AusVet's training capabilities

AusVet staff are highly experienced trainers and regularly conduct training workshops in epidemiology and related fields. Our staff combine technical expertise and wide-ranging practical experience to offer you training that covers technical fundamentals and theory for any topic and that includes hands-on practical training to reinforce acquisition of knowledge and skills in our participants. We have run training courses in many countries around the world, ranging from introductory level courses to advanced and highly technical training.

AusVet has a philosophy of interactive and active participation in training, so that courses have an emphasis on group discussion and group/individual exercises and activities.

Our facilitators are friendly, capable and flexible. We have received awards for teaching and research in multiple countries, we are actively involved in training of post-graduate students and are regular authors or co-authors of refereed articles, conference papers and textbook chapters.

Delivering solutions has always been important for AusVet, and for many courses participants are encouraged to bring current work or data sets so that they can begin using their newly acquired knowledge during the course on problems that matter to them. This approach has led to rapid acquisition of skills and even on to further studies for some.

AusVet has programming and web-development expertise and has developed software tools and calculators that can be freely accessed through the web to enhance training courses, as well as web-delivered training material to ensure participants can access relevant material after the completion of a course. We have also developed a feature-rich software tool for course evaluation that can provide simple end-of-course feedback for clients or can be used to provide more detailed before and after testing to document the impact of particular training courses in improving participant knowledge and skills.

Workshop content is flexible and can be tailored to specific needs or delivered as "standard" packages in 2-5 day workshops (or occasionally longer), depending on subject matter and content. A number of workshops have already been developed and delivered and some of these are listed below. Additional subjects can be developed and workshops offered as required to meet client needs.

Specific courses

Specific courses currently available include:

Introduction to epidemiology

  • Overview of epidemiology
  • Patterns of disease and why they occur
  • Cause of disease and bias
  • Diagnosing and screening for disease
  • Measuring and comparing disease frequencies
  • Sampling from populations
  • Data collection and recording
  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Investigating disease problems
  • Planning epidemiological studies
  • Animal Health Programs

Introduction to surveillance systems

  • Reasons for surveillance
  • Definitions and classification of surveillance systems
  • Planning a surveillance system
  • Surveillance and tests
  • Measuring disease
  • Demonstrating freedom
  • Evaluating surveillance systems

Aquatic animal disease surveillance

  • Reasons for surveillance
  • Surveillance options
  • Sampling aquatic animals
    • Cages and ponds
    • Rivers
    • Static species
    • Oceanic species
  • Design and analysis of aquatic animal surveillance

Application of diagnostic tests

  • Understanding test characteristics
  • Aggregate (herd) test performance
  • Approaches to test evaluation
  • Prevalence estimation with imperfect tests
  • Pooled testing
  • Demonstrating freedom or detecting disease
  • Application of tests in other situations

Introduction to the R language and environment

  • Getting started
  • R packages
  • R expressions and syntax
  • R objects
  • Working with Vectors, Arrays and data frames
  • Inputting data and outputting results
  • Basic functions and operations in R
  • Exploratory data analysis using R
  • Basic statistics and data analysis in R
  • Conditionals and loops in R
  • Writing R functions and scripts
  • R graphics
  • Introduction to advanced R capabilities

Introduction to risk analysis

  • Risk analysis framework and terminology
  • Hazard identification, release and exposure assessments, consequence assessment
  • Risk estimation, consideration of level of acceptable risk
  • Risk evaluation, risk communication
  • Risk Management
  • Qualitative vs quantitative methods
  • Pathway diagrams
  • Introduction to quantitative risk analysis
  • Introduction to stochastic simulation

Field survey techniques

  • Introduction to animal health information and surveillance
  • Surveys and inference
  • Measures of disease
  • Sampling
  • Sampling in practice
  • Sampling sithout a sampling frame
  • Practical random geographic coordinates sampling
  • Introduction to survey planning
  • Prevalence surveys
  • Incidence rate surveys
  • Surveys to demonstrate freedom from disease
  • Data management
  • Analysing survey data
  • Presenting your results

Introduction to GIS

  • Installation and configuration of QGIS
  • Drawing maps
  • Introduction to GIS theory
  • Mapping with alternate data sources
  • GPS field data collection
  • Working with attributes - getting information from maps
  • Spatial operations (queries and joins)
  • Map projections, ellipsoids, map datum, and map units
  • Thematic maps

Analysis of complex surveillance systems for demonstration of disease freedom using stochastic scenario tree modelling

  • Purpose of disease surveillance
  • Concepts of freedom from disease / infection
  • Requirements for the analysis of non-random surveillance systems
  • Introduction to scenario tree modelling
  • Capturing risk and targeting in a scenario-tree
  • Expert opinion and other sources for parameter estimates
  • Stochastic modelling
  • Combination of components
  • Calculation of surveillance component sensitivity
  • Calculation of probability of freedom
  • Incorporation of historical surveillance data
  • Software for scenario-tree modelling

Clinical trials

  • Design of veterinary clinical trials
  • Introduction to statistical principles for clinical trials
  • Power analysis and sample size
  • Critical appraisal of the literature
  • Examples of trial design

Spreadsheet training

  • Introduction to Excel
  • Advanced Excel tips and tricks


  • Introduction to statistical principles
  • Choice of statistical tests
  • Power analysis and sample size determination
  • Simple statistics: contingency tables, t-tests, ANOVA, regression
  • Introduction to linear models
  • Introduction to logistic regression
  • Introduction to poisson regression
  • Introduction to survival analysis
  • Introduction to STATA
  • Advanced statistics: multilevel modelling

Database training

  • Introduction to Access and SQL
  • Advanced Access and SQL
  • PostgreSQL / MySQL for national level databases
  • Spatial databases for Health Information
  • Web based database interfaces for national solutions
  • Using open source database solutions for performance

Feedback and testimonials

Testimonials from recent courses involving AusVet staff provide convincing feedback on the success of our training. All testimonials were provided by course participants in normal feedback assessment and are reproduced here verbatim.

SPS Evaluation workshop (training in surveillance, risk analysis and zoning)

6-10 October, 2008, Luang Prabang, LAOS

Evaluation question: "My comments about the presenter are:"

  • The two presenters were very good in teaching. They can explain the questions whenever I ask. We can understand very difficult things easily after their teaching.
  • They provided us with so many topics that we did not know about previously. They help me clearly understand topics that previously confused me.
  • The presenters have understanding on regional needs and tried build concepts step by step rather than to immediately introduce the theory.
  • All presenter were well prepared and have great experience
  • The pesenters are experts, they are knowlegeable in all the topics, I only wish that more difficult topics such as Risk Analysis was alloted more time.
  • They were very accommodating and very helpful. They are experts in their field of work so they were well-versed about the topics.
  • I think what I learned from Angus and Jenny are usefull for my daily work in my country, improved my skill and the work that I am responsible for.

Australian Veterinarians in Industry (AVI) shortcourse on Statistics in Animal Health

23-24 March 2009, Sydney

Evaluation question: "My comments about the course:"

  • Nigel has an excellent presentation style and makes statistics easy to understand
  • Excellent course notes and online access to information
  • Excellent examples were used to illustrate key statistical fundamentals
  • This workshop was extremely well structured and run and follow-up workshops run in a similar fashion on pertinent issues would be greatly appreciated

Application of diagnostic tests

22-24 July 2008, Geelong

Evaluation question: "What was the best thing about the workshop?"

  • The presenters were great at explaining things and making sure that we understand & giving us examples to do. Getting us to participate.
  • The obvious depth of knowledge of the presenters. Plainly work well together, providing additional information to support each other's sessions.
  • Good team of presenters
  • Angus and Evan work very well as a team and their teaching styles complement each other.
  • Experienced presenters with field experience
  • 2 speakers made it not boring and speakers are well prepared and very energetic
  • Comprehensive, knowledgable presenters, relevant to vets
  • Broad overview of diagnostic tests given and appropriate uses/interpretation of tests. Good introduction to software tools. Presenters very knowledgable and provided clear explanations and promoted good discussion.

Risk-based surveillance training and analysis workshop

9-20 March 2009, Nairobi, Kenya

Evaluation question: "My comments about the presenter are:"

  • Very articulate and clear in his presentation, practical examples well thought out and easy to follow.I think he has a lot of experience and I can learn a lot from him.
  • The presenter has very good subject matter knowledge and very good skills of communicetion
  • Intelligent, suave and gifted academician.
  • Very good, well prepared, profound knowledge of epidemiology
  • High capacity to involve all of us to participate every step of the course, very clear to explain the subjects and the clear definition of the terminology to make easy our comprehension of the subject
  • He has a good background on epidemiology and looks at things in a practical way. He has vast experience in the profession. Topics which seem difficult were simplified for everybody's understanding.
  • It is obvious that the presenter has a tremendous experience in this feild so he shared a lot with us. I would like to thank him very much for the effort he made.
  • He preapred the material in well organized and understandable manner. I appreciate his effort to make the training very easy and the way he transfered the knowledge. Therefore I was able to express myself confidently. The training was very helpful to me for the future in doing the risk based surviellance in my country.
  • Knowledgeable in the topic and very skilled in passing the knowledge to his trainees
  • Extra brilliant epidemiologist and adult trainer. He made impossible things appear simple. The software he has designed will enable me to take surveillance to a new level.
  • He articulates the hard stuff to make it appear simple and easy to grasp. He is experienced, intelligent and in touch with reality. This is demonstrated by the way he blends the real life scenarios with the the workshop contents. He is conversant with teaching adult learners in terms of the right speed of the deleivery of the contents, making sure not to loose them on the way. When the going gets tough like is the case with the difficult formulae, he knows how best to go about it, "Don't worry, the computer can do it for you " which gives you hope. I feel previledged to have been taught by him and I look forward to another training by him - may be a refresher or another one in another emerging area.
  • Epidemiology is a creative science that require a lot of reasoning and imagination, hard work and devotion and basic knowledge of different branches of science, especially biometrics for which the presenter is highly talented. For instance I can say that if the course was provided by local colleagues it would be very difficult to understand because of the lack of good approch and simplicity.