Virginia Tech plans new public-health degree

Virginia Tech plans new public-health degree

Jun 11, 2009
By staff
Blacksburg, Va. -- Virginia Tech's Board of Visitors approved a new Master of Public Health degree program aimed at addressing the shortage in the public health work force in human and veterinary medicine.

The program will be based in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and operated in collaboration with Virginia Tech's Carilion School of Medicine.

Pending anticipated approval by Virginia's Council for Higher Education, students could begin enrolling by fall 2010, according to Dr. Francois Elvinger, a veterinary epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.

"There is no doubt that acute public-health work force shortages need to be addressed" to deal with increased risks in food safety and the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases, along with chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes, Elvinger says.

The proposed 42 credit-hour program will offer concentrations in public-health education and infectious disease, and will admit 40 students per class. Projected students include those seeking admission with a bachelor's degree, medical students and veterinary students who can pursue the new degree along with their MD and DVM degrees, plus mid-career health professionals.

The curriculum will include biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health-services administration and health behavior.