Virginia Tech opens two new public health programs within veterinary college

Virginia Tech opens two new public health programs within veterinary college

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Sep 01, 2011

BLACKSBURG, VA. — Two new initiatives in public health have been launched at Virginia Tech with the formation of the Center for Public Health Practice and Research and a new department within the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine to support the center.

Formerly the Institute for Community Health, the new Center for Public Health Practice and Research was created in response to the increase in health-related research across campus and the new Master's of Public Health program, also under the wing of the veterinary college. The mission of the center is to foster interdisciplinary, collaborative public-health practice and research activities at Virginia Tech and among external public-health agencies, organizations, practitioners and researchers, according to the university.

The Center for Public Health Practice and Research will be housed in the new Department of Population Health Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and supported by the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment.

The new department will organize and administer the public-health program and engage in research and outreach initiatives related to human and animal health.

The new department will also facilitate the process toward accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health, provide accountability and budget oversight for the public health program, and partner with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in offering the Master of Public Health degree, according to the veterinary school.

"We are very pleased with the board of visitor's decision as it confirms our approach to working across disciplines to provide new solutions to problems facing animal and public health," says Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Board of Directors. "The new department will continue to fuse efforts of veterinarians, physicians and other health professionals in addressing state, national and global public-health challenges consistent with the 'one health' approach endorsed by the (American Medical Association) and the (American Veterinary Medical Association)."

Virginia Tech launched the new Master's of Public Health program last fall with 36 students in response to a shortage of trained public health professionals. The 42-credit professional degree program offers concentrations in public health education and infectious disease and was developed in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

The curriculum includes biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, public health administration and health behavior, as well as specific courses in the areas of public-health education and infectious disease.