Skip to main content

What is VPH?

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.

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.