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January 8, 2024
With the beginning of 2024 comes the anticipated change in leadership for the Swine Health Information Center. Megan Niederwerder now serves as executive director while Lisa Becton begins her tenure with SHIC as associate director. Both are eager to carry forward the mission of the center to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd by minimizing the impact of emerging disease threats through preparedness, coordinated communications, global disease monitoring, analysis of swine health data and targeted research investments.
Niederwerder joined SHIC in April 2022 as associate director. During her time with SHIC, she has been engaged in all facets of the center’s operations, projects and priorities. This experience, in concert with her previous swine industry roles, prepared her for assuming the executive director position.
“SHIC strives to provide a unique and valuable service to the U.S. pork industry by focusing efforts on emerging diseases,” Niederwerder said. “We will continue to work diligently on initiatives to serve pork producers and their practitioners with emerging disease information efficiently and effectively.”
Under new leadership, SHIC will continue to deliver domestic and global swine disease monitoring information, research to address emerging disease threats and review of swine health data. SHIC’s nimble structure allows it to address threats to U.S. swine herd health as they arise. The Wean-to-Harvest Biosecurity Program and efforts to prevent and prepare for potential emerging diseases, such as Japanese encephalitis virus, are key SHIC priorities.
“We’re going to have challenges. How quickly we can identify those challenges and turn those concerns into solutions shapes our effort,” said Becton. “A lot of the industry’s focus is on how rapidly we can diagnose new, emerging swine disease threats, and how quickly we can tell if an existing pathogen has changed to create new problems. This is at the core of SHIC’s mission.”
In her new role, Becton brings her previous experience in the industry and devotion to U.S. pork producers to enable solutions.
SHIC’s work in 2024 will be guided by the Plan of Work approved by the board of directors. On-going and new efforts also build on previous work detailed in the 2023 Progress Report. Niederwerder and Becton welcome swine industry stakeholders to provide ongoing input and ideas to fulfill the SHIC mission and provide return on investment to U.S. pork producers.
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