AVA Board of Directors


2023 - 2024

The AVA is governed by a distinguished Board of Directors, each of which is appointed according to the association’s constitution.

Six directors are elected by members, and three are nominated by each of the three largest special interest groups. All directors have a three-year term, and the President and Vice President are elected by the Board with their powers and responsibilities detailed in the constitution.


Dr Diana Barker - President

Diana is an experienced small animal surgeon and the managing director of a practice group in Melbourne’s inner suburbs employing more than 60 staff.  She holds an Executive MBA from the Monash Business School and obtained her Membership with Australia New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in small animal surgery. Diana has represented the profession at both regional and state level including roles with the Melbourne Metropolitan Practitioners Branch and the Victorian AVA Division, as well as being an active member of the AVA’s Veterinary Business Group and the Chair of the Veterinary Wellness Steering Group.


Dr Sally Colgan - Vice President

Since graduating (USyd 1990) Sally has been involved in many aspects of our profession - mixed practice, referral and university equine practice, wildlife, the pharmaceutical industry and research. An AVA member for over 20 years, past AVI President and past convenor of the AVA national conference (2014-2018), she believes in our Association and its unwavering commitment to animal health and welfare.


Associate Professor David Beggs

David worked in mixed practice for 20 years, before taking up an academic career at the University of Melbourne, where he graduated with a PhD in animal welfare in 2018.  David has been an AVA member since graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1990.  He has spent time as an employee, an employer, as deputy president of the Veterinary Practitioners Board of Victoria and as a member of the Victorian Government Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.  He currently works part-time at Apiam Animal Health, the University of Melbourne and is Editor-in-chief of the AVJ.  A Fellow of the AVA, David has held the positions of ACV Scientific Officer and Scientific Convenor of the AVA Annual Conference. David has been a member of the AVA since graduation in 1990.


Dr Gemma Chuck

Gemma graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2006 and completed her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2016. Gemma works for Apiam Animal Health in the Dairy Operations team where she writes technical service programs, including the ProDairy Partnership, for famers and vets. Gemma is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at James Cook University and dairy veterinarian at Tableland Veterinary Service, Malanda. She is currently on the Executive Committee of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians and enjoys contributing to the broader veterinary industry. Gemma has co-authored the calf health chapters of four globally renowned veterinary text-books, has multiple published papers in international peer-reviewed journals and was a contributing author to the most recent editions of Dairy Australia’s InCalf Book for Dairy Farmers and Rearing Healthy Calves.


Dr James Gilkerson

James is currently a Professor of Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Melbourne. Previously, he served the AVA as a Director (2014-2017), as the President of Equine Veterinarian Australia (2007-2008) and as the President of the Victorian Division (2005-6). James is a Fellow of the AVA and the recipient of the AVA President's Prize, as well as an AVA Meritorious Service Award. His work in equine infectious diseases has been recognised by his peers with the EVA award for excellence (2009) and the South African equine veterinary association 'Spirit of SAEVA award' (2020). In 2023 James commenced a two-year term as the EVA nominee to the AVA Board.


Dr Alan Guilfoyle

A member of the AVA since 1969 with a wealth of 51 years’ experience as a GP veterinarian.  A member of EVA, ASAVA and VBG, an executive member of the ACV serving as President from 2017-2019. This included fighting the deregulation of pregnancy testing in Queensland.  With over 25 years of thoroughbred racing administration experience at control body level in Queensland.  I’m passionate about the sustainability of veterinary practices, ethics, the welfare of veterinarians and the mentoring of students.


Dr Geeta Saini

Geeta Saini has been a small animal GP veterinarian on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, since graduating from the University of Queensland with First Class Honours in 1980. She owned a small animal practice for 30 years, co-founded the first Animal Emergency Clinic (Pet ER) on the Sunshine Coast in 2005 and now works part-time in small animal practice. She has been passionately involved with the AVA throughout her career – at local and divisional levels, serving on the ASAV Executive Committee 2013-2022, ASAV President 2015-2017, ASAV Policy Councillor 2014-2022 and is the current ASAV representative to the WSAVA Assembly. She is a current member and past Chair of the WSAVA Membership and Nominations Committee. She received the AVA Meritorious Service award in 2019 and the ASAV John Holt Memorial award in 2022.


Dr Tracy Sullivan

Tracy started her career in small animals whilst completing a Master’s. After, she focused on cattle and reproduction whilst completing a PhD. Tracy has also enjoyed government roles in biosecurity, live animal export, and abattoir. Currently, she operates Australian Veterinary Semen Morphology and is the distributor of iSperm. She has been an active member of the Australian Cattle Vets for over a decade, recently as President. Tracy also wears hats as a beef producer, for Cattle Australia, the Biosecurity Council of WA, and Roebuck Plains Station. Always learning, she is a graduate of the AICD and the ARLP, and is currently studying for a Graduate Certificate in Aboriginal Studies. She looks forward to contributing to the AVA Board.


Dr Mark Shipp

I have recently retired as Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, a position I held for 12 years. During that time I was also a member of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH/OIE) Council and President of that organisation for 3 years (2018-21). I am about to complete three years on the ACT Veterinary Practitioner's Board. I am an experienced board member and graduate of the Australian institute of Company Directors. I have a good appreciation of the issues facing veterinarians in Australia, both in the private sector and in government service. I look forward to serving the Australian veterinary profession.