IVM Post Graduate Certificate Program

The Post Graduate Certificate Program in International Veterinary Medicine is a unique opportunity for students at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to prepare for an international career. This is a structured, comprehensive, student-driven program which augments the DVM curriculum and is completed in parallel with the DVM program.

Goals of the Post Graduate Certificate Program

Whether a student's goal is to work hands-on in the field, or negotiate policy change at the international level, our goal is to help students develop the knowledge, skills and agency they need to be competitive and effective as international veterinarians.

To develop the necessary multi-disciplinary abilities, we have identified the following three goals for our Post Graduate Certificate students:

  1. To develop a level of knowledge and proficiency in general international veterinary topics equivalent to a mid-level junior professional.
  2. To develop a skillset in an area of specialization equivalent to an upper-level junior professional.
  3. To have a basic understanding and command of the skills required to work as an effective member of a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary team.

Areas of Expertise in the Post Graduate Certificate Program

Over the course of the program, students are expected to develop a level of knowledge and proficiency in general international veterinary topics equivalent to that of a veterinarian that has been working internationally for at least one year.

  • On a global scale the three major livestock production systems are pastoralism, agro-pastoralism, and mixed crop/livestock systems – systems that predominate in the developing world. However, international trends such as increasing demand for livestock-derived protein, urbanization of populations, and industrialization of livestock production, are causing a shift in livestock production from extensive to intensive and rural to peri-urban. Students will develop an understanding of livestock production systems from around the world, including their social-cultural, economic and environmental bases, as well as trends in meeting global demands for livestock and their products.

  • We are currently experiencing a loss of biodiversity on a global scale that celebrated biologist E.O. Wilson has called, “…one of the greatest extinction spasms of geological history.” Students will develop an understanding of biodiversity and its environmental determinants, as well as the impacts of environmental and climate changes on biodiversity, and be able to provide examples of major wildlife systems and their intricacies on each continent. In addition, students will develop a familiarity with efforts to categorize and prioritize areas for conservation, such as the concepts of biodiversity hotspots and biospheres, and of management paradigms for conservation areas, such as keystone species vs. overall diversity. Finally, students will be familiar with the increasing importance of communities in conservation, including livestock/wildlife systems and approaches to community-based conservation.

  • Rapid changes on a global scale are profoundly impacting the veterinary profession. Trends from increased travel and communication to changing food demands are impacting the ways veterinarians work, the issues that they address, and the resources available to both practitioners and their clients. Students will be familiar with trends related to the global food supply, including the millennium development goals and global food security. The key role of veterinary science in the One Health debate will be explored and case studies reviewed. Students will develop an understanding of the economics of veterinary care provision, private vs. public veterinary goods and the impact that structural adjustment programs have had on veterinary service provision in developing countries. Students should be familiar with the concepts and methods underlying alternative approaches to veterinary service provision.

  • The Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), managed by the World Trade Organization (WTO), has revolutionized the market for livestock and livestock products. The sanitary and phytosanitary agreements (SPS) of the GATT, the standards used for regulating and assuring the safety of traded products, have profoundly influenced disease monitoring and control and the role veterinary medicine plays in assuring the safety of livestock products. Students will be familiar with the SPS measures, specifically how transparency and science allow for a level trade playing field for all WTO member countries, and issues involved with the SPS measures that are creating new barriers in the path towards development for poorer countries. Students will also gain an understanding of the role played by the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) in defining standards, and the roles of other global organizations, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in the control and eradication of the most devastating transboundary livestock diseases.

  • The control and eradication of catastrophic animal diseases has been prioritized by the international veterinary community. These are diseases that have significant economic consequences for the livestock industry, pose significant human health threats, and are easily transmissible. Examples include rinderpest, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and foot and mouth disease (FMD). The development of surveillance and monitoring standards for these diseases is a major component of the OIE mandate. Students will be familiar with the etiology and epidemiology of the diseases of international importance, and the global mechanisms in place for their detection and control. Students will study issues involved in the control of these diseases, such as issues related to vaccination vs. depopulation in FMD outbreaks.

  • The field of conservation medicine has evolved around the concept that the health of people, animals and their environment are inextricably linked. Students will be familiar with the underlying concepts of conservation medicine, and how the multi-disciplinary study of health has lead to new insights into emerging diseases, the study of wildlife as sentinels for disease, and our understanding of the role that disease plays in the extirpation of species.

  • The office responsible for American agricultural trade policy and regulation is the United States Department of Agriculture. Students will look at trends in the USDA policy towards trade in livestock and their products, particularly with the shift from a protectionist standpoint to one of encouraging both the import and export of products. Students will also be familiar with the role of the American veterinary practitioner in protecting the American livestock industry from the hazards of trade, as well as helping producers take advantage of trade opportunities, through the USDA Certified Veterinarian program.

  • International development has tended to focus solely on human development to the exclusion of animals and the environment. Students will explore how veterinary scientists can contribute to the debate on ecologically sustainable development by taking a holistic approach to health matters. Through facilitated discussions, literature reviews and research activities, students will develop a basic understanding of the multi-disciplinary approaches required to tackle one of the most crucial issues facing humanity today.

Areas of Specialization in the Post Graduate Certificate Program

Students may choose up to two areas of specialization in which they will develop expertise through self-directed educational opportunities and an independent international research project.

  • In this area of specialization, the student will focus on the role of livestock in sustainable development. Students will develop an expertise in livestock production in the developing world, including agro-ecosystems, production systems, indigenous species, trends in production, and the appropriate development and application of tools for improved production, including genetics and technologies.

  • In this area of specialization students will focus on diseases notifiable to the OIE, including but not limited to rinderpest, FMD, peste des petits ruminants, blue tongue, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, African Swine Fever, vesicular stomatitis, sheep and goat pox, classic swine fever, swine vesicular disease, lumpy skin disease, Rift Valley Fever, African horse sickness, highly pathogenic avian influenza, and Newcastle disease. For a complete list of diseases notifiable to the OIE please refer to this web page: http://www.oie.int/en/animal-health-in-the-world/oie-listed-diseases-2016/

  • In this area of specialization, students will focus on interdisciplinary research leading to an understanding of the ecological context of diseases, particularly emerging and re-emerging diseases, multi-species diseases, and those diseases threatening the survival of species.

  • In this area of specialization, students will focus on the role that veterinarians play in protecting public health, particularly in controlling diseases related to livestock-derived food production and consumption that are prevalent in the developing world, such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, cysticercosis, cryptosporidiosis, rabies, and salmonellosis.

  • In this area of specialization, students will focus on the evolving role of livestock and livestock services in conflict situations, concentrating on the appropriate provision of humanitarian assistance to livestock keepers in crises such as humanitarian emergencies, chronic environmental instability, and situations of chronic conflict and political instability.

  • In this area of specialization, students will develop an appreciation of social, cultural, and economic issues related to animal health and production. Students will gain an understanding of and basic expertise with relevant socio-economic tools.

Requirements of the Post Graduate Certificate Program

The Post Graduate Certificate Program requirements include:

  • Attend the IVM Forums and lead an open forum in the final year of the program.
  • Attend the IVM seminars.
  • Complete at least one international Summer Research project.
  • Attend at least two conferences or approved seminars.
  • Submit annual reports.
  • Complete the IVM Core Course.
  • Complete the Advanced IVM Elective.
  • Prepare at least one manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Demonstrate socio-cultural sensitivity.