First winners of Veterinary Evidence Student Awards announced

16 July 2019

Three students have won the inaugural Veterinary Evidence Student Awards, with their papers achieving publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal.

First prize went to the University of Edinburgh’s Molly Vasanthakumar for her Knowledge Summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. Molly found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site infections when compared to reusable woven drapes, based on her assessment of the available literature.

Molly, who has a long-time fascination with the role vets can play in reducing waste, said:

Molly Vasanthakumar“The Veterinary Evidence student competition gave me an opportunity to identify a specific issue, find and appraise the evidence and then apply it to a practical setting.

“Winning the competition has given me a chance to further my skills in evidence-based veterinary medicine [EBVM] and also raise awareness of an incredibly important and topical issue.”

Molly received her prize at RCVS Day, and her published paper can now be read in Veterinary Evidence: http://bit.ly/MollyVasanthakumar

Honoria BrownSecond prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, whose paper asked: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

“Writing this Knowledge Summary was the perfect chance, not only to develop my ability to navigate and analyse databases, but also to present my findings for the benefit of other clinicians who face these issues,” said Honoria.

“I feel that these skills will be very useful to me later in my career, and I am grateful to Veterinary Evidence for providing me with the opportunity.”

Rounding off the winners was Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong, who critically appraised the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea.Jacqueline Tong

“This experience makes me recognise the importance of evidence-based veterinary medicine to the veterinary community; it connects scientific research to everyday practice,” said Jacqueline.

“It was a great opportunity to engage in EBVM early in my veterinary career, and start learning how to critically appraise the current evidence.”

Jacqueline and Honoria’s Knowledge Summaries have been accepted for future publication in Veterinary Evidence.

All submissions were subjected to the same standards and peer-review process as normal journal submissions.

The awards were launched last year to engage veterinary students in evidence-based veterinary medicine and to recognise high-quality research from undergraduates.

“I would like to thank all the students who submitted Knowledge Summaries for consideration,” said Peter Cockcroft, Editor-in-chief of Veterinary Evidence.

“Knowledge Summaries provide an important resource to bridge the gap between research and practice. Appraising the value of the evidence provided by primary publications requires a deep understanding of research methodology, and I congratulate the award winners on their outstanding achievements.”

RCVS Knowledge’s Executive Director, Chris Gush, highlighted the role students can play in expanding the profession’s evidence base:

“EBVM and its application into practice starts as part of the undergraduate degree, and we are delighted to encourage and champion student involvement.

“This new initiative from our journal taps into the student body’s potential to help grow the evidence base, whilst preparing the next generation of veterinary professionals for when they graduate.”

Such was the success of the first iteration of the Veterinary Evidence Student Awards, they are running again for 2020, and are already open to submissions.

The awards are open to all undergraduates studying veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing or bioveterinary science (and equivalent).

Information on the 2020 awards submission process can be found on the RCVS Knowledge website: http://bit.ly/VEstudentawards

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