Describe a typical day in your current role?
One of the favorite parts of my role is the variability in my daily activities. I spend time in the field with clients doing post sessions, monitoring and supporting vaccinations, as well as being heavily involved in advancing diagnostic capture and analysis. I’ve even worked with developers for the past three years to design custom apps for better vaccine monitoring! This role allows me to interact with many types of poultry production and even collaborate with colleagues from different IB species groups, such as swine medicine, ruminants and companion animals. I also participate in internal and external industry research and education and help our clients solve their most pressing problems as well as plan health and immunization strategies. Rarely are two days the same for me!
How is your role unique?
The time I devote to analyzing and interpreting diagnoses allows me to acquire and share with clients information about the health and performance of their birds that they might not otherwise have access to. Given my veterinary background, working in this field helps me see and understand trends that a traditional data analyst would find difficult to appreciate. Connecting the dots between vaccination, herd performance, traditional surveillance and the effect of different health programs and interventions is a fascinating area that provides constant learning and information and allows us, hopefully, to improve outcomes. poultry health strategies.
What are the main challenges you face in your role?
Managing the amount of information generated in poultry medicine and ensuring that the trends are true and meaningful requires careful attention to detail. A little skepticism can be helpful in ensuring that the trend is the actual result of an action and not a coincidence or the result of unidentified factors. This requires careful attention and sharing of information between our customers and us which may seem unrelated at first glance. I feel very fortunate that our clients trust us to share their information and appreciate the collegial nature of working with them in this way.
What does the future of poultry health look like in terms of disease prevention and treatment?
The hard work of many people in the industry has improved the performance of poultry in many ways over the past 50 years. Genetics, improved vaccine technologies, and improved biosecurity protocols have made great strides towards optimal production and happy, comfortable birds. I believe we can deploy these efforts to effectively quantify, capture and unify data to help us gain additional insight and better understand the interactions of the many factors that contribute to successful poultry production. This decision making, based on previously effective data and methods, can help us continue to further advance bird health and comfort.
Are there any individuals or organizations in the poultry industry that you have found particularly inspiring?
There are so many people who have helped and educated me along the way that it would be impossible to name them all. Drs. H. John Barnes and Michael Martin of North Carolina State University were among the first to spark my interest in poultry medicine and I am very grateful for their dedication to poultry health and the advancement of students in the field. poultry industry. Dr Isabel Gimeno is an inspiration to me because her work on Marek’s disease has contributed immensely to our control in this area in the United States. I worked with her at the start of my poultry career (pre-vet school!) And her dynamism and focus are truly inspiring.
Have you encountered challenges as a woman in your field? If so, how did you overcome them?
The occasions when I’m the only woman in a meeting, poster session, or client activity are rarer now than when I first started in this field. I am proud to see the representation of women in poultry farming. Rather than allowing these situations to be intimidating, I try to use them as an opportunity to add my unique skills to the mix, which includes attributes that women often excel in including organization, thoroughness, and purposefulness. problems.
What exceptional challenge in the poultry industry would you most like to take on?
In my career, I hope to contribute to better use and better networking of the incredible amounts of data that poultry vets need to consider in managing flock health. I would love to see more cohesive programs used for holistic data management and the ability to better understand how different aspects of herd management really influence each other. I believe it can be done, but it will take the poultry businesses and our supporting industry to communicate and collaborate on the programs they use and the lessons they learn from them.
What’s the most exciting innovation you see on the horizon for the poultry industry?
Observing the continuous evolution of poultry health management, from reactive models to proactive, prevention-based models, is an exciting innovation that still has room for growth. An illustration of this is the experience of seeing the reduced use of antibiotic requirements turn from a restriction into an opportunity for more proactive disease prevention by the veterinary community. Advances in vaccine technology, such as the use of vector vaccines and the possibility of other advancements, such as mRNA technology, are also of interest to consider.
What excites you the most over the next 5-10 years about the poultry industry?
Meeting veterinary students who are interested in poultry and seeing their enthusiasm for the industry is very exciting for me. The mix of increased technical capabilities and the rich experience shared between generations of poultry veterinarians represents a bright future for the industry. It’s exciting to see the growth of technology being used in the field and I can’t wait to see some of the innovations the next generation of tech-savvy vets will implement.
What’s your next challenge?
As part of a growing and diverse veterinary team at BI, I am excited to tackle industry issues and deliver innovative solutions. We are uniquely positioned so that our advancements can be shared and adopted around the world and equally shared across multiple species both within the business and among our large customer base. I hope to engage in more cross-species and cross-functional collaborations that will result in improved animal health and benefit my clients and the consumers they serve.