ISVPS is a not-for-profit organization which 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  were designed to meet the needs of busy veterinary practitioners wanting to gain a 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.  Many of our directors are veterinary diplomates themselves with extensive clinical and teaching experience. 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. The ISVPS accreditation committee is formed by our international assessment manager, the chairman of the academic board and veterinary specialist advisers. We have a team of approximately 70 Veterinary Specialist Examiners who evaluate all ISVPS assessments to ensure they retain the highest level of quality at all times.

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. Improve International’s courses are accredited by us to ensure that you receive the highest standards of Continuing Education (CE) provision at all times. As part of the accreditation process we provide an ISVPS approved pool of Speakers to maintain the highest level of interactive and inspiring CE.

The ISVPS Board of Directors

The ISVPS board of Directors work very closely to ensure the highest level of academic standard is achieved across all ISVPS Certificates and to provide ideas and guidance on the development of new assessment processes. Three of the Directors are Board-Certified Specialists themselves bringing a vast array of clinical, teaching and academic experience to the ISVPS team. Our lead 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 Academic Chairman, Dr Simon Wheeler (BVSc CertVR PhD DipECVN MBA FRCVS) is a Diplomate and President of the European College of Veterinary Neurology. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and is adjunct Professor of Clinical Studies at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University.

Dr John Houlton (MA VetMB DSAO DVR DipECVS FRCVS) is a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Diplomate in Veterinary Radiology and Small Animal Orthopaedics, a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons and a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

The Academic Board

The ISVPS academic board comprises of 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 including two from the United States of America, Professor Philipp Mayhew (BVM&S DipACVS MRCVS) and Professor Jodi Westropp. Dr Philipp Mayhew is an Associate Professor and Professor of Surgical & Radiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis.  Professor Jodi Westropp (DVM PhD DACVIM) is the Professor of medicine and epidemiology at the School of Veterinary medicine, University of California, Davis.

The international academic board ensures that ISVPS maintains the highest level of quality and innovation during the assessment process for all of our certificates. 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.

ISVPS Senior Team

Sheila Wills BSc BVetMed CertSAM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS | Lead Director

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 and is also a lead tutor for the Centre for Veterinary Education’s Feline Medicine distance education course run by Sydney University.

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.

Professor Simon J. Wheeler | Academic Chairman

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.

John Houlton MA, VetMB, DVR, DSAO, MRCVS, DECVS | Director

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.

James Banfield | Director

James is a Director of ISVPS. He has an MBA and an MA in history (Magdalene College, Cambridge); James has over twenty years’ experience in professional and education publishing first with Longman from 1987 to 1993 as an editor and publisher and then at Pearson Group PLC from 1993 to 2003 working in publishing and business development roles until he became Managing Director at FT Information Europe.

Prior to joining Benchmark in 2012 James was Managing Director at KBC, an international education provider.

Ana Rocha | ISVPS Head of Operations and Legal Consultant

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.

Vera Vicinanza DVM (Hons) MSc PGCE | International Assessment Manager

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.

ISVPS US examination coordinator

Georgia Stone | US candidate manager

Georgia joined ISVPS as UK Examination Coordinator in March 2017. She has an undergraduate degree in Creative Industries (from the Queensland University of Technology, in Australia), and a second undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medical Sciences (from The University of Nottingham). Georgia has worked as both an in-house writer and freelance writer, but her most recent position was Care Manager for a hedgehog rescue, where she was responsible for the care of up to 200 hedgehogs and hoglets. Georgia hopes to use her veterinary background to further support ISVPS candidates.

ISVPS Country Representatives

Maria ‘Titti’ Villa | Italian Examination Coordinator

Titti Villa is a qualified Veterinary Technician, and joined ISVPS as the Italian Examination Coordinator c/o SCIVAC, Cremona (IT) in 2014.  Titti has scientific training, high level of experience about sales line management, employee relations with pet shop, veterinary pharmacy ,wholesaler.

Titti’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. Titti’s strenghts are team oriented, problem solving, excellent independent business and team worker capacity, able to maintain and develop professional relations.

Patricia Silva DVM | Spanish and Portuguese Examination Coordinator

Patrícia Silva graduated from the University of Porto in 2013.

She participated in several externships in small animal clinics and hospitals. She did her curricular internship at Hospital Veterinário de Gaia and at Hospital Clínic Veterinari da Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

In 2013 she started working in a clinic and, later, also worked at a small animal hospital and as a sales representative. In 2014 she got a pedagogical skills certificate and in 2015 she completed the MBA for veterinarians.

Beyond veterinary medicine, her interests include animal behaviour and management.

Gudrun Neidenbach DVM | German Examination Coordinator

Gudrun Neidenbach joined the team as Representative of the ISVPS for German speaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland. She grew up in southern Germany and studied veterinary medicine in Vienna, afterwards she did postgraduate training in Acupuncture and Behavioural Medicine. In her free time she loves hiking and enjoys spending her free time on the beach. She is passionate about experiencing different cultures and languages – theoretically with journalistic writing and reading of books or practically by traveling the world, but even more she loves her dog, who is a very well behaved and cuddly furry companion. As German speaking Custumer Service Manager of Improve International at the same time, she is eager to upgrade the service for delegates and candidates as a single point of contact for all questions around courses and exams. She is attending courses and she is happy to be available for everyone personally!

Ivete Ribeiro | ISVPS French Examination Coordinator

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 ESPVS 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.

ISVPS Support Team

Emma Rolfe | Head of marketing

After completing a french degree at Swansea University Emma studied a Masters in Media and PR. After this she worked for a large media company, marketing for leading industry exhibitions across the UK and abroad. She joined ISVPS in 2018.

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