DVM/Masters of Public Health Program
Veterinarians have made a substantial contribution to public health within the state of Illinois and nationally over the past 120 years. It has been estimated that 25 years of the 30 year gain in human life expectancy at birth achieved through the 20th century were due to improvements in sanitation and hygiene, two areas in which veterinarians continue to play an active and productive role.
Recent research has suggested that far more infectious diseases are zoonotic than previously thought. Several examples of zoonotic exposures have occurred in the recent past, from SARS and avian flu virus to West Nile virus and monkey pox.
Several well publicized zoonotic exposures such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, West Nile virus and monkey pox have occurred in the United States during the 21st century. In 2002, as West Nile virus made its way westward across the United States, Illinois became the epicenter for West Nile encephalitis counting more human cases (884) and deaths (67) and more equine cases (1107) than any other state in the country. In 2003, the first human cases of monkey pox in the United States were diagnosed in Illinois and Wisconsin and linked to the exotic pet trade. Illinois veterinarians, physicians and other health experts quickly became focused on zoonoses as a significant health threat to humans and animals.
In 2003, based in part on their experiences with monkey pox and West Nile virus encephalitis, faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine (UIUC-CVM) and The University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health (UIC-SPH) began the development of a collaborative, joint degree program designed to award both Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees upon successful completion.