Annual meeting report

Staying in the game: From the slat level

“I cannot believe that it will be possible to ever experience a period of more change in the structure of the North American swine industry than what has occurred during my career, especially in the past 15 years,” said Dr Tim Loula as he delivered the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture, “Use your strengths to stay in the game.” In choosing Dr Loula as the Dunne Lecturer, Dr Kerry Keffaber, program chair, wanted a practitioner perspective to kick off the 2008 meeting theme, “Building on our strengths.” Dr Loula explained his thoughts on how he and his colleagues at Swine Veterinary Center in Minnesota stay in the game and use the changes impacting the industry to build their practice and add value to their clients’ operations. Dr Loula noted that despite the numerous changes in the industry, swine veterinarians haven’t worked themselves out of a job. Dr Loula encouraged swine veterinarians to find solutions to problems and do what it takes to get results. “Treat the client’s farm as if it were your own,” Dr Loula said. “What would you do?”

Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture

Speaking from a nontraditional perspective, Dr Mike Terrill described how he capitalized on his strengths to fill a veterinary role within the swine industry. As the 2008 Hogg Lecturer and vice president of procurement and meat quality at Clougherty Packing Company, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods, Dr Terrill explained what it takes to pursue a nontraditional position: primarily an entrepreneurial spirit and broad interest in business. He encouraged veterinarians to identify their strengths and match them to roles that may not yet be defined.

Swine Practitioner of the Year

Dr Lisa Tokach was honored as the 2008 Swine Practitioner of the Year. The award, the highest honor bestowed by the association, was presented during the Awards Reception at the association’s annual meeting in San Diego. It is given annually to a private practitioner who has demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of veterinary service to his or her clients.

A native of Minnesota, Dr Tokach received her veterinary degree from the University of Minnesota in 1990. Since graduation, she has been a mixed-animal practitioner, primarily focusing on swine population medicine, at Abilene Animal Hospital in Abilene, Kansas. She also serves as personnel director at the hospital, which employs six veterinarians and 10 additional full-time employees. Since 1996, she has served as president of the Kansas Swine Alliance, Inc, a management company that promotes interdependence among smaller Kansas producers. In addition to her practice commitments, Dr Tokach is a mentor and advisor to veterinary students who spend summers and breaks at the practice. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Active in the AASV since she was a student, Dr Tokach has demonstrated strong leadership, devoting countless hours to the association. In 2002, Dr Tokach served as president of the AASV. She also represented her district on the AASV Board of Directors for two terms. She has served on the AASV Student Recruitment Committee, Animal Welfare Committee, Public Relations Committee, and the Human Health and Safety Committee, and also served as a reviewer for the AASV’s Journal of Swine Health and Production.

Dr Tokach’s talents and expertise have been recognized nationally through her work on developing guidelines on sow housing for the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is also active in the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the Kansas Pork Producers Council.

A lifelong learner, Dr Tokach is board-certified in swine health management by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. She is also a certified Meyer-Briggs Type Indicators trainer and conducts training for clients, their families, and staff.

Dr Tokach is active in her community, serving on the board of directors for the Great Plains Theatre and on several committees at St Andrew’s School. She is also active as a parent leader and volunteer for 4-H.

Dr Tokach and her husband, Mike, reside in Abilene, Kansas. They have three children, Sage, Rogan, and Fiona.

Howard Dunne Memorial Award

In recognition of his important contributions and outstanding service to the association and the swine industry, Dr Greg Stevenson was presented with the 2008 Howard Dunne Memorial Award. A well-respected swine diagnostician, Dr Stevenson rose through the academic ranks at Purdue University to be head of pathology at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in 2002. He was a professor and swine pathologist until 2007, when he retired from the university to pursue a second career in full-time Christian ministry with Collegiate Impact Ministries.

Prior to joining the faculty at Purdue University in 1990, Dr Stevenson was an adjunct instructor of veterinary pathology at Iowa State University for 3 years. From 1985 to 1987, he was the vice president of production and research for NOBL Laboratories in Iowa. Early in his career, Dr Stevenson was a mixed-animal practitioner in Victor, Iowa, and a swine practitioner in Ireton, Iowa.

An accomplished author, Dr Stevenson has written over 120 articles, abstracts, and book chapters for peer-reviewed journals and non-peer-reviewed publications on swine diseases. He has been a frequent lecturer at state, regional, and national veterinary meetings.

An Iowa native, Dr Stevenson received his DVM (1979), MS (1981), and PhD (1990) from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. In 1991, he was board certified in veterinary pathology by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. He is a member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the AASV.

Dr Stevenson and his wife, Sarah, reside in Granger, Indiana. They have three children, Ellen, Drew, and Anna.

Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year

Dr Jason Kelly was named the 2008 Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year. Established in 2008, this award will be given annually to an AASV member 5 years or less post graduation who has demonstrated the ideals of exemplary service and proficiency early in his or her career.

Dr Kelly grew up on a farm in Kokomo, Indiana, and always knew he wanted to be a veterinarian. In 2003, he graduated with a DVM from Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr Kelly is a swine practitioner and managing partner at Suidae Health and Production, a swine-exclusive practice of six swine veterinarians serving clients in Iowa and the Midwest. Since joining Suidae in 2003, Dr Kelly has earned the respect of his clients through diligent application of scientific knowledge and art, integrity, and character.

Dr Kelly has been active in the AASV since he was a student, winning first place honors for the best student presentation at the 2003 AASV Annual Meeting. He is the chair of the association’s Student Recruitment Committee and has served as an advisor and member of the AASV’s Annual Meeting Planning Committee.

In 2007, Dr Kelly was an instructor in the inaugural AASV advanced techniques workshop held at Iowa State University. He has authored several papers that have been published by peer-reviewed scientific journals, and is a sought-after speaker at producer and veterinary meetings.

In addition to a busy professional career, Dr Kelly enrolled in and completed the Algona Leaders of Tomorrow, a program of the Algona Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Kelly and his wife, Angela, reside in Algona, Iowa, with their two daughters. They are expecting their third child in April.

Meritorious Service Award

Dr Sandra Amass received the Meritorious Service Award in recognition of her outstanding service to the association. Dr Amass is a professor at Purdue University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM (1993), MS (1994) and PhD (1997).

Raised in Baltimore, Maryland, from a background far removed from animal production and veterinary medicine, Dr Amass has earned a national reputation as a knowledgeable and well-respected swine researcher and teacher. She is an author and frequent lecturer and speaker at local, state, national, and international veterinary and producer meetings.

Active in the AASV since 1990, Dr Amass was a lead reviewer on the editorial board of the Journal of Swine Health and Production and former managing editor of the AASV’s e-Letter. She was a co-chair of the association’s Collegiate Activities Committee and a member of the Communications Committee and AASV subcommittee of the AVMA Drug Advisory Committee.

In addition to her service to the AASV, Dr Amass is an active member of the Indiana Association of Swine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr Amass is board certified in swine health management by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and is a 2000 graduate of the Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management. Dr Amass has served as a Swine Welfare Assurance Program Assessor and Program Instructor Training Team Member.

Dr Amass and her husband, Dr Phillip John San Miguel, reside in Lafayette, Indiana.

Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year

Dr Robert Desrosiers was honored as the 2008 Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year. Established this year, the award recognizes swine industry veterinarians who have demonstrated an unusual degree of proficiency and effectiveness in delivery of veterinary service to their companies and their clients, as well as giving tirelessly in service to the AASV and the swine industry.

Dr Desrosiers is a technical services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. In 1979, he received his DVM from the University of Montreal. In 1997, he was board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

In 2006 and 2007, Dr Desrosiers was selected to serve on a task force charged with the development of a 5-year plan to improve the health of Quebec’s swine herds. He also is a member of the Health Committee of the Centre de Development du Porc du Quebec and of the Swine Health Committee of the AASV.

Active in the AASV since 1980, Dr Desrosiers delivered the 2004 Howard Dunne Lecture, “Epidemiology, diagnosis and control of swine diseases.” Not since 1988 has a Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture focused on diseases and pathogens.

A well-known expert in swine diagnostics, epidemiology, and biosecurity, Dr Desrosiers is a frequent lecturer at producer and veterinary meetings in Canada, the United States, and around the world.

Dr Desrosiers and his wife, Diane, reside in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.

Student seminar and scholarships

Carissa Schloesser received a $5000 scholarship for best student presentation. Carissa is a third-year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota. Her presentation was titled “Accuracy and precision of Pulse-Micro-dose injection device using Draxxin™, Excede, and Excenel and sterile water.” Alpharma Animal Health provided the financial support for the Best Student Presenter 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: Jennifer Arnold, Iowa State University; Kathryn Bonistalli, Massey University; Jess Waddell, Iowa State University; and Gavin Yager, Iowa State University.

Five veterinary-student presenters received $1500 scholarships: Seth Baker, University of Minnesota; Maria Clavijo, Universidad Central de Venezuela; Tyson Dinslage, Iowa State University; Andrea Pitkin, University of Minnesota; and Maryn Ptaschinski, University of Wisconsin.

Student presenters receiving $500 scholarships were Matt Allerson, University of Minnesota; Andrea Lazier, University of Guelph; Gwenda Olson, University of Saskatchewan; Megan Nemechek, North Carolina State University; and Lucas Santos, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, Brazil.

Thirty-three veterinary students representing 15 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 $750 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 writing the abstract and making the presentation, and on applicability of the research to swine medicine.

In addition to the student seminar, a student poster session was included in the annual meeting program. Fifteen students presented posters during the Sunday afternoon program. Each student selected to present a poster received a $250 stipend from Alpharma Animal Health.


During the luncheon sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc, Dr Rodney Johnson, chair of the AASV Foundation, reported that as of December 31, 2007, the foundation endowment had reached $342,661, with total assets of over $621,350. He thanked AASV members for their support and contributions through participation in foundation activities and encouraged members to give generously during the auction!

Annual Business Breakfast

Dr Olsen reported on the association’s membership and activities. He stated that there are 1242 members and 199 student members. He provided the annual meeting statistics, noting that total attendance was 932, representing 28 countries. He stated that 27.5% of registrants were from outside the United States. One hundred thirty-two veterinary students were in attendance, as well.

Dr Olsen thanked outgoing directors, Drs Jim Lowe and Paul Ruen, and Aaron Lower, student delegate to the board, for their service. He congratulated re-elected board members Drs Randy Jones (District 2) and Ernest Sanford (District 11), and incoming directors Drs Doug Groth (District 5) and Nathan Winkelman (District 9).

New officers

The 2008-2009 slate of officers was installed on March 11. Dr Daryl Olsen passed the gavel to Dr Kerry Keffaber, who assumed the presidency of the AASV. Joining Dr Keffaber as officers are Dr Butch Baker, president-elect, and Dr Paul Ruen, vice president. Dr Olsen is the immediate past president.

Photo courtesy statement: Dr Amass’s photo courtesy of Dr Phillip San Miguel; all other photos courtesy of Tracy Ann Raef.

-- Tracy Ann Raef