- Dr. Vaillancourt obtained his doctorate in veterinary medicine (1983) and his master of science in clinical sciences (1986) from the University of Montreal and his doctorate in population medicine from the University of Minnesota (1990).
- Before returning to the University of Montreal, he held professorships at the University of Guelph in Ontario (1990-1996), at North Carolina State University in Raleigh (1996-2004) and was a visiting professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City (2002-2003) and at the National School of Veterinary Medicine in Toulouse, France (2017-2018).
- In addition to his position at the University of Montreal, Dr. Vaillancourt acted as the first coordinator of the Quebec team for the control of infectious poultry diseases for the design and implementation of emergency measures. He was chief auditor of avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease simulations in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and France.
- He was director of the research group on the epidemiology of zoonoses and public health (2009-2017) and associate director of the Public Health Research Institute of the University of Montreal (2013-2017).
- He has also been a member of Canadian advisory committees for the control of infectious diseases in poultry, swine and beef cattle. At the request of the World Organization for Animal Health, he also participated in the creation of the poultry medicine section of the World Veterinary Education in Production Animal Health originally based at the University of Luxembourg, now at the University of Montreal.
- He has served as an expert in animal health and welfare for the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (France), in particular on the emergency committees for avian flu and African swine fever.
In swine production, each year at least one significant emerging or reemerging infectious disease is identified. Several factors may be associated with the rise of infectious diseases. Among them, are an increase in regional farm density, in people, animal, and material movements, as well as climate change having an impact on wild life, from insect vectors to wild boars. So, the risk factors are largely known. On-farm biosecurity measures, from traffic control, sanitation, anteroom management and air filtration have also been well described and shown to be effective. Except that, in practice, infectious diseases are still prevalent and causing significant economic damages.
If biosecurity remains essential, it appears that its application is largely deficient. In this context, going beyond biosecurity will not be achieved through the creation of new measures. It is the development and implementation of strategies that lead to the proper and systematic execution of established measures that will make a difference. At the center of these strategies is the recognition that all actions have a human component. We need to find ways to motivate people to correctly apply biosecurity measures. We can learn from social and behavioral sciences to achieve this. Key elements include continuous monitoring and having feedback mechanisms targeting farm personnel. Sensors can be used to harvest data and to trigger real-time reactions. Adapting training based on personality profile and emotional intelligence of farm personnel should also be developed and validated. This presentation will showcase how this can be achieved.