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AASV's 52nd Annual Meeting heralded as a success

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) held its 52nd Annual Meeting in what turned out to be the best virtual meeting the AASV has ever had.

11 March 2021, at 8:30am

The live meeting drew 944 total attendees, including 551 paid registrants and 120 veterinary students. Twenty-seven countries were represented. The total attendance also included 229 exhibit representatives from 63 companies and organisations. Registration for the meeting and all content, now on-demand, continues until 30 April.

Meeting participants enjoyed interacting with each other in live chat sessions and were able to ask speakers questions throughout their presentations. Featured presentations during the Monday morning session, including the Howard Dunne and Alex Hogg Memorial lectures, as well as the AASV Foundation meeting, the AASV scholarship and research awards presentations, the annual AAV business meeting, and the grand finale were presented live.

The virtual format offered special conference bonuses. A single-day preconference registration allowed access to all that day’s concurrent preconference seminar presentations, enabling access to the content of five seminars for the price of one. Because all educational sessions were recorded and are available until 30 April, meeting participants have the first ever opportunity to attend all educational sessions, including 10 preconference seminars, 2 general sessions, 3 break-out sessions, 1 research topic session, 3 industrial partners sessions, the student seminar, and a poster session featuring posters from students, researchers, and industrial partners – for a total of 80 hours of on-demand continuing education.

Preconference seminars and concurrent sessions included topics about leadership, precision swine health, swine health and herd management through a pandemic, basics of swine production and breeding herd health, and special topics for students and early career veterinarians. The ever-popular practice tips session this year titled We’re All in this Together, was voluntarily judged by Drs Noel Garbes, Thomas Petznick, and Abby Vennekotter and chaired by Dr Melissa Billing. Dr Max Rodibaugh’s personal and inspirational story, Life Upside Down: Is it Possible to be Prepared for a Personal Crisis, received the top prize, followed by Dr Pat Hoffmann, Travel Tips: A Guide for the Veterinary Vagabond, and Dr Kayla Henness, Pain in the Astrovirus: An Overview of Clinical PoAstV3.

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As AASV added additional focus to member well-being in recent years, Dr Elizabeth Strand, a licensed clinical social worker, resiliency coach, and Founding Director of Veterinary Social Work at the University of Tennessee, partnered with AASV to maximise efforts during the spring of 2020. She led several interactive sessions during the AASV Annual Meeting that focused on Your Right and Responsibility to be Well.

Dr Jerome Geiger, health assurance veterinarian with PIC and 2020 AASV Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year, opened the Monday general session with the Howard Dunne Memorial Lecture. During his presentation, titled Navigating the Future, Together, he reminded attendees of the many talented people in the AASV, shared some of AASV’s accomplishments, and assured everyone that we will get through these challenging times by working together. He encouraged everyone to recognize and embrace their “why” of being a swine veterinarian and acknowledged his own why as the team of people which surrounds him.

Dr Jeremy Pittman, a veterinarian with Smithfield Hog Production and 2021 AASV Swine Practitioner of the Year, presented the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture titled Enhancing Your Brand: The Value of Lifelong Learning, Continuing Education, and Teaching to the Swine Industry. He urged attendees to be continual learners and better ourselves for the sake of the association and the swine industry, in remembrance of Dr Alex Hogg.

The Monday afternoon concurrent sessions challenged veterinarians to consider new tools to address persistent pathogens, animal welfare, and African swine fever. The Tuesday general session focused on lessons learned, and lessons we continue to learn, from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual platform provided a quick view of #AASV2021 social media conversations on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The virtual setting also allowed attendees to compete in the Truffle Shuffle to earn badges for their profiles and a chance to win gift cards or a copy of the newly released 5th edition of the Swine Disease Manual.

The meeting ended with a special grand finale where the AASV Board of Directors officers reflected on this year’s virtual meeting. Dr Nathan Winkelman, 2019 AASV president, noted that this was his 39th consecutive year attending the AASV Annual Meeting, and may have been the best meeting yet.

During the grand finale, Dr Alex Ramirez, 2017 AASV president and 2021 AASV Awards Selection Committee chair, announced the recipients of AASV’s prestigious awards: Swine Practitioner of the Year Award (Dr Jeremy Pittman), the Howard Dunne Memorial Award (Dr John Deen), the Meritorious Service Award (Dr Angela Baysinger), the Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year Award (Dr Chris Sievers), and the Technical Services/Allied Industry Veterinarian of the Year Award (Dr James Lehman).

The grand finale and meeting concluded with AASV Foundation Auction Chair Dr Chase Stahl’s announcement of the winning bidders for the 15 featured items in the 2021 Foundation Auction.