From the Executive Director
Change is hard

It will surprise no one who knows me well that as I have aged I have settled into a comfortable life here in Perry, Iowa. As a result I don’t like major changes in my personal or professional life. A quote I often use is “Change is good – you go first.” I have been spoiled over the years with exceptional stability at AASV. We have an excellent staff working at a high level of effectiveness and efficiency. They require little supervision and are all committed to the mission of the AASV of increasing the knowledge of swine veterinarians. Some members may pose the question of why do we even need an executive director, but that is a subject for another day.

Change, whether welcome or not, happens to us all. The AASV is no exception: we have received notice that Dr Cate Dewey is stepping down as the executive editor of the Journal of Swine Health and Production. The JSHAP has had only two executive editors since its beginnings with the first issue in January of 1993. Dr Robert Morrison was the first executive editor, serving from 1993 until 1998. Dr Dewey began her term with the November issue in 1998.

Over the course of the last 13 years, Dr Dewey has built on the foundation started back in the early 1990s. When you stop to think about it, starting a peer-reviewed journal specifically for swine veterinarians required astounding vision and persistence, as well as a tremendous amount of work. Dr Gary Dial was the president of AASP in 1993. What he wrote back then in the first issue is enlightening: “This is the first issue of the AASP’s journal, Swine Health and Production. It is a bold undertaking by our association. No longer are we dependent on others to create and gather information: with Swine Health and Production, we will take the responsibility for educating ourselves in swine medicine and production. In doing so, we will create the only scientific publication tailored specifically to swine practitioners.”1

He went on to describe the desired outcomes of our own journal: “A well-prepared and well-used scientific journal in swine health and production will result in:

• Practitioners that increasingly do their own independent research because they recognize they have a place to publish their material; and

• The advancement of the overall scientific skills of our profession via exposure to material of high scientific quality.

The net result is professionals with more education who are better equipped to serve our ever-changing and demanding clientele. In my opinion, it is only through our collective commitment to science (as manifested in this journal) that will ensure the long-term vitality of our profession’s role in the North American swine industry. We must all be committed to making this publication an effective means to help us better serve our clients.”

I don’t know if Dr Dewey read what Dr Dial wrote back in 1993, but she has certainly epitomized the qualities laid out in his message. The first quality is related to taking responsibility. Right from the start, Dr Dewey took personal responsibility for the journal. She has embraced the philosophy of not depending on others for our information. Secondly, she has strived to keep the journal relevant for swine veterinarians. I love the terms “well-prepared and well-used” because the journal does not stop at the printing press. Equally important to the journal is that it is well used. The highest compliment is paid when you see a dog-eared copy of the journal or see references to a journal article in other publications and presentations.

Lastly, Dr Dewey’s commitment to science is unyielding and unmovable. I have never seen her compromise this commitment. The value she places on good science is inspiring to me. Even though I am more bureaucrat than scientist, even I can appreciate Dr Dewey’s passion for high scientific quality. As the executive editor, she has well understood that it is her scientific leadership that sets the tone for the rest of the staff and for the publication.

It has been under Dr Dewey’s leadership that the journal has ventured into digital publication and open access. She has also endeavored to expand the journal to include authors from around the world. She has supported and refined the efforts to improve the appearance and readability of the journal. She has managed a number of editorial boards, each with its own specific characteristics and challenges. She has assembled a great staff of professionals with Dr Judi Bell, Karen Richardson, and Tina Smith.

For 13 years, Dr Dewey has steered the journal with a clear vision and a steady hand. She has spoiled me by making my job easier. She will be missed. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Dr Dewey for her hard work for the journal and her dedication to the AASV. I urge each member to do the same.

-- Tom Burkgren, DVM


1. Dial G. President’s message. Swine Health Prod. 1993;1(1):3.