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Gillian Power

MSc Student, Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College 

Research focus: Understanding biosecurity practices on Ontario dairy farms  

Gillian Power
Photo by Hanne Goetz

In Canada, it’s not well understood how dairy producers implement biosecurity and how discussions with veterinarians influence their practices. 

Gillian Power, a Master’s student in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), aims to gain a better understanding of biosecurity through interviews with dairy producers and veterinarians in Ontario. She is interested in understanding how producers implement biosecurity measures and how they discuss them with veterinarians. In interviews with veterinarians, her goal is to understand how they share their biosecurity knowledge and discuss this topic during interactions with clients.

“Behaviour change is really influenced by how much vets and producers talk about things,” says Power. “It will be very interesting to see how veterinarians use their expertise and knowledge of preventive measures to advise producers.”

Prior to starting her Master’s degree, Gillian completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Biology at the University of Guelph where she discovered a passion for dairy research. Growing up in Toronto, her agricultural exposure was limited to visits to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, but she knew that studying at Guelph would fulfill her passion of working with animals. During an undergraduate research course, she assisted on a calf research project in the Department of Population Medicine and was immediately drawn to the field. This experience connected her with Dr. Charlotte Winder, who is now her advisor. The remaining members of her advisory committee includes Drs. David Renaud, Kelsey Spence, Cynthia Miltenburg, and Briana Hagen.

Gillian is excited to see the differences in communications and compare these with implementation of biosecurity. She shared that seeing both producers’ and veterinarians’ perceptions and practices will help to involve all stakeholders in improved biosecurity. One of Gillian’s goals is to use findings from this project to design articles, websites, and programs that help veterinarians and producers improve biosecurity practices. She expects that there may be a lack of understanding of how critical these measures are, so she is keen to share this work with stakeholders beyond researchers and academia.

Gillian isn’t quite sure what will be next for her. She’s enjoying epidemiology and learning about the dairy industry but is open to applying these skills in other industries as well, such as working with small ruminants or wildlife species.

Written by Hanne Goetz

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