In November of last year, the National Pork Board (NPB) approved $15 million in funding for a new Swine Health Information Center (SWIC). The venture will focus efforts on implementing preparedness for disease challenges that could affect U.S. swine herds. During the 2015 World Pork Expo, Dr. Paul Sundberg who is currently serving as the vice president and technology for NPB, was announced as the new SWIC executive director effective July 1, 2015.
The center, a five-year project, will be governed by a board consisting of representatives from NPB, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and at-large pork producers, and will be funded by check-off dollars.
Sundberg is hopeful that there will be such a strong return on investment, SWIC will continue its work well beyond the five years. He explained that there are three key initiatives that will be the focus of the center. First, they will form a global network of information that will tell them about diseases in swine that are circulating in other countries.
“One lesson we need to learn from PEDv is that the window of opportunity for other viruses to come is still open and that means we have to be better prepared,” explained Sundberg.
Second thing they will do is have experts prioritize the list by highest impact and diseases most likely to get into the country. After this step is completed, they will dedicate a significant amount of research to make sure there are diagnostic capabilities for the viruses and diseases coming in.
Learn more about SWIC’s mission by listening to Jamie Johansen’s interview with Dr. Paul Sundberg: Interview with Dr. Paul Sundberg, SWIC
Find photos from the event here: 2015 World Pork Expo Photo Album