The David Black Award is the highest award within the pig industry which recognises an individual’s valuable and sustained contribution to the industry and has been presented annually since 1960. It is named after the East Anglian pig producer who introduced it.
The judges’ citation said: “Susanna has devoted her time, energy and considerable talent in service to pig producers and she contributes greatly to keeping this country safe from the threats of existing and emerging disease.”
Dr Williamson leads APHA’s Pig Expert Group and is President of the Pig Veterinary Society. She received the award from Lord Gardiner, Defra Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, at an industry breakfast in the House of Lords.
She said: “I didn’t even know I had been nominated and that would have surprised me, let alone finding out that I would receive the award.
“I appreciate the honour but really owe this award to my colleagues. I can only fulfil my role in pig disease surveillance and investigation through working as part of a team, within APHA and also with colleagues in the pig industry and pig veterinary community.”
“Successful disease surveillance is about working in partnership, and also requires access to a wide range of veterinary, scientific and technical expertise. This is especially important as the industry strives to address disease issues and minimise antimicrobial use.”
Dr Williamson has been based in APHA Bury St Edmunds since 2000, arriving shortly before an outbreak of classical swine fever which led to nearly 75,000 pigs being slaughtered to eradicate the disease. She has since been involved in the diagnosis and investigation of many disease outbreaks in pigs, along with projects on bacterial and viral diseases of pigs. She leads scanning surveillance activities at APHA in relation to pigs, to detect, investigate and tackle new and emerging disease threats and better understand existing porcine diseases.