The Veterinary Public Health Concentration
In addition to the required foundation courses for completion of the MPH degree, students specializing in Veterinary Public Health take three required courses (7 hours) and electives (12 hours) chosen in consultation with their advisor and designed to meet the student’s career goals. Students complete their learning experiences with an internship, which is an opportunity to use skills as a public health veterinarian, or through an approved Master's Essay option focusing on a public health problem or opportunity.
In an effort to serve the growing demand for veterinarians skilled in public health, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine has partnered with the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences to offer the Master of Public Health Veterinary Public Health concentration.
The VPH concentration is open to graduate veterinarians as well as students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Many public health courses are offered in the evenings and summers to allow veterinary students the opportunity to complete much of the gradate program in parallel with their veterinary education. Veterinary students will require additional time after completion of the DVM degree to complete the MPH program of study.
The Master of Public Health Degree will prepare veterinarians to sit for the certifying examination of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine once the qualifying criteria are met.
GIS mapping of hantavirus in Great Smokey Mountains National Park
Public health is one of the foundation responsibilities of veterinary medicine and the scope of veterinary medicine is global in its potential impact and contribution, as is public health. Animal, human and environmental health and wellness issues converge in the profession which has created a need for veterinarians with a level of knowledge and skills beyond those gained during their professional education. Needs and opportunities for veterinarians are expanding in organizations ranging from public agencies dealing with animal and human health, to agencies and corporations charged with food safety and security from the farm to the consumer level. The demand is increasing for veterinarians with training in food safety, food and animal production, zoonotic diseases, biosecurity, research methods, health education and public policy. The veterinary degree alone is not enough to prepare veterinarians to meet these challenges and opportunities. A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree would be an excellent and necessary addition to the DVM for those individuals wanting to make a career in public health.
Veterinarians are the only health professionals trained in multispecies comparative medicine and the profession links agriculture, medicine and even health issues at the household level through companion animals. Historically, the profession’s greatest public health contributions to society have been in food production and safety and the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases. These roles continue and have assumed even more importance in the context of potentially deliberate acts of bio- or agroterrorism. American livestock, other domesticated animals, and free-ranging wildlife have been identified as targets by terrorists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have warned veterinary colleges that veterinarians could be the front line in detecting terrorist-engineered epidemics. Veterinary students and graduate veterinarians must now learn to spot medieval terrors like bubonic plague, whether the symptoms erupt in livestock or companion animals.
The Food Safety Inspection Service of USDA is the single largest employer of veterinarians in the U.S. and possible the world and this one agency estimates it will need 500 new veterinarians in the next five years. About half of the veterinarians in the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service are currently eligible for retirement. The US Army Veterinary Corps needs 45 new veterinarians each year to meet their public health mission goals. Other opportunities for service exist at the state, municipal and university level.