UI, UIC offer dual degree

By Joo-Hyun Kim

The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University and the School of Public Health at the Chicago campus have offered a program since the spring of 2005, designed to award both the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees.

The joint program allows students to complete both degrees in five years. First, students in the program must satisfy the required four years of the professional veterinary medicine program of the study and must satisfy the required 39 to 41 semester hours of the Master of Public Health Professional Enhancement Program.

John Herrmann, assistant professor for the College of Veterinary Medicine, said the dual program is driven by the idea of keeping the public safe and healthy.

“Health professionals from many backgrounds must be trained in the core principles of public health and possess special knowledge of public health epidemiology and disease control because far more infectious diseases such as SARS, avian flu and monkey pox are zoonotic than previously thought,” Herrmann said.

After almost a year of instruction, Kate McNamara, one of the three students in the joint program, said she explored several different areas of veterinary medicine and was most interested in the merging of veterinary medicine and epidemiology before applying to the program.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“Three of us are working out some of the details between the two campuses but everyone is very excited about the dual degree program so they have been keen on working through the problems,” she said.

McNamara, who hopes to work for an organization researching zoonotic diseases or doing outbreak investigations, is satisfied with the dual program’s multitude of opportunities.

“I enjoy the clinical work encountered in veterinary medicine but also like to look at problems from a population perspective, so epidemiology is a perfect fit,” McNamara said.

Herrmann was selected as the director of the dual degree program because of his experience in public health and veterinary medicine. He earned a master’s degree from University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health in 2003, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University. He is currently working in the program as director and instructor of the joint program.

“After (the students) complete the program, most careers for veterinarians with public health training are in epidemiology, infectious disease, surveillance, assessment and policy development,” Herrmann said. “Most will be employed at federal and state level positions.”

Gerald Pijanowski is the other faculty member involved, and helps with the administration of the program. He explained the combined program accepted its first three Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students last spring, and started their first on-line course this semester.

“This program is unique in that the students will work with faculty in Chicago on a capstone project that will demonstrate their ability to work in the field,” Pijanowski said.

Christine Beuoy, director of communication at the College of Veterinary Medicine, said students must be accepted to Veterinary school first and must have completed their first year in order to enter the joint degree program. Once they enter the Veterinary medical school, students will complete their first three years at University while they are taking on-line public health courses. They will spend at least two semesters doing veterinary training at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Then, they will return to Urbana to complete their fourth year of rotations.

“The School of Public Health at the Chicago campus and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Urbana campus are national leaders in the education of public health professionals and veterinarians,” Herrmann said. “This collaboration should bring the excellence of each program together to train professionals able to meet the human and animal health challenges of the future.”