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Epidemiology and Public Health

Veterinary epidemiologists study how diseases affect animal populations by looking at the demographics of a population and hypothesizing how a disease might be transmitted and what kind of impact it would have on the population of animals. Professionals in public health address the problems of infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans as well as food safety and food security, emergency response and preparedness, and animal health and biomedical research.

NC State Veterinary Medicine Epidemiology, Public Health and Population Medicine faculty and staff are dedicated to advancing the field and to teaching, research, and outreach programs that are responsive to the needs of students, public health organizations, the veterinary profession, and scientific communities. We provide veterinary and postgraduate instruction.

Our faculty are involved in research in numerous areas of population health and public health, including risk assessment and food safety, animal biosecurity risk management, foreign animal diseases, West Nile Virus, microbial resistance in pathogens, zoonotic disease, aquatic health, and international trade. They also serve as consultants to state and federal regulatory agencies concerning agricultural bioterrorism and foreign animal diseases.

We serve the public through active extension and engagement programs that include ProMED Mail, an international source of daily updates of animal and zoonotic diseases published on the web, and the Wilson Bay Water Quality Initiative, an education program that raises veterinary awareness of foreign animal diseases.


Epidemiology, Public Health and Population Medicine faculty provides instruction in the professional veterinary and graduate curricula and are extensively involved the combined DVM and Master of Public Health Program with a Veterinary Epidemiology Concentration program. This Program is designed to provide graduate training for veterinarians interested in pursuing animal and public health service oriented careers with state, federal, and international agencies. Faculty also mentor and instruct students in the Epidemiology, Public Health, and Public Policy focus area. The first steps in pursuing a focus in Epidemiology, Public Health, and Population Medicine is to identify and register with a faculty mentor who can advise on opportunities in this area.

Educational Opportunities

Epidemiology, Public Health, and Public Policy Focus Area

For DVM students interested in epidemiology, public health, and population medicine, this focus area is a good entry into the specialty.

Cows in TAU pasture

Careers in Epidemiology and Public Health

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the veterinary profession as a whole will grow at a particularly strong rate over the next 5 to 10 years, a much stronger rate of growth than the average for all professions and DVMs with a specialty in epidemiology and public health will be in particular demand. Professionals in this field have career options that can keep them in their home state or send them around the world.

USDA/APHIS: State Veterinary medical officers

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

US Military

  • US Army Veterinary Corps
  • US Air Force: Public Health Corps
  • Enter as captain or equivalent; further training to Master’s level (MPH, MVPH) and specialty board will advance career
  • Food safety, food security, canine corps, preventive medicine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Epidemiologic intelligence service (EIS)
  • Speciality branches: Special pathogens, Viral and Rickettsial zoonoses, NCID National Center for Infectious Diseases, Global Health, HIV surveillance, Epidemiology Program office

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • Center for Veterinary Medicine
  • Center for Food Safety and Nutrition
  • Drug evaluation and product safety, food safety

State Departments of Agriculture Veterinary Services

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

State Departments of Public Health, Epidemiology

  • Case surveillance, outbreak investigation, preventive medicine

Pharmaceutical industry

  • Clinical trials, basic research

Other Agencies

  • Pan American Health Organization
  • World Health Organization
  • US AID
  • United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
  • Office International des Epizooties
  • Peace Corps


Useful web sites for those with an interest in veterinary epidemiology and public health issues: