Executive Veterinary Program™

Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management

Certificate in Swine Health Management 

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August 2019 through February 2021

Professional Development That Makes a Difference

This current offering of the Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management builds on the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine’s award-winning Executive Veterinary Program (EVP) series of executive programs. EVP was developed in 1991 to enhance the business, communication, and planning skills of busy animal health professionals. Since that time nearly 255 of the top swine industry veterinarians from throughout the world have benefited from the program as well as managers in the swine industry that have completed the recent Executive Pork Producers Program.

The Executive Veterinary Program addresses essential skills for excellence in swine health management. The objective of EVP is to enhance the diagnostic, management, leadership, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills of leaders in the pork industry.

EVP offered top-tier swine veterinarians a ‘mini-MBA’ type of educational experience…I was able to immediately apply the information learned at EVP in practice as well as with pork producer clients to increase knowledge and ultimately improve the bottom line.

EVP graduate


Why EVP at Illinois?

Dr. Larry Firkins and Dr. Jim Lowe, both graduates of the Executive Veterinary Program, have spent their careers in the pork industry as veterinarians, educators, and business consultants. They bring a unique set of skills gained from working in and with some of the most progressive pork production companies in North America. Their work on swine health and management issues has resulted in serving the global swine industry in 20 countries. Dr. Firkins is the recognized leader for training livestock producers in human resource and leadership skills. Dr. Lowe’s practical experience in teaching, consulting, and managing pork production systems brings a pragmatic, get-it-done perspective to practical business problems. Together they have developed an educational program that reflects their diverse experiences to benefit swine veterinarians in an increasingly competitive market.

  • About EVP in Swine Health Management

    Program Organization

    EVP is a comprehensive interdisciplinary certificate program distinct from many traditional educational programs. Ten interactive learning modules will be held every other month for two days each (Thursday and Friday). In the time between each module, participants are expected to complete assigned work while applying the information in their workplace. Modules are organized sequentially to enhance the integration of the subject matter.

    The EVP instructors are nationally recognized experts in the field, from both academia and industry. Handouts, readings, and practical assignments for both individuals and groups will be assigned by the instructors. Between modules there will be regular communication between the program participants, EVP instructors, and program staff.

    Program Goals

    • Participate in a unique educational experience for swine veterinarians while improving your diagnostic, management and leadership skills.
    • Enhance decision making abilities through the transfer of a critical set of knowledge and skills.
    • Master the principles utilized on a daily basis in providing value to the swine industry.
    • Become a member of a network of swine veterinary leaders that advances idea sharing and promotes dialogue on key issues facing the ever-changing pork industry.
  • Program Modules

    Module information for the 2019-2021 course offering is still being determined. Below is the module information for the previous EVP: Swine Health Management course.

    Module One: October 9-10, 2014
    Building Evidence Based Plans: Diagnosing, Monitoring, and Understanding Disease in Populations

    • Critical thinking and reasoning in disease surveillance
    • Enhancing diagnostic interpretation and communication of results
    • Understanding the cost effectiveness of disease surveillance
    • Effective utilization of advanced diagnostic tools
    • Application of data to improve clinical decisions

    Module Two: December 11-12, 2014
    Building Evidence Based Plans: Measuring Disease in Populations

    • Understanding the principles and methods of epidemiology
    • Determining causal inference
    • Interpreting and evaluating scientific investigations
    • Using epidemiologic diagnostic tools to make decisions
    • Developing epidemiologic study design

    Module Three: February 19-20, 2015
    Building Evidence Based Plans: Impacting Disease in Populations

    • Understanding the immune response
    • Selecting and calculating proper dosing regimens
    • Enhancing knowledge of pharmacological principles
    • Facilitating vaccine selection and use
    • Judicious use of antimicrobials

    Module 3 is sponsored by Merck Animal Health


    Module Four: April 9-10, 2015
    Managing Implementation: Systematic Approach

    • Understanding what a root cause is and how it can be identified
    • Identification of strategies to address root causes
    • Application of tactics to implement a strategy
    • Utilizing decision tools in real-world situations
    • Evaluating the understanding the drivers of profit

    Module 4 is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.
    Boehringer Ingelheim _logo


    Module Five: June 11-12, 2015
    Measuring Implementation: Leading With Data

    • Combining data and experience to drive decisions and actions
    • Finding insight and meaning in data
    • Using context and hypotheses to focus and drive your data and analysis
    • Selecting metrics that most effectively drive decisions and actions
    • Organizing data around decisions and actions rather than static categories

    Module Six: August 6-7, 2015
    The Art of Leadership: It’s About Communication

    • Utilizing personal preferences in communicating
    • Managing powerful, crucial, fierce conversations
    • Addressing the #1 problem in communication
    • Troubleshooting organizational communication problems – communicating up and down in an organization
    • Selling your ideas throughout the business

    Module 6 is sponsored by PIC
    PIC Logo

    Module Seven: October 8-9, 2015
    Nutrition Problem Solving for Veterinarians

    • Understanding the science of growth biology
    • Analysis of nutritional factors and profitability
    • Utilizing alternative feed sources
    • Developing optimal feeding programs
    • Communicating with nutritionists

    Module 7 is sponsored by Zoetis
    Zoetis logo

    Module Eight: December 10-11, 2015
    Enhancing Environmental Management

    • Environmental influence on health, productivity, and profitability
    • Building design and facility evaluation
    • Utilizing group sow housing options
    • Understanding electronic sow feeding systems
    • Mastering ventilation components

    Module Nine: February 18-19, 2016
    Creating Economic Sustainability

    • Critical underpinnings of sustainability in modern business practices
    • Building the precision pig of the future
    • Minimizing variation throughout production
    • Understanding the components or risk
    • Strategic use of marketing contracts

    Module Ten: April 7-8, 2016
    Enhancing Strategic and Business Acumen

    • Understanding the evolving role of veterinarians in the swine industry
    • Creating a path of strategic intent
    • Defining the nature of competition & value creation
    • Applying the principles of direction setting & execution
    • Banquet and presentation of certificates
  • Module Dates

    EVP will meet every other month for two days each (Thursday and Friday). All sessions will be held at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine campus in Urbana, Illinois.

    Module 1
    Module 2
    Module 3
    Module 4
    Module 5
    Module 6
    Module 7
    Module 8
    Module 9
    Module 10

  • Registration

    Tuition for registrations placed by April 28, 2019, is $9,500; a deposit of $500 is required at the time of registration. Tuition for registrations placed after April 28, 2019, is $10,000; a deposit of $1,500 is due at the time of registration. The balance is payable in five installments of $1,800 each on:

    • Module 1
    • Module 3
    • Module 5
    • Module 7
    • Module 9

    Enrollment is limited to 40 participants.

    Registration includes all program materials, daily breakfasts, lunches, and dinners per module.

     Register online by creating an account. You will be asked to fill out the online form and return to this form each time that you need to make an installment payment. Tuition may also be paid in full.


    EVP class members are responsible for making all personal travel arrangements. Travel and lodging information will be sent upon registration.

  • Requirements

    Admission Requirements
    A DVM degree with at least two years of work experience are prerequisites for participation.

    Technical Requirements 

    • A laptop or tablet with Microsoft Office products and wireless capability;
    • Access to Internet connection; and
    • An easily-accessed email account.

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