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Focus Area for Epidemiology, Public Health, and Public Policy

Description of the Focus Area

The Epidemiology, Public Health, and Public Policy (EPHPP) focus area is for students who are interested in a career that involves identifying significant factors for the prevention and control of infectious and chronic diseases in animals, hazards to human health from animal origin, global health, and developing regulatory policy and standards for veterinary medicine.

Recent/Current Number of Epidemiology/Public Health Focused Students


Identify and register with a faculty mentor who can advise on requirements and opportunities in this focus area.

These include although are not limited to the following faculty members:

EPHPP Focus Area Committee

EPHPP Focus Area Advisors

Steps to pursue a focus in epidemiology, public health and public policy

Note: If you are considering pursuing a PhD (NCSU-CBS) or the MPH Veterinary Epidemiology Concentration (NCSU-UNC-CH), also contact these programs’ directors.

Year 1-3 Requirements

Select one of the following electives:

VPH 650 Population Medicine forum – Mondays 12:15-1:10 PM, room D-236; seminar-based course including topics in population health: Outbreak investigation, observational epidemiologic research, risk analysis, spatial analysis, the application of unique diagnostic technologies and epidemiologic modeling

VMP 986 One Health-Philosophy to Practice - Tuesdays, 5:30 - 7:30PM, NC Biotech Center, RTP; Introduction to One Health and its implementation across disciplines; facilitate understanding of the interactions linking veterinary medicine, human medicine, and environmental health; and promote cross-campus and cross-discipline interactions.

Optional elective:

CBS 817/CBS 818 Advanced topics in zoological medicine – Thursday, 4.15pm, room B112; clinically oriented discussions of medical issues impacting free-ranging and captive populations.


There are no required selectives for years 1 through 3 but there are recommended courses as follows.

Year 1-3 Recommended Selective Courses





VMP 991-250


Globalization, International Trade and Veterinarians

Dr. Correa

VMP 991-151


Surveillance in Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Correa

VMC 991


VMC 991 Health & Safety in Third World

Dr. Loomis

VMC 991-228


One Medicine/One health (includes participation in the One Medicine/One Health Symposium and classroom time)

Dr. Kennedy-Stoskopf

VMB 992

Fall, both weeks

Food Animal Residue Avoidance

Dr. Baynes

VMP 992

Fall, both weeks

PCR-Based Diagnosis of Bacterial Disease

Dr. Orndorff

VMP 991


Experiences in Aquaculture

Dr. Levine

VMP 991-239


Veterinary Medical Terminology in Spanish

Dr. Correa

VMP 991


Emerging Diseases of International Importance (in progress)

Dr. Cowen

VMP 991


Environmental Medicine and Policy

Dr. Kennedy-Stoskopf

VMP 991

Spring and Fall

Professional Meeting (e.g., Conference of Research Workers of Animal Disease, ISVEE)

Dr. Keven Flammer

VMP 991#41

Fall and Spring

International Veterinary Medicine Selective

Dr. Levy


Fourth-Year Required Rotations

Complete the core curriculum rotations

Required, core curriculum rotations

VMP 977 Clinical Laboratory and Necropsy

VMP 978 Clinical Pathology, Parasitology, and Immunology

VMB 976 Radiology

VMB 977 Anesthesia

Required surgery rotation, select one

VMC 973G Small Animal General Surgery

VMC 973O Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery

VMC 975 Equine Surgery

Required emergency rotation, select one

VMC 960 Small Animal Emergency

VMC 966 Equine Emergency

Required medicine rotation, select one

VMC 971 Small Animal Medicine (two-block rotation)

VMC 954 Small Animal Medicine for Food Animal Students (one-block rotation)

VMC 979 Equine Medicine (one-block rotation)

Required primary care course requirement

Contact focus area leader to discuss options

Required population medicine requirement, select one

VMP 970 Ruminant Health Management I

VMP 982 Poultry Health Management I

VMP 984 Swine Health Management I

Required, focus area rotations*

VMP 973 Special Topics in Epidemiology

VMP 979 Epidemiology

*Complete at least six blocks (12 weeks total) in VMP 973 and VMP 979. Three blocks must be consecutive.

VMP 979 Epidemiology (Drs. Correa and Levine) – an opportunity for students to focus on a veterinary medicine topic of their interest from different prospective (clinical, research, or outreach) (such as wildlife, agricultural and domestic animals, infectious and chronic diseases), combining epidemiology methodology (including data analysis, study design, animal shelter evaluation, risk communication), including study planning, analysis, reporting.

VMP 973 Special topics in Epidemiology (Dr. Cowen) – local, national, international, student-originated studies; can involve marine mammals, birds, fish, wildlife, exotics, companion animals, horses, food animals, emerging diseases, foreign animal diseases, CDC, preventive medicine. Special topics project will be developed with a designated mentor.

Note: The CDC externship will involve 3 consecutive blocks

Students are strongly encouraged to consider the following rotations

VMP 958 Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals (Cowen) Complete the Iowa State University web-based “self-study” course to be taken as convenient, with subsequent case study/discussion section (Available until Fall 2015)

VMP 999 Veterinary International Field Studies (Levy) There are multiple mentors depending on the region of the world and species of animals or topics of interest: Latin America (Correa), Africa (Cowen)

Student opportunities

Veterinary Student Public Health Corps (vet student club)

NC Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology

Suggested external program opportunities for students in the focus area


CDC Student Internships and Fellowships

CDC Epidemiology Elective Program for Senior Medical and Veterinary Students

The CDC Epidemiology Elective Program offers fourth-year senior medical or veterinary students a 6–8 week elective position each year that provides them with an introduction to applied epidemiology, public health, and preventive medicine, all under the mentorship of experienced CDC epidemiologists. Elective students are assigned to one of CDC’s offices, as determined by the student’s area of interest. Most assignments are based at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. However, other assignments can be arranged such as:

The Epidemiology Elective Program application opens in January and is due on March 30 for fall semester rotations and May 30 for spring semester rotations.

For more information about the CDC Epidemiology Elective Program, and to apply online, visit

CDC-Hubert Global Health Fellowship

The CDC-Hubert Global Health Fellowship provides an opportunity for third- and fourth-year medical and veterinary students to gain public health experience in an international setting. Hubert fellows spend six to twelve weeks in a developing country working on a priority health problem in conjunction with CDC staff. Through these experiences, students establish relationships with, and receive training from, recognized experts from CDC and other national and international health agencies. Each year, ten fellows are selected to participate in the program and receive a stipend of $4,000 to cover travel costs. Fellowship opportunities vary each year.

The application opens in mid-January.

For more information about the CDC-Hubert Global Health Fellowship, and to apply online, visit

Student Volunteer and Employment Opportunities

Externships at North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Emergency Programs Division;

North Carolina is nationally recognized as a leader in Emergency Preparedness and Response to diseases that affect animal agricultural or have a public health impact. Students have taken summer and externship positions at the Emergency Programs Division working with emergency preparedness projects. This involves a wide range of activities that will help NC be prepared in case of an outbreak of a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD), bioterrorism or agroterrorism threat. The emergency programs division utilizes a Geographic Information System interface, and is developing unique programs to monitor diseases in different animal populations. Contact Dr. Karen Beck

USDA APHIS eastern regional office, epidemiology division

Veterinarians working in animal disease control from USDA eastern regional office have participated in the epidemiology and public health curriculum at the College of Veterinary Medicine for several years. They contribute to the current VMP 945 and VMP 958 courses through involvement in small group discussions and individual lectures. Several USDA epidemiologists at the regional office are adjunct professors in the PHP department.

Students have arranged externships in conjunction with USDA personnel.

USDA FSIS Veterinary student employment with FSIS

Students will be assigned to an FSIS veterinarian as a mentor. They will observe and learn the role of in-plant veterinarians in ensuring the safety of meat and poultry products that reach the consumer. Students will spend time with other veterinarians in the Agency to understand the range of veterinary activities, visit an FSIS laboratory, the Technical Services Center, and the Headquarters in Washington , DC . Positions with an hourly salary will be available during vacations beginning May or June. The goal of the program is for the student to complete 640 hours of work and is designed to encourage first and second year student participation. USDA FSIS Information

NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Epidemiology section (from web site)

Students will have the opportunity to a) Investigate disease outbreaks and unusual situations and to implement measures to minimize further transmission of disease, b) Monitor disease-reporting by physicians and laboratories to detect trends and to assess the public health impact of disease, c) Contribute to the primary channel of communication between public health agencies, private physicians, and hospital and occupational infection control personnel, as an essential part of disease control efforts, d) Explain public health interventions and disseminate health education messages to the community and the media in order to enhance disease control efforts

Individual and targeted study opportunities

The focus area of epidemiology, public health and public policy provides a wealth of individual opportunities because of the diverse nature of the disciplines and the applicability of the methods and epidemiologic tools to generate critical information.

Summer research internships working with individual investigators are available at the CVM through the competitive Research Office scholars program

Externships can be obtained at CDC, Plum Island foreign animal disease laboratories (DHS), and USDA veterinary services eastern regional office. Specifically, an externship working on import/export and FAD's can be arranged at USDA-APHIS in the eastern regional office or in Washington DC (DrCorrea)

Other Useful Information

Useful web sites

Career Opportunities

USDA/APHIS state veterinary medical officers

Regional epidemiology positions (require additional degree), animal health surveillance, regulatory compliance, outbreak investigation, disease control and eradication

USDA/FSIS public health veterinarians

Public health veterinarians responsible for ensuring the safety of the commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products moving interstate or exported to other countries, is wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged. Involved in epidemiology, pathology, and evaluation of food safety programs to reduce prevalence of food borne hazards

US Military

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

State Departments of Agriculture veterinary services

Veterinary medical officers, disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, disease control and eradication, biosecurity

State Departments of Public Health, Epidemiology

Other agencies that hire veterinary epidemiologists