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Focus Area – Epidemiology, Public Health, and Public Policy

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.

Focus Area Leader

Focus Area Advisors

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

  • Identify an advisor within the focus area
  • Plan CVM selectives and other activities with the help of your advisor
  • Make contacts/arrangements for externships during summers and 4th year
  • Plan 4th year CVM rotations

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:

CBS 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  – Tuesday evenings, 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. Visit the elective catalog here for up to date details.

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 Course

VMP 991-250Fall Globalization, International Trade and Veterinarians Dr. Correa
VMP 991-151 Fall Surveillance in Veterinary Medicine Dr. Correa
VMC 991 Fall World Travel: Health & Safety Dr. Loomis
VMC 991-228 Fall One Medicine/One health (includes participation in the One Medicine/One Health Symposium and classroom time) Dr. Kennedy-Stoskopf
VMB 992 Fall Food Animal Residue Avoidance Dr. Baynes
VMP 992 Fall PCR-Based Diagnosis of Bacterial Disease Dr. Orndorff
VMP 991 Spring Experiences in Aquaculture Dr. Levine
VMP 991-239 Spring Veterinary Medical Terminology in Spanish Dr. Correa
VMP 991 Spring Global Emerging Animal Diseases Dr. Cowen
VMP 991 Spring 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. Jennifer Neel
VMP 991 – #41 Spring and Fall International Veterinary Medicine Selective Dr. Stringer. Levy

Year 4 Courses

Clinical Year Requirements below effective for the Class of 2018. For questions about past requirements, please consult Student Services.

Fourth-Year Required Rotations


  • VMP 977: Autopsy/Clinical Pharmacology
  • VMP 978: Clinical Pathology
  • VMB 976: Radiology
  • VMB 977: Anesthesia
  • VMP 979: Epidemiology (must take one block)

One Surgery:

  • VMC 973G: Small Animal Surgery
  • VMC 973O: Small Animal Orthopedics
  • VMC 975: Equine Surgery

One Emergency:

  • VMC 960: Small Animal Emergency
  • VMC 966: Equine Emergency

One Medicine:

  • VMC 971: Small Animal Medicine (2 blocks)
  • VMC 954: SA Medicine for FA Students
  • VMC 979: Equine Medicine

One Primary Care Requirement:

  • VMC 939: Small Animal Primary Care
  • VMC 949: Equine Primary Care (2 blocks)

One Population Medicine:

  • VMP 970: Ruminant Health Management
  • VMP 982: Poultry Health Management
  • VMP 984: Swine Health Management

5 Additional Blocks of Epidemiology Rotations

Required, Focus Area Rotations*

VMP 979 below in addition to one in required group above

  • VMP 973 Special Topics in Epidemiology (Dr. Correa) – 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 (involves 3 consecutive blocks), preventive medicine. Special topics project will be developed with a designated mentor.
  • VMP 979 Epidemiology (Dr. Correa) – 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 993: Extramural in Epi (Dr. Correa) — max of 3 blocks

*Complete at least five blocks (10 weeks total) above in VMP 973, VMP 979 and VMP 993. Three blocks must be consecutive.

Students Are Strongly Encouraged to Consider the Following Rotations

  • VMP 999 Veterinary International Field Studies (Stringer)

Student opportunities

Veterinary Student Public Health Corps (Vet Student Club)

NC Division of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology

  • Phone duty – contact Dr. Carl Williams 707-5900
  • TBA: Sit in and listen to actual calls from the public seeking information about rabies and other zoonoses

Suggested external program opportunities for students in the focus area

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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:

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, Ohio, Morgantown, West Virginia, or Anchorage, Alaska
  • National Park Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases in Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Arctic Investigations Program in Anchorage, Alaska

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.


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.



CDC Volunteer and Employment Opportunities

Invaluable Experience

Whether you are on a career track, or in the process of determining which career you would like to pursue, the CDC has numerous internship, training, and volunteer opportunities for students of all academic disciplines and levels. Many of these opportunities provide invaluable experiences and potentially offer clear cut paths to exciting careers with CDC. 

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

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

  • 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 certification (e.g., ACLAM, ACVPM) 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 That Hire Veterinary Epidemiologists

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

Recent/Current Number of Epidemiology/Public Health Focused Students

  • Class 2013: 4
  • Class 2014: 1
  • Class 2015: 0
  • Class 2016: 2
  • Class 2017: 2
  • Class 2018: 3
  • Class 2019: 5
  • Class 2020: 4
  • Class 2021: 4
  • Class 2022: 1
  • Class 2023: 2
    Class 2024: 0 declared to date