Public Health Command Europe partners with American and British Universities to conduct training

By Michelle ThumSeptember 8, 2023

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CRIANLARICH, Scotland – Veterinarians from Public Health Command Europe learned about livestock farming and the veterinary sector in the U.K. during a three-day training course at Scotland’s Rural College.

Around 20 veterinarians and animal care specialists from Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, visited SRUC’s Hill and Mountain Research Centre and Crichton Royal Farm and the Barony campus to gain large animal handling experience.

The three-day course, which was delivered by SRUC as part of the veterinary teams’ continuing professional development, included the theory of livestock handling and flight zones as well as a practical introduction to handling systems and working safely with livestock.

“Working collaboratively with universities, such as SRUC and the University of Wyoming, allows our soldiers the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts outside of the normal scope of Army operations,” said Major Craig Calkins, U.S. Army veterinarian and Public Health Activity - Italy Deputy Commander. “The combination of expertise from Europe and the United States ensures real world training at a volume that sustains muscle memory of critical tasks.”

It also covered examination of livestock, safe medicine usage, routine hoof care, as well as sessions on entomology, microscopy, and parasitology.

The final day focused on calf rearing and handling, grassland management, and milking.

The University of Wyoming facilitated the initial connection through one of its former students – and a U.S. Army officer, who was interested in organizing CPD training in Europe following a similar week at Wyoming.

“This CPD course offered U.S. Army veterinary and technical staff an introduction to UK livestock farming and veterinary sector in a Scottish context with related overlap to European production systems,” said Mary Thomson, Vice Principal of Skills and Lifelong Learning at SRUC. “Course attendees had an opportunity to refresh their practical livestock skills and receive an update on farming systems including undertaking training at SRUC's Hill and Mountain Research Centre and dairy facilities.”

The training was well received from veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

The diverse program included opportunities to update knowledge and understanding in livestock health and production systems, use new technology and refresh laboratory and surveillance skills that the Soldiers are typically not exposed to.

According to Calkins, the partnership with academia provides a primer opportunity for soldiers to address the most relevant challenges currently impacting the industry.

Public Health Activity- Italy provides Food Safety and Defense, Animal Medicine, and Zoonotic Disease Surveillance from seven branches across the United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, and Italy. Supporting 26 countries in Europe and Africa, PHA-I remains one of the most geographically dispersed veterinary units in the Army.

PHA-I's mission is to provide public health and veterinary medical services in support of EUCOM, AFRICOM, and CENTCOM to enable readiness, conserve the fighting strength, and protect the health of those they are privileged to serve.