Speaker Spotlight – Joris Wijnker


Dr. Joris Wijnker has been working as a veterinarian for more than 25 years.

After a four-year period as an equine anesthesiologist until 2004, he obtained his PhD at Utrecht University in 2009, became a registered specialist in veterinary public health and is an international consultant in this area of expertise.

Since 2016 his research and interests expanded to include animal disaster management and in 2022, together with co-founders Anne Dubbink (lead scientist on the triage protocol research project) and Derek van Dongen (responsible for the triage training game development), Joris established the Animal Disaster Education (ADE) Foundation.

The main aim is to train and educate first responders and other people involved in providing first aid to animals in crisis situations. The Animal Triage Training Game, which will be the focal point during the BARTA Conference workshop, is the first concrete product of the Foundation. Several ideas are currently being looked at, including new scenarios for the training game and a phone app for the triage protocol. This will allow first responders direct access to the protocol, anywhere, all the time, and use it in applicable situations.

Joris is a visiting researcher at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University and currently serves as brigade veterinarian in the Royal Netherlands Army.

Joris will be running a workshop at the conference asking: “Can gaming play a role in preparing vets and first responders? Disaster field assessment tool in action”

This workshop will introduce you to the recently developed and published animal field triage protocol (Dubbink et al., 2024) and how it can be applied to livestock and horses. This novel animal triage protocol is based on the human SALT Mass Casualty Triage algorithm, which stands for ‘Sort, Assess, Life saving intervention, Treatment / Transport’.

A key element in this paper is the usage of the Animal Triage Training Game, an online serious game specifically developed for first responders to train their skills in the application of the triage protocol in different scenarios with multiple animal casualties. The ‘game element’ provides a safe environment that will allow mistakes to be made and to replay a certain scenario until a necessary score is achieved to unlock the next level. Each scenario requires a specific approach with an increased difficulty, challenging the player to improve on their skills.

Having received a suitable explanation, you yourself will have the opportunity to play the first training level of this online game, either individually or as part of a small team (your choice). After completion of the training session, a feedback discussion will be held, to evaluate the different experiences and provide comments on the usefulness of the animal field triage training for first responders.