BC has a new top vet.
Dr. Rayna Gunvaldsen was appointed chief veterinarian on July 10, succeeding Dr. Jane Pritchard, who had served as top vet since 2013.
A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, Gunvaldsen specialized in herd health and regulatory medicine. Her studies also included specializations in large animal clinical sciences and swine influenza. The BC Ministry of Agriculture notes that she is trained in emergency preparedness and management.
Gunvaldsen’s experience includes time with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as Saskatchewan’s foreign animal disease veterinarian.
Pritchard’s retirement at the end of March has allowed for a revamp of the branch’s structure. Her role included leading the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Plant and Animal Health Branch as she was the top executive within the branch. The plant health unit lacked a director, but that is set to change.
Pritchard’s responsibilities will now be spread among several people. Ursula Viney is overseeing the branch as a whole in the role of operations director while Gunvaldsen is chief veterinarian, overseeing animal health. Directors are being sought for the animal health lab and plant health unit.
Prior to her retirement, Pritchard described her work as enjoyable and rewarding. The opportunity to make a difference both during her tenure and by leaving a solid foundation for her successors was a source of great satisfaction.
With files from Barbara Johnstone Grimmer