Veterinary Public Health Program

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Leading to the Master of Public Health degree

Avian Influenza testing in California, USA

Avian Influenza testing in California, USA

The veterinary sciences are relevant to more than just animal health. They also play an important role in maintenance of the health of human populations. There are over 250 infectious diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans, which are called Zoonoses. Examples include West Nile Virus and Rabies; as well as many food or waterborne diseases, caused by pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. These zoonotic and foodborne diseases are an important public health concern because they cause significant sickness and death in the US and worldwide. For example, it has been estimated that contaminated food causes between 6.5 and 33 million illnesses and 9,000 human deaths annually in the United States. Even in Ohio, over 48% of human diseases reportable to the Ohio Department of Health are considered zoonoses and dangerous to the public. Furthermore, other zoonotic infectious diseases such as respiratory coronavirus (SARS) and avian influenza (bird flu) are continually emerging and thus present new challenges for public health professionals.

Because animals (pets, livestock, and wildlife) are the major source for the pathogens involved in zoonoses and foodborne illnesses, professionals trained in veterinary sciences are often the most qualified individuals to deal with these public health issues.

ACVPM Plaque recognizing the certification of the MPH-VPH program at OSU

ACVPM Plaque recognizing the certification of
the MPH-VPH program at OSU

However, in order to understand the interaction of human and animal health, public health practitioners must have knowledge and training on the epidemiology and ecology of zoonotic and foodborne diseases. Therefore, The Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Public Health have come together to create the Veterinary Public Health specialization (VPH) as an option within the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program in order to address that need.

In 2010, the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM) certified Ohio State’s educational programs in Veterinary Preventative Medicine and Veterinary Public Health. This prestigious accreditation provides the Veterinary Public Health specialization at Ohio State with a unique recognition of its comprehensive curriculum in this important field of study. Professionals from the OSU MPH-VPH program will have the ability to develop and execute public and private health programs designed to prevent and control zoonotic diseases in both animal and human populations.

Completion of the MPH degree with a specialization in Veterinary Public Health will also help pre-professional students who plan to pursue a DVM or other professional degree by providing a broader background and expanded knowledge base in the health sciences prior to entering the DVM, MD or nursing programs.

Master of Public Health at Ohio State

First graduates of the MPH-VPH program

First graduates of the MPH-VPH program

The MPH degree is the standard professional, practical public health degree recognized throughout the world. MPH-VPH degree requires that all students take at least one core course in five areas of knowledge that are basic to public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health sciences, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy, in order to gain flexibility and familiarity with these disciplines. Required core courses for the Veterinary Public Health specialization will also include the topics of infectious disease epidemiology, zoonotic diseases, food safety and foodborne diseases, as well as bioterrorism preparedness, environmental health, and related issues. As a practice-oriented degree, the MPH also requires that all students complete a field Practicum designed to gain practical experience in their field of specialization. Students are also required to complete a Culminating Project that produces new knowledge (research project) or provides a solution to a veterinary public health problem (service project).

The MPH degree program at Ohio State requires 4 to 5 semesters (approximately two years) to complete, depending on individual courses, practicum experience, and the research or service project chosen by the student.

The curriculum for the MPH degree consists of a minimum of 45 semester credit hours organized into five curricular domains:

  • Core courses in areas of knowledge basic to public health (15 semester credit hours)
  • Courses required for the Veterinary Public Health specialization (15 semester credit hours)
  • Elective courses related to veterinary public health (10 semester credit hours)
  • Practicum (2 semester credit hours)
  • A culminating experience (3 semester credit hours)

Veterinary Public Health specialization

Survey of Milkborne Pathogens, Gondar region, Ethiopia

Survey of Milkborne Pathogens,
Gondar region, Ethiopia

The Veterinary Public Health specialization within the MPH program (MPH-VPH) at Ohio State provides students with the public health credentials to serve as leaders in zoonosis prevention and control programs in the United States and around the world. The students will gain an understanding of the epidemiology and ecology of zoonotic and foodborne diseases in pet animal, livestock, and human populations. Students also learn about animal population systems, including the roles of companion and food-producing animals in society, food production and distribution systems, food safety and food security, biosecurity programs, and intervention strategies.

Upon completion of the program, our graduates will be well prepared for a rewarding career with a variety of industries, private companies, NGOs, or governmental agencies. The Veterinary Public Health specialization can also be easily tailored for students who intend to enter the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or other professional program at Ohio State or elsewhere. Students in the Veterinary Public Health specialization who are accepted into a DVM, MD, nursing, or other professional program after the first year can still complete their MPH-VPH degree.

Hands-on experience

Vesicular diseases screening in Chiriqui, Panama

Vesicular diseases screening in Chiriqui, Panama

As a veterinary public health student, you will participate in a wide variety of educational activities both on and off campus. Students will have the opportunity to interact directly with recognized experts in the field of veterinary public health and will gain practical experience during an off-campus practicum selected by the student. In addition, you will conduct a final culminating project in conjunction with your advisor, which could be research or service oriented depending on your interests and ultimate goals for your MPH-VPH degree.

Research areas

You can find many exciting research areas by accessing the expertise within the College of Veterinary Medicine. The faculty of the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine have a wide range of research interests and experience in zoonotic and foodborne diseases, and include internationally known food safety microbiologists, epidemiologists, virologists, and parasitologists. They work with companion animals, dairy and beef cattle, swine, sheep, and poultry, as well as zoo animal, wildlife, and exotic animal populations.

Application process

MPH-VPH Cohort of 2009

MPH-VPH Cohort of 2009

Detailed information about how to apply for the Master of Public Health program with a specialization in Veterinary Public Health can be found on the College of Public Health's website. You should be prepared to send us your academic records, a short resume with any work or practice experience, and a letter demonstrating your interest and commitment to the program.

!! Please note: The application deadline for the OSU Master of Public Health program of February 1st indicated on the College of Public Health website does not apply to the Veterinary Public Health Specialization as our deadline is until May 31st.


More information

Additional information about the Veterinary Public Health specialization within the Master of Public Health program can be obtained from the web links above, or please e-mail mph-vph [at] osu [dot] edu or contact the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Advisors