Students intern at CDC for dual degree program


Senior UF veterinary students Stacey Fox and Seth Colman are shown outside the CDC in Atlanta during their summer internship.

Two senior University of Florida veterinary students spent six weeks at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta in early summer as part of their public health internship for the dual DVM/MPH program.

The Epidemiology Elective Program in which Stacey Fox and Seth Colman participated gives senior medical and veterinary students an introduction to preventive medicine, public health and the principles of applied epidemiology, according to the CDC website.

Participants learn through hands-on experience working on a current public health project and are mentored by experienced CDC staff.

Fox and Colman were both assigned to the National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases. Colman worked with the Waterborne Disease Prevention branch and Fox was assigned to the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, working with the Health Pets group.

Colman said the group he worked with was responsible for domestic waterborne disease prevention, surveillance, and preparedness.

“My specific project was executing and writing a historical literature review and analysis of outbreaks and cases of zoonotic transmission of Cryptosporidium in veterinary educational settings, and then putting together recommendations for public health prevention strategies,” Colman said. He added that the paper would go through CDC clearance and would be submitted to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and other journals.

“The close association between veterinary students and animals presents a unique risk of human cryptosporidiosis infection,” Colman said, adding that his project was a response to concerns from several state public health veterinarians to the CDC concerning the recurrence of cryptospiridiosis in veterinary educational settings.

Fox said in her project, she reviewed the importation of all dogs that came into the United States in the past year and that were improperly vaccinated against rabies. The goal of her project was to map the addresses where these dogs were reported to be kept until their vaccinations were up to date to identify regions of the country that may be susceptible to rabies outbreaks, or may be home to puppy mills that may need more follow-up.

“It was great to be at an agency as formidable and active in public health as the CDC,” Fox said. “I think I really benefited from seeing how efficiently information is reported, exchanged and acted on there. I also loved seeing how varied the profession of a veterinarian can be in public health.”




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