Annual meeting report

Swine veterinarians urged to reinvent themselves for the future

Swine veterinarians gathered in near-record numbers in near-record warm temperatures for the 37th annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Kansas City. The midwestern locale drew 976 veterinary registrants from the United States, Canada, and 23 other countries. Twenty-five percent of meeting participants were from outside the United States. A record number of veterinary students (141) attended this year's meeting, thanks in large part to the travel stipends sponsored by Newport Laboratories and the AASV Foundation. "We (all the students) greatly appreciate the generosity of the Foundation and Newport Laboratories with providing us travel stipends, because many of us would not be able to afford traveling to the meetings," said Ms Angela Delks, Purdue University. "We really value opportunities to attend meetings such as AASV, where we can expand our knowledge in fields we are interested in and meet the important people who can help guide us along the way." Technical table representatives numbered 163, offering AASV members ample opportunities to get the latest product and industry information.

Dr. BeVier

Dr Gregg BeVier, 2006 Howard Dunne Memorial Lecturer

Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture

Building on the themes set in 2004, "Back to the Basics," and in 2005, "Applying the Basics," this year's meeting focus was "Beyond the Basics." Incoming president and program chair Dr Scott Dee designed a program to help answer the question "What does the future hold for swine veterinarians and how do we ensure our success in the industry?"

"The only way to predict the future is to invent it," said Dr Gregg BeVier, who delivered the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture at the meeting. Dr BeVier challenged veterinarians to reinvent themselves. "Diagnosis and treatment are rear-view mirror activities," he said. "Should our tagline be 'We value swine health' (producer focused), or should it be 'We are part of your food prescription' (consumer focused)?"

"There are two ways to reinforce our future," BeVier said. "First is innovation, by expanding our role through education and experience. The second is by measuring and demonstrating our value and contribution to the food chain."

"More food will be needed over the next 45 years to meet the needs of projected population growth," Dr BeVier said. "Over three billion consumers in underdeveloped countries represent a key driver for meat demand. It's time for veterinarians to stretch their thinking to the future world of prescription food to satisfy global food hunger."

Swine Practitioner of the Year

Dr. FitzSimmons

With his family looking on, Dr Mark FitzSimmons receives the 2006 Swine Practitioner of the Year Award

The AASV's highest honor, Swine Practitioner of the Year, went to Dr Mark FitzSimmons, Eagle Lake, Minnesota. Established in 1977, the award is given annually to a private practitioner who has demonstrated exceptional service to clients.

Dr FitzSimmons is the owner of MAF Veterinary Services, a swine consulting practice that he established 3 years ago. He is also a partner in the family farm-associated business, Protein Sources. Previously, Dr FitzSimmons worked for Swine Graphics Enterprises, Ltd, in Webster City, Iowa, where he became an expert in segregated production techniques. He is recognized for pioneering the use of serum therapy for control of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

A native of Minnesota, Dr FitzSimmons grew up on a progressive family swine farm in Good Thunder, Minnesota. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. In 1987, he received his veterinary degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Howard Dunne Memorial Award

Dr. Collins

Dr James Collins, recipient of the 2006 Howard Dunne Memorial Award

The Howard Dunne Memorial Award was presented to Dr James Collins, St Paul, Minnesota, for his outstanding service to the swine industry and the association. Dr Collins is a professor and director of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, one of the nation's busiest, processing more than 1.3 million samples annually.

"I am truly honored to receive this recognition and want to express my sincere gratitude for the years of mentoring, support, and leadership provided to me by AASV members," Dr Collins said.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1986, he was an assistant professor at South Dakota State University from 1982 to 1986, and a resident and instructor at Michigan State University from 1979 to 1982. Dr Collins was a private practitioner in Appleton, Wisconsin, for a year after receiving his veterinary degree.

Dr Collins has served the US pork industry through his pioneering research on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, and was recognized for those efforts by the US Animal Health Association in 1992. From 1995 to 1997, he was chair of the AASV's subcommittee on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

Dr Collins received his veterinary degree in 1978 from the University of Minnesota and MS and PhD degrees in veterinary pathology from Michigan State University. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Meritorious Service Award

Dr. Dewey

Dr Cate Dewey, recipient of the 2006 Meritorious Service Award

Dr Cate Dewey received the Meritorious Service Award for her contributions to the AASV.

During the award presentation, Dr Robert Friendship, professor and colleague, accepted the award on behalf of Dr Dewey, who is on sabbatical doing a research project on cysticercosis with scientists at the International Research and Livestock Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr Dewey is a professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, Canada. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Nebraska.

"It is always rewarding when someone like Cate is recognized for her commitment to the AASV," said Dr Tom Burkgren, AASV executive director. "Her leadership and hard work have resulted in the continued excellence of the AASV journal. She has had great success in elevating the journal into the position of an internationally respected publication. It is a well-deserved and fitting award for Cate."

Dr Dewey is the executive editor of the Journal of Swine Health and Production, the peer-reviewed publication of the AASV. Active in the AASV since 1984, Dr Dewey serves on the Continuing Education Committee. She has been on several planning committees for the association's annual meeting and co-chaired the Collegiate Activities Committee from 1994 to 1998.

Dr Dewey received her veterinary degree (1979) and PhD (1992) from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Guelph in 1995, Dr Dewey was an assistant professor at the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center at the University of Nebraska. Before entering the academic field, Dr Dewey was a private practitioner in Ontario for 6 years.

Heritage Award

Dr Alex Hogg was the first recipient of the AASV Foundation Heritage Award. The award recognizes lifetime achievements in swine medicine. Presented to Dr Hogg in July 2005, the award was accepted by Dr Hogg's wife, Mary Lou Chapek. Dr Hogg's 50-year career has included private practice in Iowa, academia at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and consultation services for animal health companies.

Student seminar and scholarships

Rodger Schneck, Alpharma Animal Health, with the recipient of the $5000 student scholarship winner Angela Delks (second from left), Purdue University. Joining them are Dr Sandy Amass (second from right) and Kimberly Dimmich, co-authors with Ms Delks

$2500 scholarship wimmers

From left to right: Michael Van Koevering, Elanco Animal Health, poses with recipients of the $2500 student scholarships: Christine Pelland, University of Guelph; Rayna Gunvaldsen, University of Saskatchewan; Jenny Cho-MacSwain, University of Minnesota; and Adam Moeser, North Carolina State University

Angela Delks was awarded a $5000 scholarship by the AASV Foundation for best presentation at the student seminar on Sunday, March 5. Angela is a third-year veterinary student at Purdue University. Her presentation was titled "Duration of viability of desiccated PRRSV in a PRRS MLV vaccine." Alpharma Animal Health provided the financial support for this award.

Additional scholarships totaling $20,000 were provided by Eli Lilly and Company Foundation on behalf of Elanco Animal Health.

Four veterinary student presenters received $2500 scholarships: Christine Pelland, University of Guelph; Adam Moeser, North Carolina State University; Rayna Gunvaldsen, University of Saskatchewan; and Jenny Cho-MacSwain, University of Minnesota.

$1500 scholarship winners

From left to right: Michael Van Koevering, Elanco Animal Health, poses with recipients of the $1500 student scholarships: Sarah Jensen, Colorado State University; Janet Sunstrum, University of Guelph; Heather James, University of Saskatchewan; Maya Kuratomi, University of Minnesota; and Krista Toner, University of Prince Edward Island

4500 scholarship winners

From left to right: Michael Van Koevering, Elanco Animal Health, poses with recipients of the $500 student scholarships: Lindsay Simpson, North Carolina State University; Andrew Mack, The Ohio State University; Amber Borcherding, Iowa State University; J. Joel Sullivan, Iowa State University; and Ryan Schaefer, Iowa State University

Five veterinary student presenters received $1500 scholarships: Janet Sunstrum, University of Guelph; Sarah Jensen, Colorado State University; Maya Kuratomi, University of Minnesota; Heather James, University of Saskatchewan; and Krista Toner, University of Prince Edward Island.

Student presenters receiving $500 scholarships were Andrew Mack, The Ohio State University; Lindsay Simpson, North Carolina State University; Ryan Schaefer, Iowa State University; J. Joel Sullivan, Iowa State University; and Amber Borcherding, Iowa State University.

Thirty-five students representing 14 universities submitted abstracts for consideration. From those submissions, 15 students were selected to present during the annual meeting. Alpharma Animal Health, sponsor of the student seminar, provided a $500 travel stipend to each student selected to participate. Judges representing private practice, academia, and industry selected the recipients on the basis of communications skills in the writing of the abstract and the presentation of the case report, and on applicability of the research to swine medicine.


During the luncheon sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc, Dr K. T. Wright, chair of the AASV Foundation, reported that as of December 31, 2005, the foundation endowment had reached $285,000 with total assets of nearly $460,000. He thanked AASV members for their support and contributions through participation in foundation activities. Dr Wright announced the four new Heritage Fellows: Dr R. C. Ebert, Dr Peggy Hawkins, Drs Tim and Ruth Loula, and Dr Bill Mengeling.

Business breakfast

During the annual business meeting and breakfast, Dr Tom Gillespie reported on the association's membership and activities. He reported that there are 1216 paid members and 195 student members. While North American members (857 United States, 166 Canada, and 41 Mexico) comprise the majority of the membership, a significant segment continues to be international members, currently totaling 278. Assets of the AASV continued to grow and now exceed $1.1 million, said Dr Gillespie.

He thanked outgoing directors, Drs Luis Morales, Kerry Keffaber, Michael Mull, and Michael Senn, for their service and leadership. Incoming board members are Drs Bill Minton (District 1), John Baker (District 4), Scanlon Daniels (District 7), and Marco Carvajal (District 12).

Dr Henry Childers, AVMA president, gave the membership an update on AVMA activities. He thanked AASV members who are involved in national organized veterinary medicine. Dr Childers told AASV members that during his term he will be committed to building unity within the veterinary profession.

Dr Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board, introduced the two newest staff members, Drs Patrick Webb and Pam Zaabel. He also informed AASV members about recent activities of the National Pork Board, including the board's decision to purchase the "Pork - The Other White Meat" trademark and tagline from the National Pork Producers Council.

Foundation auction

This year's silent and live auctions netted a record-setting $17,500 for the AASV Foundation. The hot ticket at this year's auction was just that - four football tickets to any Green Bay Packers football game. The tickets went for a sizzling $3200. If you are a Packers fan, contact Dr Steve Sornsen, who was the highest bidder for the item! Performing the duties of auctioneer was Dr Tom Burkgren. Joining him in cajoling members into parting with their money for a good cause were Drs Howard Hill, K.T. Wright, Dave Madsen, and Harry Snelson.

New officers

Dr. Gillespie

AASV President Dr Tom Gillespie

The 2005-2006 slate of officers was installed on March 7. Dr Tom Gillespie passed the gavel to Dr Scott Dee, who assumed the presidency of the AASV. Dr Dee thanked Dr Gillespie for his leadership and service, presenting him with a "million-dollar" chocolate bar. Joining Dr Dee as officers are Dr Daryl Olsen, president-elect, and Dr Kerry Keffaber, vice president. Dr Gillespie is the immediate past president.

"I am excited, energized, and enthused to be the 37th president of the AASV," said Dr Dee. "I am confident that our association will serve as the model for all veterinary species-oriented associations in regard to how veterinarians work with industry to solve economically significant problems related to food animals. Specifically, my focus will be to build an industry-wide team dedicated to the long-term goal of eliminating the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus from the North American pig population."

Mark your calendars

In 2007, the AASV will meet March 3-6 in Orlando, Florida.

Thank you, sponsors!

AASV members attending the annual meeting make a substantial investment in the form of registration fees, travel, lodging, meals, and potential loss of income while away from work. However, the cost of attendance would be even greater - or the quality of the meeting experience reduced - if it were not for the financial support provided by corporate sponsors. The AASV extends its sincere appreciation for the sponsorship of meeting events by the following companies:

  • Alpharma Animal Health (student seminar and veterinary student scholarship)
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc (Monday luncheon)
  • Elanco Animal Health (Monday AASV awards reception and veterinary student scholarships)
  • Fort Dodge Animal Health and Wyeth Animal Health (Sunday welcome reception)
  • Intervet (Sunday student reception)
  • Newport Laboratories (veterinary student travel stipends)
  • Novartis Animal Health US (Internet kiosk)
  • Pfizer Animal Health (Tuesday lunch)
  • Schering-Plough Animal Health (Saturday opening night reception)