A BALLYGOWAN man is in the running to be named as the World Veterinarian of the Year.

Dr Simon Doherty, a Queen’s University lecturer in animal health, is one of the finalists in the World Veterinary Association’s Global Veterinary Awards, which will be announced in April.

His place in the final comes after he won the One Health category in the awards.

Starting off his animal healthcare journey at a progressive farm animal and equine practice, Dr Doherty has a number of strings to his bow when it comes to his veterinary career.

He was appointed as the animal health and aquaculture sector specialist for the UK Government’s Department for International Trade, and is a past-president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

Dr Doherty would then become the founding chairman of the UK One Health Coordination Group. He later chaired the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) Food Safety and Sustainability Working Group.

For the past 15 years, Dr Doherty has been working with the international NGO, Ripple Effect. In Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia, the local vet brought his expertise in tending to the health of livestock, as well as his knowledge of One Health to the organisation.

One Health is a global health strategy which aims to balance and optimise the health of people, animals, ecosystems, sustainable livestock agriculture and aquaculture. It also focuses on the welfare of animals, environment, and antimicrobial resistance.

The One Health category is one of five sub-categories in the Global Veterinary Awards. The WVA recognises talented vets in the Medicines Stewardship, Animal Welfare, Veterinary Education and Veterinary Student of the Year awards.

Having won in the One Health section, Dr Doherty now has a chance to win the coveted title of Veterinarian of the Year.

Said Dr Doherty: “It is a huge honour to receive this award but, in the collaborative spirit of One Health, it’s recognition of the support and encouragement I’ve experienced from organisations I’ve had the privilege to work with across the UK and Ireland, and globally, over the last decade.

“One Health recognises the interconnectedness of people, animals and their shared environment,” he added. “But achieving solutions to some of the challenges we face, including tackling infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, necessitates a joined-up approach between professions, and this is what I’ve sought to facilitate.”

The Veterinarian of the Year will be named on April 17, at a prestigious ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa.