Spring 2018

Making a Difference Around the Globe

Tufts trains students to advance animal, human, and environmental health wherever they’re needed.

By Genevieve Rajewski

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Chris Whittier, V97, director of the M.S. in conservation medicine program, leads a field activity with students.

From the beginning, Cummings School has prepared graduates to practice veterinary medicine with a global perspective. It launched the International Veterinary Medicine (IVM) program in 1982 to advance agriculture in the developing world, and the program has evolved to encompass six areas of expertise, including conservation medicine and global health. Students now travel the world to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom—investigating tick-borne disease in Mozambique, studying a viral threat to wild Asian elephants at an Irish zoo, caring for underserved pets in the Dominican Republic, and more. Select students can also pursue advanced training to earn a postgraduate certificate in IVM.

The Tufts interdisciplinary approach also gives graduates a competitive advantage in studying diseases that can spread from animals to humans. “Each new outbreak has taught us something about how to work together across disciplines to attack the problem,” said research assistant professor Felicia Nutter, V93.

Kenny Siu, V18, and Amanda Nee, V18, on a research trip in Uganda. Photo: Chrisostom Ayebazibwe

Cummings School has been a leader in an international partnership of universities training future health-care professionals. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program, research assistant professor Janetrix Hellen Amuguni, VG11, research professor Stanley G. Fenwick, and research associate professor Diafuka Saila-Ngita serve alongside Nutter as technical advisers to help “train the trainers” in more than a dozen infectious-disease hot spots around the world. They’ve helped develop two regional networks to ensure that universities in Africa and Southeast Asia are offering comprehensive training to address pandemics.

Makoto Yamamoto, A15, V19, studying a cat in Thailand. Photo: Courtesy of Makoto Sakamoto

With the help of the World Organization for Animal Health, Cummings School also runs an exchange program with Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Bangladesh, to spur collaboration in teaching and research. Bengali students spend seven weeks a year in Grafton for classes and clinical rotations, and Tufts students study avian influenza, E. coli rotavirus in food animals, and other issues in Bangladesh. The exchange lets Bengali students improve veterinary medicine at home, and offers Cummings School’s students a rare opportunity to confront infectious diseases before they ever emerge stateside.

 

Degrees with a Global Focus

Cummings School has built on its D.V.M. program to offer several additional degrees preparing scientists for service around the world, including:

M.S. in Conservation Medicine

Through small-group learning and hands-on externships, students prepare to address environmental contamination, climate change, and other urgent, global issues.

Isabel Francisco, V18, on an externship with a free clinic for equids in Morocco. Photo: Courtesy of Isabel Francisco

M.S. in Infectious Disease and Global Health

Professionals train to handle the emergence of virulent infectious agents, antimicrobial resistance, bioterrorism, and other serious threats to human health.

D.V.M./Master of Public Health

This dual-degree program trains future experts in human public health, as well as veterinary practitioners and researchers.

D.V.M./Master of Arts

In this dual-degree program, students earn a DVM and one-year MA at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy to prepare for international policy-making positions.

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