February 2021 ADBCAP Newsletter


A Research Retrospective

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As the end of the project draws near, it is appropriate to highlight team members’ contributions to the outputs of the ADBCAP. The team’s accomplishments closely align with the following objectives:

  1. To better understand the roles of information and communication methods on risk perception and how factors such as economic and social concerns influence people to adopt or engage in biosecurity strategies.
  2. To better visualize the impact of human behaviors on disease spread in production systems.
  3. To create new educational tools for the next generation to learn about biosecurity.

Interactions with private and public sector stakeholders informed the development of our work. The team has deployed innovative interviews, surveys, and “serious games” (or digital field experiments) to gather data.

We have integrated epidemiological information, human risk perception and socio-economic influences into first-of-their-kind, agent-based models to explore how changing human behaviors affect disease spread dynamics.

The research outputs have identified several key areas relevant to producers, industry stakeholders and policy makers, and these have been shared through peer­ reviewed and lay publications, conference proceedings, meetings, and workshops nationally and internationally.

Interactive online and hands-on activities have been developed for youth audiences to learn about biosecurity, and a new website focused on farm biosecurity has been launched. We developed evaluation tools to gauge the impact of the online educational modules. Innovations in research design and outreach typified the project.

Recent publications and presentations are listed in this newsletter and on the project website. Recordings of presentations at our project symposium held in May 2019 are also available on the website.

This is the last newsletter produced by the ADBCAP, but the project website will be maintained until the year 2026.

Julie Smith DVM, PhD, is a research associate professor at the University of Vermont. Julie received her B.S. in Biological Sciences, D.V.M., and Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition at Cornell University. Since joining the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in 2002, she has applied her veterinary background to programs in the areas of herd health, calf and heifer management, and agricultural emergency management. She is responsible for teaching the undergraduate Animal Welfare class required of majors in her department. Julie has conducted trainings for Extension educators, livestock producers, and community members on the risks posed by a range of animal diseases, whether they already exist in the United States, exist outside of the United States, or pose a risk to both animal and human health. In all cases, she emphasizes the importance of awareness and prevention. As a veterinarian and spouse of a dairy farmer, Julie is well aware of the animal health and well-being concerns of dairy animals. She is currently leading the ADBCAP, a multi-species, multi-state project looking at the human behavioral aspects of implementing practices to protect animal health and food security.

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