October 1, 2019


Aviagen to sponsor Master of Avian Medicine student at University of Georgia


Aviagen has partnered with poultry diagnostics company BioChek to provide a scholarship to a selected veterinarian who will seek a Master of Avian Medicine (MAM) degree at the Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC) of the University of Georgia's (UGA's) College of Veterinary Medicine.

This year marks the first in a yearly MAM student sponsorship for Aviagen and BioChek, who share a common vision to promote growth and learning for the benefit of the global poultry industry.

The first scholarship recipient will be selected in December 2019.  Applicants to the program must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or equivalent degree, competitive Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and English language proficiency. From the completed MAM applications, the clinicians at PDRC will select from a pool of the top veterinary students in the world. The student will then begin the 18-month MAM programme in May 2020.

The programme has produced scores of poultry veterinarians in prominent positions in both the United States and global poultry industries, Aviagen said. The university is in the heart of the poultry industry, as Georgia boasts the highest chicken production in the US. This connection to the Georgia poultry industry offers a unique teaching case load that allows the programme to be highly clinically focused. Clinicians and MAM students visit poultry companies on a weekly basis. Additionally, PDRC has an active poultry diagnostic lab, where MAM students participate in diagnostic case submissions to provide additional case load for teaching.

For the past few years, the MAM programme has produced three graduates per year. Two students are supported by the College of Veterinary Medicine, while the third student is supported by donations.

"The MAM programme remains strong. We have an excellent reputation for training clinically minded veterinarians and preparing them to support the global poultry industry," commented Karen Burns Grogan, DVM, MAM, Diplomate ACPV, who is a clinical associate professor of avian medicine and graduate coordinator of the PDRC.

"We are excited to have secured funding for a MAM student starting in 2020 through our partnership with Aviagen and BioChek. These two companies are global leaders in the poultry industry, and we are honored they have chosen to support the MAM programme in this generous manner."

Dr. Grogan added that the support from Aviagen and BioChek will allow PDRC to continue at its current capacity. She also shared that graduates are in high demand among employers globally.

The University of Georgia is renowned for its MAM programme, which is one of the leading avian advanced degree programmes in the world. In fact, MAM graduates hold the majority of poultry veterinary positions in the US, and many also work internationally.

Three Aviagen leaders are members of the MAM programme's family of alumni: Dr. Nick Dorko, global head of Veterinary Technical Services; Dr. Eric Jensen, vice president of Veterinary Services; and Dr. Bill Stanley, director of Global Health Monitoring.

Concerning the MAM programme, Dr. Stanley said: "Aviagen's mission is to help our customers feed the world's growing population with a healthy and sustainable source of protein. To fulfil this mission, we have a responsibility to contribute to the education of future poultry professionals, ensuring the industry has the necessary talent available to continue to improve productivity for our customers and the health and welfare of our birds. The MAM programme is unique in the world in that it provides in-depth, high-quality advanced education in the field of avian medicine."

Barend van Dam, CEO of BioChek, added: "We're proud to team up with Aviagen to support a MAM student who will undoubtedly make remarkable contributions to our industry. Both Aviagen and BioChek care about poultry health and welfare. We need passionate, highly skilled young poultry professionals who share our vision to effect continuous improvements for the good of the poultry industry and the people in communities throughout the world."

- Aviagen