Texas A&M Professor Awarded Grant To Study Producer Needs For Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness

Dr. Molly Gonzales, an instructional assistant professor in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVMBS) Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS), has received funding from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to conduct a qualitative study of Iowa livestock producers to determine training needs on foreign animal disease (FAD) preparedness.

sunset over farmland

As modern agriculture in Iowa has grown and concerns surrounding global animal health incidents have increased, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues to work diligently to ensure Iowa veterinarians and producers are informed regarding current state processes to deal with a FAD outbreak.

Gonzales’ resources will be leveraged to assess gaps in Iowa’s preparedness and provide data that can be used moving forward to address those gaps.

To gather the data and critical feedback needed to develop and refine FAD response plans for the state, Gonzales will host species-specific focus groups across Iowa to better understand producers’:

  • Awareness of FAD threats and response plans;
  • Current level of FAD preparedness;
  • Expectations of roles and responsibilities during an outbreak; and
  • Needs to better prepare for an outbreak and how IDALS can address those needs.

Three IDALS experts will offer their expertise in the development of focus group questions and in the hosting of these sessions. Once completed, the aggregate summary of the feedback gained through these sessions will be developed into a framework around which IDALS will develop a plan of action for future FAD training and outreach opportunities targeted at producers and veterinarians across Iowa.

Gonzales, principal investigator, has more than 10 years of experience in curriculum development and instructional design, in addition to extensive experience working with state and federal entities. She will work closely with the IDALS working group and faculty at the Texas A&M Center of Educational Technologies (CET) to design, structure, and host the focus sessions across Iowa.

This study will build on her previous research on foreign animal disease and on emergency preparedness and response at the state, national, and international levels. 

About research at the Center for Educational Technologies: At the forefront of education, the CET works to advance education by developing, implementing, and evaluating innovative educational tools and resources. Research conducted at the CET represented annual expenditures of more than $1 million in fiscal year 2021. The CET continues to serve our state, nation, and world through research, teaching, and entrepreneurial endeavors—all of which are centered on providing engaging and rigorous online learning resources.


For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216

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