Pigs & Public Health

Pigs & Public Health

MARCH 2023

On February 26, 2023, UMASH Director, Dr. Jeff Bender, discussed public health aspects related to African swine fever and global animal health with National Hog Farmer and Feedstuffs in their African Swine Fever iCOMOS webinar series. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Bruce Alexander, UMASH’s founding and former director. For more information on the webinar, read the description below or watch it on demand.

Watch the Webinar on Demand

Public health aspects related to African swine fever and global animal health

Multiple dimensions of disease epidemics on our ability to achieve One Health – a case study for African swine fever

The purpose of this iCOMOS series of three webinars is to explore the unknowns and less obvious negative consequences of global disease pandemics using African Swine Fever as a model and begin a conversation about the need for preparedness and development of contingency plans when or if it occurs in the U.S. and elsewhere.

To support One Health approaches to complex and emerging issues, the COMOS work group is organizing a series of Webinars to support detection, preparedness, and response to the global spread of African Swine Fever (ASF). ASF is an important animal pathogen with broad implications on global trade.  This session will focus on the public health implications including appropriate disposal of animals, health of responders to an ASF event, and mental health concerns for owners, workers, and responders. This session is meant for producers, owners, veterinarians, and government officials involved in the response effort.

Attend this webinar and:

  • Review the mental health impacts of responding to emergency animal disease events
  • Consider environmental impacts and appropriate disposal methods during a response event
  • Be aware of the occupational risks to emergency event responders


Dr. John D. Gibbins, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Captain – United States Public Health Service

Dr. John Gibbins currently serves as Senior Veterinary Advisor to the Office of Agriculture Safety and Health at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Agriculture Safety and Health (OASH) provides national leadership to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses among the nation’s agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers.

Dr. Gibbins joined NIOSH and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 2006 as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Fellow. Prior to joining NIOSH, he served for 9 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Public Health Officer and 6 years in mixed animal clinical veterinary practice. Dr. Gibbins specific areas of interest include zoonotic disease prevention and occupational hazards in veterinary medicine, agriculture, and industries where people work with animals. CAPT Gibbins served as the 11th Chief Veterinarian for the United States Public Health Service from 2016–2020. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and an honorary Diplomate of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society. He completed his Master of Public Health Degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Ohio State University.

Gary Flory

Owner/Director of Operations – G.A. Flory Consulting

Gary founded G.A. Flory Consulting, a global consulting firm, to help clients with a range of services including animal disease and natural disaster response, agricultural emergency planning, research, and emergency response training. Gary has conducted training, given presentations, and deployed on animal disease outbreaks to a number of countries including Timor Leste, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Tunisia, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Azerbaijan. He supports many organizations including the United States Department of Agriculture, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). Gary currently serves on FAO’s African Swine Fever Global Pool of Expertise. In addition to numerous other articles, reports, and guidance documents, Gary was an author of FAO’s Carcass management guidelines – Effective disposal of animal carcasses and contaminated materials on small to medium-sized farms and USDA’s Catastrophic Livestock Composting Protocol and Mortality Composting Protocol for Avian Influenza Infected Flocks. He was awarded the Agency Star award by the Governor of Virginia for his community service and leadership.

Jeff Bender

Professor and Director University of Minnesota

Dr. Bender is an internationally recognized expert on diseases at the human-animal interface. He isa Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, Adjunct Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota and the Director of the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health funded Upper Midwest Agriculture Safety and Health Center (UMASH). The focus of his career has been on emerging issues that affect both animal and human health. He has directed and collaborated on a broad range of research and surveillance projects pertaining to infectious and specifically zoonotic diseases. Recently, he served as the Director of the USAID funded EPT2 One Health Workforce Project at the University of Minnesota. This project focused on capacity building to detect, respond and prepare for emerging pandemic threats. His research is multidisciplinary, requiring collaborations from government officials, industry, and community-based organizations. Since 2011, he has served in a leadership role (Co-Director or Director) at UMASH. The work at UMASH is centered on One Health approaches to support producers and farm families on timely issues such as injury and illness prevention, mental health resilience, and aging in place.

Bruce Alexander - Moderator

Professor Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Dr. Alexander is Mayo Professor in Public Health and Head of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. He is an epidemiologist with research interests in occupational and environmental determinants of disease and injury, One Health, the health of agricultural populations, and global health.

The webinar series is sponsored by: