengths are team oriented, problem solving, excellent independent business and team worker capacity, able to maintain and develop professional relations.
Rosangel Carella Ferrante was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and is currently studying languages at the University of Porto, where she has been living since 2015.
During all these years she developed a strong knowledge in the area of customer service with the Spanish and Portuguese market.
She loves reading, traveling, learning new cultures and taking photos in her free time.
Tania graduated from the University of Plymouth with a degree in Psychology. She then worked within HR & Recruitment for a successful care company. After travelling, her career took a change in direction and she spent four years working for a well known animal charity directly looking after and rehoming the pets. Tania progressed her career by working for a veterinary company, coordinating their graduate development programme for vets. Tania has recently joined the ISVPS team, coordinating examinations for English assessments. Outside of work, Tania likes to travel, socialise and has two rabbits to keep her busy.
ISVPS Support Team
Claire joined ISVPS at the beginning of 2018 as an Examination Administrator. She is responsible for supporting the international team of coordinators and assisting the ISVPS finance team.
Previously Claire worked for nine years in the small animal department of a local long established, independent veterinary practice. She then worked for a financial company assisting a team of paraplanners.
Claire has a dog and a horse, so outside of work can be found spending time with them and competing with her horse.
To achieve ISVPS accreditation a course provider must provide/fulfil the set criteria, which is evaluated by the accreditation committee. Please refer to the accreditation page for further details.
Validation Review Panel:
This is not a formal committee of ISVPS but is an integral part of the examination process. The Validation Review Panel is responsible for reviewing and benchmarking all submitted examination questions. Members of the Validation Review Panel are General Practitioner Certificate holders and academics.