Frequently Asked Questions

What is veterinary public health and preventive medicine (VPHPM)?

All veterinarians contribute to public health, whether through caring for companion animals, ensuring the health of food animals, or conducting research and teaching. Veterinarians can have a much greater impact on human health, however, by specializing in veterinary public health. Those who specialize in VPHPM strive to reduce human exposure to hazards and diseases that arise from animals, both domestic and wild. VPHPM professionals work to control and eradicate zoonoses, including new and re-emerging diseases, protect the food supply from food-borne pathogens and bioterrorism, and educate the public.

If I specialize in veterinary public health and preventive medicine, where might I work?

There are many employment opportunities for those who specialize in veterinary public health and preventive medicine. Veterinarians with public health credentials serve as leaders of zoonotic disease prevention and control programs as well as for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses and vectorborne diseases. They also perform fieldwork to investigate new and emerging diseases and help strengthen an organization's ability to respond to bioterrorism and public health-related emergencies. They may also coordinate and develop public policy at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Will I be board certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM) as a result of the VPHPM residency?

No. The VPHPM Residency provides training and experiences that will help you quality and prepare for National Board Certification with ACVPM.

Who is eligible to enroll in the VPHPM residency program?

The VPHPM residency is designed for early- to mid-career veterinarians. Individuals with excellent communications, leadership, and interpersonal skills, who have demonstrated an ability to work in teams and who have a high-level of computer experience are well-suited to the program.

The program considers applicants with as little as one year of post-veterinary degree experience, but preferes candidates have at least two yeas of practice or related experience. Most residens come into the program with at least two to three years of experience. 

Does the VPHPM residency application automatically serve as an application to the masters of public health (MPH) program?

No. Interested candidates must apply to both VPMPM residency and the MPH program separately.

If I already have a masters of public health or another advanced degree, can I still be considered for the VPHPM residency?

Yes. Applicants with the MPH degree may be considered for the VPHPM Residency and have the opportunity to work in an appointment up to 100%.

What is the application process?

Information on requirements and the application process can be found on the Interested Candidates page.

How long is the VPHPM residency?

Two years. 

What classes are offered?

Only MPH-seeking residents enroll in academic coursework. Course selection should be made in consultation with your MPH academic advisor to determine the most appropriate coursework to meet your career goals and interest.

Will I have a mentor or an advisor?

Mentoring is a critical component of the VPHPM residency. Each incoming resident will be assigned an ACVPM-boarded faculty mentor. The mentor provides guidance to the student throughout thier residency.  All VPHPM faculty members are expected to provide resident mentoring through rounds, project leadership, and joint faculty/resident meetings. VPHPM residents are encouraged to take advantage of multiple faculty members as mentors throughout their residency.

VPHPM residents pursuing MPH degrees will also receive an MPH academic advisor which may or may not be the same person as their mentor. MPH academic advisors are faculty members of the School of Public Health. They counsel residents on MPH coursework and approve the resident's MPH project. Residents may also work with an MPH project advisor to complete their MPH project. Project advisors do not need to have faculty appointments with the School of Public Health. Any appropriate University faculty member or state or federal agency official may serve as a resident's MPH project advisor.

What is expected of VPHPM residents?

  • Residents are expected to work on a variety of projects and activities.
  • Residents without an MPH or advanced degree are expected to pursue an MPH degree during their residency.
  • Residents are expected to assist with the teaching of public health and preventive medicine topics for veterinary students. Residents also assist with other public health-related courses and field trips during their residency. 
  • Residents are required to help coordinate and participate in the professional training of veterinary students as part of the required veterinary public health rotation. 
  • Residents are encouraged to take advantage of conferences, workshops, and community outreach opportunities available through the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) and the broader University community.

Will I be required to perform a lot of laboratory work as part of the VPHPM residency?

No. Bench laboratory experiments are not routinely part of the research that VPHPM residents are involved in. Instead, emphasis is placed on delivery of services through applied epidemiologic studies, public health surveillance, policy contributions, educational and outreach activities, and data analysis. In contrast to clinical veterinary practice, the VPHPM residency focuses on population health issues.

Why is it called a residency?  It seems like there is little or no clinical work.

This is a post-DVM training program that is tailored to provide public practice experiences in veterinary preventive medicine, public health, and population medicine practice. The American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (ACVPM) has identified five core areas of competency within the residency: epidemiology and biostatistics; infectious and parasitic diseases; food safety; environmental health and toxicology; and public health administration and health education. ACVPM has recognized this as an approved residency that can count toward the credentials needed to sit for the board certification exam.

How many residents are there?

The number of residents typically varies from six to seven, depending on when new residents start and when others complete their residencies. On average, two to three new residents are hired each year. We recommend new residents start at the beginning of a academic term (i.e., January, May or September).

Are there benefits beyond salary for VPHPM residents?

In addition to salary, the University provides low-cost health, dental and disability insurance, paid vacation, and sick time. Tuition costs for the MPH degree are covered through the residency. Residents will be required to pay all course and University fees.

The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety provides residents with a laptop computer. For more information about medical and dental benefits, refer to the University of Minnesota Office of Student Health Benefits.

Is this position full-time?  Can I work another job while I am a resident?

The VPHPM resident position fills the entire work week. Due to the variability of project schedules, holding another position outside of the VPHPM residency is strongly discouraged.

I am an international applicant.  What do I need to know to work at the University?

For more information, please visit the University's International Student and Scholars Services.

Please contact Sarah Summerbell with any additional questions.