Iowa State Alums Honored as Top Contributors to Swine Medicine

Tracy Ann Raef, College of Veterinary Medicine, (515) 294-4602,

October 14, 2011

No matter what field of medicine a veterinarian chooses, those early career years are tough. Despite the challenges, many young veterinarians make significant contributions in their chosen fields. Pfizer Animal Health recognized the efforts of 10 high-achievers with a new, innovative program, 10 Under 40. Five of the 10 award winners are graduates of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The 10 under 40 program recognizes the success and dedication of young swine veterinarians, and we are privileged to work with and recognize these leaders who are doing their part to help pave the way; for the future of our industry,” said Dr. Steve Sornsen, senior director, pork technical services at Pfizer Animal Health.

The award was open to U.S. veterinarians who are under 40 years of age, devote a minimum of 60 percent of their time to swine medicine and are members of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. An independent panel of judges selected the 10 recipients from more than 60 nominations. Winners were honored at the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference, Sept. 17-20, in St. Paul, Minn.

Iowa State University alumni who received the awards were:

Dr. Jason Hocker, partner at Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic and managing partner of AMVC Production in Audubon, Iowa. He was a lead organizer of the ISU Swine Medicine Center based in Aubudon. “I think it is important for not only veterinary students, but others in the industry to enjoy every day and remember we work in the noble profession of agriculture,” Dr. Hocker said. He hopes his passion for the industry and caring attitude helps motivate others, including his clients and co-workers, to adopt the same attitude, and ultimately results in better animal husbandry and stockmanship. Dr. Hocker received his DVM and MS degrees from Iowa State University.

Dr. Marlin Hoogland, Midwest Lead Finishing Veterinarian at Murphy-Brown Western Operations in Algona, Iowa. He currently serves on the Research and Development Team at Murphy-Brown providing production and technical input, and has implemented research that has made a significant impact on the business. “I enjoy the continued challenges this job brings,” Dr. Hoogland said. “It challenges my creativity, makes me be a forward thinker and come up with ways to improve health strategies and performance while reducing cost.” Dr. Hoogland received his DVM and MS degrees from Iowa State University.

Dr. Darin Madson, assistant professor in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University. At the diagnostic laboratory, he analyzes and investigates different pieces of the diagnostic puzzle to solve disease problems. In addition to his laboratory work, he teaches veterinary students and serves as a mentor to several. “I love being able to tell producers how they can prevent disease by putting different pieces together,” Dr. Madson said. “I show them the evidence and help determine the main factors causing the problem. I enjoy knowing that I’ve done my part by making a diagnosis for a specific veterinarian or producer that hopefully will help them prevent further losses from disease and help them be successful.” Dr. Madson received his DVM from the University of Minnesota and his PhD from Iowa State University.

Dr. Cameron Schmitt, one of the owners and the operator of the Pipestone Veterinary Clinic of Iowa in Independence, Iowa. In the past five years, Dr. Schmitt has established the practice, and built a client base. “I enjoy dealing with challenges,” Dr. Schmitt said. “Pigs are easy, dealing with people and learning to interact with them, and helping them understand disease processes and the impact diseases have on their systems has been the challenge.” In speaking about the industry, Dr. Schmitt said: “We have to figure out how to feed the world and how to do it with the many pressures facing the industry like, antimicrobial usage, welfare issues, financial hurdles. At the end of the day, people need to eat and we have to figure out how to do it as efficiently, and as welfare and environmentally friendly as possible.” Dr. Schmitt received his DVM and MS from Iowa State University.

Dr. Amy Vincent, a veterinary medical officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service in Ames, Iowa. She has worked to make not only swine influenza virus discoveries, but also vaccine discoveries that continue to improve protection from various strains of influenza in the pork industry. “I was initially drawn to influenza research because it was an overlap disease that was important in both humans and in swine, and in other host species as well,” Dr. Vincent said. She believes her biggest research accomplishment and contribution to swine medicine is her work with pandemic H1N1. “We were kind of working under the radar with swine influenza viruses and making some good discoveries and progress, but the H1N1 pandemic in humans really puts a spotlight on the work we had already been doing,” Dr. Vincent said. “We were in the right place at the right time and were able to participate in getting an H1N1 vaccine to market quickly with collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other USDA agencies.” She received her DVM, MS, and PhD degrees from Iowa State University.