People behind SAFOSO: Susanne Küker

June 14, 2021

Who are the people behind SAFOSO? What inspires them and how do they contribute to solving animal health challenges? Susanne Küker shares her story.

How do you contribute to SAFOSO? Describe your role at SAFOSO?

I am working as a junior consultant on different projects in the context of veterinary public health with clients ranging from universities, governments, international organizations, to industry. My work can relate to statistical consultancy, capacity development, epidemiology, social science and research. My areas of  expertise are in all matters related to veterinary public health with a special interest in infectious diseases at the wildlife-livestock interface and One Health.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the evaluation of the swine animal health service in Switzerland and I am also involved in a nationwide outbreak workshop on African swine fever. The evaluation of the Swiss swine animal health service involves, beside other aspects,  the preparation and conduct of interviews. I get to see first hand the needs and wants of a swine health service and learn where the challenges are.

The workshop for the Swiss ASF outbreak simulation exercise is another exciting project. Many different points must be taken into account and included so that it can be carried out as realistic as possible.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in animal health?

From my point of view, the biggest challenge in animal health is related to multifactorial changes especially to animal production on a global scale. The intensified livestock production with the loss of genetic diversity together with the damage to habitats and biodiversity, is forced by changing human nutritional habits towards animal products worldwide. These circumstances are reinforcing climate change and are interconnected, accelerating at an increased frequency of new emerging infectious and potentially zoonotic diseases in the near future with all related problems in animal health, human health and on a socio economic level. How can changes in a globalized, close connected and economic orientated world be made while guaranteeing food security for a growing human population? For me this is the biggest question to answer. Until there are more sustainable approaches to animal production, we will keep facing many health challenges  not only for us but also for future generations.

What inspires you to come to work every day?

Although influencing a change to animal and public health on a larger scale is a huge challenge, I have opportunities for small changes due to my work towards a more sustainable animal production.  Knowing that many small changes are leading to bigger changes.


What skills are critical for success in your role?

You need to be well rounded to be successful in this role, you need to be flexible and capable to work on different topics and switching between them easily. The job its the projects are quite diverse. So you need to have a kind of a “whole package”.

What has been a highlight in your work for SAFOSO?

There have been several highlights to my work at SAFOSO, so it’s hard to just pick one. Working in the team together is fun. The team is working well together, supporting each other and everybody is valued by the other team members. That’s making the work at SAFOSO interesting and fun.

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