Straight Talk
AASV membership benefits

The question for this issue of “Straight talk” was “What member benefit do you value the most from AASV? What new benefit could AASV offer to create more value for members?” Input from members helps AASV to better gauge the benefits that hold the most value and what benefits need to be explored for the future. If you’d like to respond, please feel free to submit suggestions directly to Drs Tom Burkgren and Sue Schulteis at

From Steve Henry

“Greatest benefit is the existence and structure of an organization that pulls together inquiring minds, technical disciplines, and long experience in working with pigs and producers. The forums AASV offers to all of us are the basis of international, nearly real-time education and information in the day-to-day dynamics in our pork world. Then the longer-term, more structured value of a focused scientific journal in JSHAP, along with ongoing involvement in public and medical policy, keeps us grounded in the world beyond just pigs. Finally, the flexibility, adaptability, and nimbleness of the AASV when crises arise support AASV as the first “go to” source for information and direction. The support provided by the AASV to its members is the most valued benefit. And, at least equally important, there are so many life-long friendships to treasure as a result of the camaraderie that is a mark of AASV members.

‘New’ benefits have been recognized and rapidly converted to action through the years by AASV administration and leadership. And they have been developed in response to real and present needs, from antibiotic regulation to disease emergence to employment to international collaboration. What ‘new’ benefit creates more value to members? Just a renewal of the commitment to the principles over the years: we are about information and education. The leadership of AASV is quick to recognize new needs and responds rapidly. If this continues to be so, it is all the ‘new’ I could ever ask for.”

From Paul Ruen

“There are many member benefits that I highly value. The member directory (online) is something I use routinely to access up-to-date e-mails and phone numbers of my colleagues in AASV. This is a great resource from AASV. The weekly e-Letter has been a helpful service that gives me a timely snapshot of pertinent news and also reminds me of upcoming meetings and other calendar items important to swine veterinarians. The Swine Information CD makes it convenient to search for articles and presentations pertinent to a subject that I want to review. But of most importance to me are those relationships made with other members at the annual meeting and other AASV activities. The contacts and friendships developed are professionally and personally rewarding.

What new benefit could AASV offer? The AASV’s primary mission is to increase the knowledge of swine veterinarians, and largely the organization of strong science-based meetings and services has equipped us to address industry issues. But as a profession, we must also work to understand society’s demands on food production and animal care from a non-science point of view. Would there be membership interest and value returned if AASV provided links to articles in the popular press and by organizations that speak for mainstream consumer groups? We need to understand the battle lines, the changing expectations, and then chart a path that still works toward a safe and economical supply of pork.”

From Charles Haley

“I value the input I get from the vast network of swine veterinary expertise the most.”

From Scott Dee

“I think the major benefits of AASV membership are the educational opportunities, such as the annual meeting, the closed-door session, and the summer conference. I think further opportunities to meet and discuss key issues should be made available to members at the district level. I also feel that more frequent publication of abstracts from interesting scientific papers via the e-Letter would also benefit the membership.”

From Max Rodibaugh

“Other than the obvious benefits of our annual meeting, I really value the database search of past conference proceedings, JSHAP, and our committee activities. This is a great way to search for swine information rapidly. The fee for this is very reasonable, especially if you consider the time it would take to search individual meeting discs or look up the old written proceedings! Even more value could be derived if added swine, production, or veterinary publications could be added to the search, such as Journal of Animal Science or even something like a Pub Med link. We are in the information business, and ready access provided by our association is a great member value. Also, be sure to make AASV your default home page on your Web browser for even faster access!”

From Robyn Fleck

“The best AASV benefits are the membership directory (print), the annual salary survey, the swine information CD, the AASV e-Letter (thanks Harry!), and the continuing education. A benefit that would be useful would be more unbiased review articles published in JSHAP. This could provide an opportunity for students and practitioners to publish without a completed research project while at the same time adding value for their colleagues.”

-- Tracy Ann Raef