AAO Executive Team

WE ARE COMMITTED TO THE FUTURE OF ANIMAL OSTEOPATHY

Dustie Houchin – Managing Director

Dustie has worked tirelessly for over 20 years to ensure the advancement of animal osteopathy and the betterment of the profession internationally, so as to improve the lives of animals everywhere. She has written and directed three validated programmes in animal osteopathy for the European School of Osteopathy and was the Programme Leader for their M.Ost and Animal Osteopathic Pathways until November 2016.  Later in 2016, Dustie became the ESO’s Animal Osteopathic Consultant and started a new company, Animal Osteopathy International, which focuses on high quality educational pathways for practitioners and osteopaths who want to work in this field of medicine. She has also written degree level programmes for European schools and teaches osteopathy and animal osteopathy internationally, for several educational establishments.

Dustie was a founder member of the Society of Osteopaths in Animal Practice (SOAP), taking over as Chair in 2013. She then advanced SOAP to the AAO in 2016, when her work with the RMPR project highlighted a gap in the international market and a need for a strong ambassador for animal osteopaths in practice and those in education. As a result, Dustie was a Founder member of the RAMP Council, holding the position of Education & Quality Assurance Officer until 2019. Today, she is the Executive Head and Programme Director of the AOI and a Quality Assurance Assessor for the GOsC/QAA/Mott McDonald.

Dustie’s sole intention is to unify animal practitioners. To remove divides causes by historic issues and to embrace the fact that internationally, animal osteopathy is a growing profession that needs nurturing. The need for human training, is not an international standard and as such, what matters most is not that one has been trained in human osteopathy, but that those who do treat animals osteopathically, have been properly trained. Dustie believes that animal welfare should stand at the heart of all animal treatments and that the only way this can happen successfully, is for those who work with them therapeutically, do so only after having been suitably trained.

Eleanor Andrews – director of industry liaisons

Eleanor has also worked tirelessly for over the last 8 years to ensure the advancement of animal osteopathy and the betterment of the profession internationally, to improve the lives of animals everywhere. Eleanor has worked as part of the Society of Osteopaths in Animal Practice, Association of Osteopaths and Register of Animal musculoskeletal Practitioners to advocate for the animal osteopathic profession, help formulate national standards, support and improve animal welfare and access to musculoskeletal treatment for animals and ensure the animal osteopathic profession has a voice, standing strong alongside animal chiropractic and animal physiotherapy to forge a positive future in the professions. Eleanor has sat on RAMP Council since 2016 and today, holds the position of RAMP President.

For many years, Eleanor has taught both internationally and, in the UK, supporting hundreds of students to reach their academic goals. Along-side her role in the animal musculoskeletal industry, Eleanor brings her experience to the AAO, not only as senior lecturer on the MSc (Animal Osteopathy) at the European School of Osteopathy in Kent, UK but also as a postgraduate and international lecturer of human and animal osteopathy, academic dissertation supervisor, Master’s level examiner and moderator. She also holds a PG Cert in Higher Education and has lectured at conferences and to specialised groups. At the heart of her practice and teaching, clinically, Eleanor works in private animal and human osteopathic practices, Eleanor stays true throughout to core osteopathic principles and philosophies, believing that as an osteopath, we should treat in harmony with our animal patients working with their own system to achieve optimal function.

Quality assurance

Melanie Coutinho – quality assurance manager

Melanie Coutinho qualified from the British School of Osteopathy in 1987 and alongside running successful private practices, has been involved in Osteopathic education, at different osteopathic institutions since then. She has held roles of classroom lecturer, clinical tutor through to Clinic Director, Course Director and Principal. Her examining experience ranges from being a Final Clinical Competence examiner and Moderator, to having been an External Examiner for three UK Universities. Her experience is not only in overseeing academic assessments, but also more significantly, in the provision and quality management of Osteopathic degrees Worldwide. Melanie has been a Board member of the Osteopathic European Academic Network (OsEAN) and works with International osteopathic institutions helping develop their provision. 

Melanie is passionately committed to the continual development of high quality osteopathic programmes that enhance the reputation of the Profession, and her work with the College of Osteopaths, the University College of Osteopathy – UCO (formally British School of Osteopathy), the European School of Osteopathy, the British College of Osteopathic Medicine the London College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Surrey Institute of Osteopathic Medicine (SIOM at Nescot) and a number of international osteopathic schools/colleges all reflect her passion and breadth of experience in undergraduate, postgraduate and programme management aspects. 

Besides the development of numerous osteopathic degrees (from BSc to MSc levels) and working with eight UK Universities, Melanie points to two significant achievements in her career: first the rapid restructuring of the programme at the John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy, which facilitated the establishment of the Surrey Institute of Osteopathic Medicine (SIOM), and acquisition of their RQ status. This saved the school from imminent closure and secured the aspirations of those and future students at SIOM. Melanie was the first Programme Director of SIOM and not only led it to be the first UK provider to successfully undertake the GOsC/QAA joint review but also established SIOM’s first foray into international collaboration; secondly in 2009 Melanie and her team established the Irish College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), in Dublin. ICOM was the first and still is the only, college in Ireland to successfully offer a its own BSc (Hons.) degree validated by the University of Chester.

Melanie developed and co-wrote ‘The Standards in Osteopathic Training and Education’, for the voluntary regulator in Ireland – The Osteopathic Council of Ireland (OCI), these are currently used to ensure professional expectations are met. She continues to work with international osteopathic schools who have sought her advice on programme design and quality assurance of provision, including schools from Sweden, Belgium, Cyprus, and Italy.

Professional Communications

Faye Andrews –  communications

Faye graduated for the BSO in 2002 and set up her own human practice in Surrey. She returned to the BSO in 2007 to teach osteopathic technique to years 1-3 on both the full and part time courses, she has since started teaching on the BSOs sports MSc programme and has run a CPD workshop on fascia and movement. Her background in junior international sport has helped develop her interest in how to get the best movement from the body and how it works efficiently and effectively. Faye became interested in animal osteopathy 9 years ago due to an injury to one of her dogs and then attended the Introduction to small animal osteopathy workshop at BCOM in 2009. Since then Faye has developed her knowledge of canine anatomy and biomechanics to help treat dogs using a variety of techniques to improve fluidity of movement and quality of life. In 2015, Faye was accepted on to the MSc Animal Osteopathy course at the ESO and has completed an online animal psychology course. Faye is now a member of Animal Osteopathy International’s Teaching/Examination Team. She has two dogs and loves nothing more than to be outside exploring new places with them. Faye brings to committee her online presence and social media skills, which she continue to develop as she supports the field of animal osteopathy and the AAO.

Nadine Hobson – OSTEOPATHIC ALLIANCE AND OSTEOPATHIC FOUNDATION 

Nadine graduated in 1978 from the BSO and has more than 20 years experience in animal practice, specialising in small animals, lecturing in this topic around the UK . She is a  founder member of SOAP and is our representative within the Osteopathic Alliance.With over 15 years at the Hyde Park Veterinary Centre, Nadine has worked closely with vets before and after surgical procedures, giving an Osteopathic opinion on cases where medical tests are inconclusive and running  a busy Osteopathic list. Her special interest is in visceral cases inspired by the years working in a renowned Integrated Medical practice for Women”s Healthcare, Obstetrics and Infant care. Nadine presented a retrospective study at the First international Congress of Osteopathy in Animal Practice, moderated a panel of experts and taught a masterclass on the visceral aspects of the osteopathic care of cats and dogs. She is also on the faculty of the MSc in Animal Manipulation (Osteopathy), as tutor for the canine module.

Country representatives

SARAH WISSON – New Zealand/AUSTRALIA

Sarah graduated as an animal osteopath in 2002. Since this time she has advanced exponentially as an animal osteopath and is now based in New Zealand, where she travels through the South Island of NZ seeing animals.. She also runs a busy human in Canterbury. In addition, Sarah is a lecturer and examiner in the fields of human and animal osteopathy. She works with vets and gives talks and practical demonstrations to vets & clients on how to help rehab their animals. In terms of AAO, Sarah feeds news into the AAO from New Zealand and Australia, working to build connections within these regions. 

Financial

Wil Ames – treasurer

Wil Ames MICB AATQB – Wil has previous employment as a financial advisor, mortgage advisor and almost twenty years combined experience in the City of London Police Force and Avon & Somerset Constabulary. In the past, he has worked with an accountant firm that specialises in tax matters for clients in the healthcare profession and is the accounts manager for a number of osteopathic and educational establishments. Today, he is a semi-senior Accountant at Dashwoods and also runs his own bookkeeping business for small businesses – specialising in the MSK profession.