BSAVA announce keynote speaker for Congress 2023

12 December 2022

BSAVA has announced that the keynote speaker for Congress 2023 is the founding director of ADHD Girls, Samantha Hiew.

Taking place under a different format this year, Samantha will be delivering her keynote on Friday 24th March in the Exchange Auditorium at Manchester Central within a groundbreaking module that is based around neurodiversity.

Samantha was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 40, leading to the set up of ADHD Girls, which is an organisation that helps people with ADHD to access employment and encourage change by working with businesses to help them understand ADHD. With a degree in genetics, molecular biology and microbiology as well as being the recipient of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Scholarship, Samantha completed a PhD in Cancer Research from University College London.

In a first for BSAVA Congress, the module on neurodiversity will open with an exploration of neurodiversity and the challenges of diagnosis, before moving on to look at communication and how you can better support those in practice teams, as well as neurodivergent clients and students. The session will wrap up with what promises to be an inspiring discussion on how to cultivate greater inclusivity and understanding around those who are neurodivergent within the veterinary professions.

Being neurodivergent means that your brain works differently from the average person, meaning there may be differences in social preference, ways of communicating, ways of learning and ways of perceiving the environment.

Speaking about her lecture, Samantha said: “No two brains are the same. But what if you were born with a brain that constantly makes you feel like everything you do differentiates you from everyone else?”

“My talk introduces Neurodiversity in the context of society, casting light on ADHD and autism, and how this impacts the workplace and one’s quality of life, and what we can do to build a compassionate culture, starting with the conversations we have at work. I’m really excited to talk at the BSAVA Congress and meet other professionals in the veterinary field.”

After her lecture, she will be partaking in a panel discussion around the challenges of diagnosis of neurodivergence alongside Laura Playforth, a vet who has been diagnosed with both bipolar and autism and is currently Group Quality Improvement Director at IVC Evidensia, and also a medical expert (to be announced) as part of the module.

Andy Green, Vice Chair of the BSAVA Congress Programme Committee chair said: “We are delighted to have Samantha delivering our keynote this year on such an important topic. Neurodiversity is becoming an increasingly important area of focus and understanding across society and we have a significant population of neurodivergent people working as vets, nurses and in other roles, many of whom may not as yet have a diagnosis.”

“We also need to recognise that many pet owners and clients are neurodivergent. Samantha is ideally placed to shine a spotlight on this subject, using her own story and life experience to deliver a greater understanding of what it actually means to be neurodivergent and how businesses/practices can understand, embrace and support neurodivergent members of the work force and community.”

Early bird tickets for BSAVA Congress 2023 are currently on sale with 3-day and 1-day tickets available to purchase. Get your ticket now: