Animal Health / Award / Disease Control / Epidemiology / ILRI / RVF

British Veterinary Association bestows award on former ILRI veterinary scientist Brian Perry

Brian Perry at home in Naivaisha, Kenya

Brian Perry working in his study where he and his wife, Helena, now live, in the Rift Valley of Kenya (photo credit: Brian Perry).

On 27 Sep 2012, Professor Brian Perry won the Trevor Blackburn Award of the British Veterinary Association ‘in recognition of his outstanding contributions to animal health and welfare in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the impact of his work in fostering the integration of veterinary epidemiology with agricultural economics, and his personal commitment to poverty alleviation by tackling diseases of global significance.’

The announcement came during an awards ceremony at the British Veterinary Association’s annual congress, in Liverpool.

Since graduating from the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 1969, Perry ‘has had a strong interest in, and commitment to, tropical veterinary medicine. His career has spanned a wide range of activities from rinderpest control in Ethiopia to global animal health.

‘Perry’s professional interests lie in the role of livestock in development, and how disease control strategies can be designed to achieve maximum impact in terms of growth, development and poverty reduction.’

For 20 years Brian Perry led multi-disciplinary programs at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi.

In 2002, Perry was appointed OBE for services to veterinary science in developing countries, and in 2004 became the first veterinarian to receive the International Outstanding Scientist Award from CGIAR.

On learning that he was to receive the Trevor Blackburn Award, Perry said:

I am indeed deeply honoured and privileged to be awarded the Trevor Blackburn Award for 2012 by the BVA Overseas Group . . . . Very many thanks indeed for this recognition of British veterinary contributions to sustainable and inclusive economic development in emergent nations of the world.

Brian Perry graduated as a vet from the University of Edinburgh in 1969. After a spell in general practice, he accepted a posting with what is now the Department for International Development (DFID) in Ethiopia, working on rinderpest control and disease surveys. He returned to Edinburgh for an MSc in Tropical Veterinary Science, before establishing a sheep disease research laboratory in Bogotá, Colombia, also with DFID, investigating constraints to smallholder sheep enterprises in the Andean region. From there he moved to Zambia as epidemiologist with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), determining disease control priorities for the smallholder livestock sector. Perry then moved to the USA where as an associate professor at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine he established the epidemiology teaching and research programs. While in Virginia he completed a doctorate at Edinburgh University under the mentorship of the late Gordon Scott.

In 1987, Perry took up the position of epidemiologist leading the epidemiology and impact assessment group at what is now the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi, Kenya. For 20 years Brian led multi-disciplinary research programs at ILRI on the infection dynamics of tick-borne diseases in Africa, on rabies control, and on the impacts of foot-and-mouth disease in Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia. He fostered innovative approaches to the integration of veterinary epidemiology and agricultural economics as a tool for impact assessment and priority setting, and became progressively involved in dissecting the links between animal disease control and processes of economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries.

After leaving ILRI as a staff member in 2007 (Perry continues to consult for ILRI), and while continuing to work on improved approaches to poverty reduction through livestock, Perry has specialized in independent evaluations of publicly funded investments in agriculture and disease control in different regions of the developing world, particularly work implemented by agencies of the United Nations. He led evaluations of global avian influenza programs in 2009, of agricultural development and emergency response programs in Ethiopia in 2010, and of a regional program for the control of foot-and-mouth disease in the Andean region of South America in 2012.

Perry has published over 150 scientific articles in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters. An honorary professor at the universities of Edinburgh and Pretoria and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford, he chairs the Scientific Advisory Board of ‘Afrique One’, a Wellcome Trust-funded consortium of 11 African universities and research institutes adopting a ‘one-health’ approach and bringing together partners in Anglophone and Francophone Africa.

This article is from a press release by the British Veterinary Association: Professor Brian Perry receives the Trevor Blackburn Award, 27 Sep 2012.

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