From the Associate Editor
Looking back

How could 17 years have slipped by so quickly! In the summer of 2000, when the late Bob Morrison was president of AASP, I was living in the nurses’ residence at the Toronto General Hospital where I was managing a gnotobiotic unit raising transgenic pigs for xenotransplantation. Just two of us ran the unit. The days were long and included several showers in and out. We were working extra hours every afternoon finalizing the gnotobiotic project. In my spare time I wrote or edited papers for Ontario Veterinary College scientists, but there was not much spare time available. During this busy time Cate Dewey asked if I would be interested in editing a swine veterinary journal. Knowing that my current job was ending, I took her offer, and the rest, as they say, is history. It was very hard to work the journal into my schedule until our pigs were gone, but in those early days, the journal was smaller and less formal. Gradually, the American Medical Association style was applied to the ancillary articles as well as the scientific papers.

Until it was abandoned around 2003, we had an ancillary called “What’s Your Interpretation” (WYI) that became a burden because we needed volunteers to submit suitable articles with a graph or table that could be presented for interpretation. Volunteers were not rushing in with submissions. By 2002, we were desperate for WYI submissions, and more or less press-ganged people into submitting suitable data, but I had begun to know who would be likely to have such data. When I happened to meet Steve Dritz at the 2002 annual meeting (actually I’d been stalking him), he said hello and I responded with “Let’s cut to the chase, Steve. Will you give us a WYI for the May issue?” Steve laughed long and loud. But he gave us a submission.

I met with Tom Burkgren and Sue Schulteis at my first AASP meeting in Nashville and began to understand that these people were a community who knew and supported each other, celebrating and having great fun together at the annual gatherings. I have been to many veterinary meetings at home and abroad, but never another with the comradery found at AASV meetings. I had heard that there was a silent and a live auction and also that Tom Burkgren acted as auctioneer. To my surprise, with the first syllables out of his mouth, it was evident that Tom did not merely act as auctioneer, he really was an auctioneer! The folks at those auctions are incredibly generous with their bids and they have had some “big hairy audacious” goals. I saw funds raised for veterinary student scholarships intended to encourage the winners to consider a career in swine medicine. Remembering my own veterinary student years, it is easy to understand how encouraging this would be. Under Tom’s leadership and encouragement, new blood is always being brought into the AASV. In 2012, Terri O’Sullivan replaced Cate Dewey as Executive Editor, and now I am among the retirees. I will miss the rhythm of the work and the excitement of opening a new manuscript. A panoply of colorful and friendly people come to mind.

For example, Tim Blackwell, who borrowed a pail from the hotel cleaning crew to illustrate his Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture, at the end of it said “the Dunne is done,” which may not have originated with Tim but it sounds like him. From year to year at the annual meetings, I found compatible people to hang out with – on that list were Sandy Amass (who taught us to juggle), Barb Straw (the horsey connection), and Cathy Rae (who shared sundaes with me at the veterinary student ice cream bar).

With just a single face-to-face meeting annually, I have bonded with Tina Smith, our talented graphics designer who also raises beef calves. Tina added pig photographs to the journal covers in 2004 and has continued to partner with John Waddell, whose aerial photos have brightened multiple covers. Karen Richardson has repeatedly saved my sanity by always knowing the status and location of all the submissions and being a great proof reader. Tom and Sue have always been there to handle problems. I will miss this group of friends forever.

Looking back, becoming associate editor of the journal was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. But this journal and this association are not about looking back, they are always looking forward, changing as necessary to stay in the forefront of swine research. I was drawn into this community of scientists more than 17 years ago and am the better for it. Thank you for making me one of the family – I have loved being a part of your lives.

Judi Bell, DVM, PhD
Associate Editor