The future of swine production in the United States will continue to rely on access to qualified veterinarians and a new organization is helping make sure that challenge will be met. Seeing that the U.S. pork industry has ample access to qualified and well-trained veterinarians and staff is the objective of Swine Medicine Education Center (SMEC), Ames, Iowa,
The SMEC is a joint collaboration between AMVC, Audubon, Iowa, and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The objectives of the Center are synthesizing, collecting and disseminating best clinical practices to stakeholders who can apply them to improve swine health, ensure pork safety, maintain sustainability and conserve resources.
“We have already had 48 veterinary students from seven veterinary schools come through the Center,” according to Locke Karriker, DVM, SMEC director. “Through our custom training modules we’ve reached stakeholders in 11 countries and hosted 17 international veterinarians for on-farm training opportunities here in Iowa.”
The Center’s goal encompasses a wider audience than just veterinarians or veterinary students, however. “An important objective of the Center is to provide educational opportunities to all swine production stakeholders as well as the general public and media,” according to Josh Ellingson, DVM, SMEC staff veterinarian.
The Center features readily available commercial farm access and is now offering contract research and field trial services, literature reviews and summaries, and a wide variety of customized training programs for stakeholders.
Eventually, the Center envisions funding will be made available to help cover expenses of veterinary students who enroll for their two-week training rotation period as well as travel expenses incurred. “Our goal is to be able to fully cover all tuition, room and board, and travel expenses for students interested in swine medicine from across the country,” Ellingson says. “This support would ensure all domestic students interested in swine medicine would have a means and a source to access needed training,”
The Center depends on external funding from swine industry stakeholders, swine production companies and others, according to Ellingson. “Fundraising efforts are ongoing, but we are off to a great start thanks to the generosity of our numerous supporters who share our mission. Ultimately, the success and sustainability of the Center will rely on backing by stakeholder partners.”
The board of directors of SMEC includes: Daryl Olsen, DVM, Jason Hocker, DVM, Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM, Locke Karriker, DVM, Darin Madson, DVM, and Pat Halbur, DVM.