Executive Veterinary Program™

Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management

Office of Public Engagement

3505 Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building, MC-002
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
P: (217) 333-2907
F: (217) 333-4628

Lawrence D. Firkins, DVM, MS, MBA Associate Dean for Public Engagement


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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, 225 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 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.

  • 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.
  • Module One: August 1-2, 2019
    Improving Outcomes Through Clinical Reasoning

    The foundation of improving medical and production outcomes is using the available data to extract the most value. In this module we will explore tools and though process to use the ever increasing volume of medical and production data to generate the most effective and repeatable outcomes in all of your client’s herds.

    Module Two: October 3-4, 2019
    Human Impacts on Disease Occurrence Detection and Prevention

    Both the occurrence of disease and its detection are influenced by the choices we make as animal caregivers. In this module we will explore techniques and approaches to improving animal confidence and disease detection that lead to lower morbidity, lower case fatality rates and fewer worker injuries.

    Module Three: December 5-6, 2019
    Using Systems-Based Management to Improve Health Outcomes

    Many other industries have adopted systematic systems to design, implement and measure management plans for their businesses. In this module we will explore how the theory of constraints and LEAN management tools can be applied to food production systems including effective SOP development and routine system assessment tools.

    Module Four: February 6-7, 2020
    Rethinking Data: Closing the Gap Between Analysis and Action

    You’ve probably been asked to be more “data driven.” But where do you start? Having more data doesn’t necessarily make you a better decision-maker. In fact, excess data may be slowing you down. You don’t need more data; you need the right data.

    Data-driven organizations focus on numbers. Decision-driven organizations are able to quickly transform data into actions that drive results. This workshop provides an overview of how to close the gap between analysis and action.

    Module Five: April 2-3, 2020
    Using Leadership to Improve Health Outcomes

    To be effective as veterinarians, we must get work done through others. In this module we will explore our own leadership style and those of others to learn how we can most effectively create impact in our own businesses and those of our customers.

    Module Six: June 4-5, 2020
    Disease Prevention and Effective Therapeutics

    In order to maximize disease treatments and design effective treatment programs, you need to fully understand and improve the host’s response to disease challenges. In this module we will explore developing effective therapeutic plans, building evidenced based treatment SOP’s, how the host resistance mechanisms function, and the principles of how to apply vaccines and other tools in the most effective manner.

    Module Seven: August 6-7, 2020
    PRRS Virus Management and Implications

    PRRS reigns as the most elusive, complex, and economically devastating disease concern for North American pork producers today. Find out what the latest research findings say about strategies for control so you can navigate the variables and tailor recommendations for your clients.

    Module Eight: October 8-9, 2020
    Using Critical Thinking to Improve Decision-Making

    Use real-world examples—complete with constraints and incomplete information found in real-world scenarios—and imagine what you would do in each situation. Defend your position with logical arguments, build on your peer’s successes, and analyze the issues with sound judgement to make a difficult decision with each case study presented.

    Module Nine: December 3-4, 2020
    Enhancing Strategic/Business Acumen and Capstone Group Presentations

    All participants will design and carry out a group project addressing an issue of importance to the swine industry utilizing the concepts covered throughout the program.  Time will be allocated for each group to present their publishable-quality paper and lead a discussion on their findings and recommendations.

    Following the presentations we will focus on understanding the evolving role of veterinarians in the swine industry in order to create a path of strategic intent.

    Module Ten: February 4-5, 2021
    Understanding our Customers and the Food Supply Chain of the 21st Century

    We live in an ever changing world where our customers have different attribute based demands for the food that they buy than they did in the past. In this module we will explore the societal expectations for food producers, how animal Ag has improved environmental stability and food security, how our customers are measuring our performance and how the consumer views food producers.

  • 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: August 1-2, 2019
    Module 2: October 3-4, 2019
    Module 3: December 5-6, 2019
    Module 4: February 6-7, 2020
    Module 5: April 2-3, 2020
    Module 6: June 4-5, 2020
    Module 7: August 6-7, 2020
    Module 8: October 8-9, 2020
    Module 9: December 3-4, 2020
    Module 10: February 4-5, 2021

  • Tuition for registrations placed by May 5, 2019, is $9,000; a deposit of $500 is required at the time of registration. Tuition for registrations placed after May 5, 2019, is $10,000; a deposit of $1,500 is due at the time of registration. The balance is payable in five installments of $1,700 each on:

    • Thursday, August 1, 2019
    • Thursday, December 5, 2019
    • Thursday, April 2, 2020
    • Thursday, August 6, 2020
    • Thursday, December 3, 2020

    Enrollment is limited to 40 participants.

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

     Register online


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

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

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