Attitude is really the only thing we can control in life. A positive attitude of optimism, opportunity, and ability allows us to do almost anything.
I was an unlikely person to be an editor. I did not learn to read until I was in 2nd grade, cannot spell, and find writing cumbersome and slow. When I took the job as editor, I knew that it would be a slow, tedious process. It took me forever to read and review a scientific paper. Now, 15 years and 531 papers later, my speed has increased phenomenally. Practice improves every skill.
Even considering my limitations, I started the editor job with an attitude of enthusiasm and opportunity. I believed that the scientific rigor of the journal would continue to grow and that the journal would take a place of prominence and importance in our field. I had faith in my abilities as a scientific reviewer, researcher, epidemiologist, and swine veterinarian. With the right team, including others who would fill in my gaps, I knew that the journal would continue to evolve in a positive way.
A “can do” attitude enables us to overcome our own shortcomings. In 2006, I founded the Children of Bukati (www.childrenof
bukati.com) to feed and educate AIDS orphans and destitute children in rural Western Kenya. The ultimate plan is to work with a school community for 4 to 6 years, leaving behind the foundation for the community to continue to support the children on their own. The fundamental premise of the foundation is to provide a lunch for the children to encourage them to attend school and to enable them to learn. The project is run entirely by volunteers and the overhead is 3 cents per dollar donated. We work in solidarity with the community to build permaculture projects that provide food, fodder, and items to sell that enable the school communities to be self sufficient. The permaculture projects include livestock, organic agriculture, a greenhouse, tree nurseries, forestry (trees for fruits, nuts, fodder, and building), soil improvement, composting, and water capture with swales and fish ponds. Today we have three schools in the project and in total support over 1400 elementary school children plus 13 high-school children (three have already graduated). From day one, we worked with the community to build a “can do” attitude. Last year, the well at the school that supplies safe water for the community broke. The school committee used the profits from the tomatoes grown in the greenhouse to repair the well. Rather than asking for a handout from us, they showed responsibility and self sufficiency to act promptly, using resources that were a direct outcome of the projects put in place by the Children of Bukati Foundation.
An attitude of acceptance, responsibility, and collaboration creates opportunities far bigger than what we envision or could ever do ourselves. It was a real pleasure to meet so many friends at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians in Denver. We really do have a fabulous and supportive membership. It is such a treasure to be able to catch up with one another’s lives and to reflect on the shared experiences of the past. Many people I met were either mentors of mine when I was a new faculty member at the University of Nebraska or, at the other end of the spectrum, were former students of mine. This meeting was particularly exciting because of the record number of students who were in attendance. This reminds me of the constant evolution of life and individual lives.
Change brings a time of uncertainty, but is also a time for growth, opportunity, and renewal. I was reminded of this at the editorial board meeting, where we met new members who are young and enthusiastic, ready to do their part for the journal. This is balanced of course, with more experienced members in a fabulous blend of expertise and ideas. One wonderful new opportunity for the journal is the interest from a foreign journal to republish our manuscripts overseas. We will develop a policy to enable this to happen with rigor to ensure the appropriate citation. The possibility to expand the reach of the new information beyond the English-, Spanish-, and French-speaking world is very exciting.
Dr Terri O’Sullivan has been named the 3rd Executive Editor of the Journal of Swine Health and Production. This is an exciting new change for the journal. An attitude that welcomes change is needed for revitalization. Dr O’Sullivan has a PhD in epidemiology and many years of private veterinary practice. As a student, she gave a presentation at the AASV meeting. Dr O’Sullivan and I will work cooperatively for the next few months to ensure a smooth transition for the authors and staff of the journal. She will bring her own energy, ideas, and expertise to enable the journal to grow to its full future potential. I am sure you will all give Dr O’Sullivan the support that you gave to me.
A positive attitude enables us to be the best that we can be in life. I wish you all a “can do” approach to life that is filled with a sense of direction, opportunity, and optimism.