AASV Celebrates 50 Years with Record Attendance at Annual Meeting

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 50th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, March 9-12, 2019. The meeting, held at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, drew record attendance of 1,243 total attendees, including 773 paid registrants (also a record) and 116 veterinary students from 23 colleges of veterinary medicine. The conference participants hailed from 29 countries, with more than 300 attendees from outside the United States. The total attendance also included 283 exhibit representatives from 97 companies and organizations.

The meeting participants enjoyed the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions, including 10 pre-conference seminars, two general sessions, three break-out sessions, research topics, three industrial partners sessions, the student seminar, and a poster session featuring 28 student posters, 25 research posters, and 14 industrial partner posters. Three Saturday seminars, AASV's Got Talent, Emerging Technologies for the Swine Industry, and Effective Outbreak Investigations, were extremely popular with more than 90 preregistered attendees each, while the Diagnostics seminar garnered the most attention of the seminars on Sunday morning (126 preregistrants). One hundred three students or recent graduates attended the Swine Medicine for Students pre-conference on Sunday morning. As always, the student seminar session held Sunday afternoon was very well attended. In addition, 13 AASV committees met during the annual meeting to discuss important issues in swine health, public health, animal well-being, and production.

Dr John Waddell opened the Monday general session with the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture. During his presentation, entitled "Built to last: 50 years of AASV," he reflected on the past 50 years of AASV. He shared memories of swine veterinarians who gathered together in 1969 to organize the American Association of Swine Practitioners, and focused on the people that continue the legacy of AASV.

Dr Deborah Murray presented the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture entitled "Today's swine veterinarian: Challenges and opportunities for the future." Her presentation described the changing profession and evolving needs of AASV members. She highlighted the novel ideas that students, the next generation of swine veterinarians, can bring to the industry. Strong mentorship offered by AASV members to younger veterinarians is important to encourage those ideas.

Accomplishments, lessons learned, and memories over the last 50 years were shared in special videos throughout the meeting, including the AASV Golden Anniversary video shown during the Monday general session. The videos were produced by AgCreate Solutions, Inc. under the direction of AASV member Dr Sarah Probst Miller, the company's creative director and president.

The Monday afternoon concurrent sessions encouraged veterinarians to consider disease control and elimination, vaccinology and immunology, and production innovations. The Tuesday general session focused on critical transboundary disease threats and outbreak preparedness. The AASV Awards Reception was held Monday night, followed by the AASV Foundation's annual fund-raising auction. Dr Ron Brodersen, 2015 AASV president and 2019 AASV Awards Selection Committee chair, introduced the recipients of the Swine Practitioner of the Year Award (Dr William Hollis), the Howard Dunne Memorial Award (Dr Peter Davies), the Meritorious Service Award (Dr David Madsen), the Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award (Dr Paul Thomas), and the Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award (Dr Ron White). Read more about the awardees here.

Dr Paul Ruen, AASV Foundation chair, presented the Heritage Award to Dr Steven Henry. This is only the fifth time the Heritage Award has been given.

A special thank you and award of gratitude was given to AASV Executive Director Dr Tom Burkgren. He is retiring after 25 years of service to the AASV. Past presidents, staff, and family gathered on stage during the awards ceremony to thank Dr Burkgren.