Gonzales Awarded Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Grant to Study Needs of Producers Related to Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness

farmland at sunset

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) is funding a research study, led by Dr. Molly Gonzales, instructional assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, to conduct a qualitative study of Iowa livestock producers to determine training needs on foreign animal disease preparedness. 

As modern agriculture in Iowa has changed and grown, and concerns surrounding a 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 foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak. These 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 foreign animal disease response plans for the state of Iowa, Dr. Gonzales will host species-specific focus groups across the state proving opportunities to better understand producer:

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

The feedback and data gathered from these sessions will be analyzed and aggregated into a summary that will be used by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to develop future education and outreach opportunities targeted at producers and veterinarians across the state.

Dr. Molly Gonzales, principal investigator, has over 10 years of experience in curriculum development, and instructional design and extensive experience in working with state and federal entities. She will work closely with the IDALS working group and faculty at the Center of Educational Technologies to design, structure, and host the focus sessions across the state of Iowa. This study will build on her previous research in the area of foreign animal disease and emergency preparedness and response at the state, national, and international levels. 

A working group of three experts within the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship 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 education and outreach moving forward.

About Research at the Center for Educational Technologies
At the forefront of education, the CET’s mission is 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 various research, teaching, and entrepreneurial endeavors – all of which are centered on providing engaging and rigorous online learning resources.