Neil DeBuse, DVM
Core Values - And Where they Begin
I have met a lot of people that thought it was great to be a veterinarian. It is no doubt a great career and a challenging one. In fact, it is really the greatest challenge and on-going commitment I could have hoped for. I became a swine veterinarian really through the interaction with a relatively small set of people; along with some divergence in my interests over time and peaks in curiosity and interest.
I grew up on a beef cow-calf operation in Northern Colorado, which is also the heart of the dairy industry in Colorado. My inspiration to attend veterinary school at Colorado State University was some pioneering work done at the time in the area of embryo transfer in cattle. After I arrived in Fort Collins, and really at the beginning of veterinary school, I was drawn to the pork industry from the rapid advances being made in the early 1990’s and I was amazed at the ability for veterinarians at that time to make a difference and to dramatically impact all aspects of farming operation via data, production records and also disease diagnostics and preventative medicine. I don't think I left the beef cattle area for swine production - I think I was drawn to the ability to use technology and training still to assist producers to overcome obstacles. The application of science to solve problems for people in agriculture will continue to be a major theme - and hopefully the core values instilled by working with cows, calves and a few pigs - in that beautiful place in "Front" (as in Front Range) of the Colorado Rocky Mountains will remain constant as the mountains and the sunsets.
People play an important role in our lives. For me, there were none greater than my mother Kathleen DeBuse, the second (of eight) daughters of a well-trained pediatrician in Park Ridge, Illinois and my father Michael DeBuse from Omaha Nebraska - who meet each other in Boulder at the University of Colorado. They instilled in our family a mixture of their midwest values, the climate of Colorado in 1970's to 1990's would bring our family and I to the point we are standing today. I am happy to have 5 siblings, all healthy and happy - hard workers and thoughtful. Mom and Dad together taught us the value of hard work, education and working "smart". I think what I do today is just a reflection of that recipe.
So how did Swine Reproduction and Veterinary Medicine become my passion?
It was a combination of factors and people and places. Having had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. David Morris, Dr.Robert Glock and be exposed to leadership of Dr. Jim Voss at Colorado State University certainly was a good push. Then the opportunity to meet Dr. Mark FitzSimmons and Dr. Allen Leman at Swine Graphics in 1990 and 1991 provided even more motivation. Separately, in 1990 I met a great long term mentor that connected together Swine Graphics, Minnesota and Colorado State University. Dr. Harvey Hilley and I met at a small 250 sow farrow to finish operation near Pierce, CO. I had worked for this operation for about 1 1/2 years when Dr. Hilley and two visitors toured the farm (Dr. Laura Batista and Dr. Eduardo Avalos - also veterinarians). Harvey had connections with Dave and Bob from his time at Texas A&M and in work he and Bob were doing at Newsham Hybrids. He was also well connected to Minnesota and Dr. Al Leman where he was a PhD student and later assistant professor in swine / population medicine.
As a student, I think I was well prepared to enter veterinary medicine. But these key individuals served as both catalysts and magnets to focus my future career. Thanks to these people and the places we met from Pierce, CO to Webster City, IA.
For students soon to enter veterinary school and for those about to graduate, I hope you will be or have been as fortunate as I was to have excellent mentors and teachers along the way.
In conclusion, it takes a desire and a little bit of exposure to create a passion. Dr.Steve Henry, my first "boss" as a DVM said once - it takes the right preparation and the right "supplies" to have a great day. (of course, there is a story behind that too....). In your careers, I hope the right supplies are your training and education and desire to solve the problems presented clinically. An enthusiastic attitude + preparation equals a great career.