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Veterinary student and veterinarian attitudes toward veterinary public health and epidemiology

Geoffrey T. FosgateDepartment of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4458.

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 DVM, PhD, DACVPM

Abstract

Objective—To identify predictors of veterinary students and veterinarians having an interest in veterinary public health and epidemiology (PH&E).

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—Veterinary students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University and veterinarians with membership in a Texas veterinary professional organization.

Procedures—2 questionnaires were designed and administered to investigate hypothesized predictors of PH&E interests among veterinary students and veterinarians. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables from both questionnaires. Prevalence ratios, 95% confidence intervals, and χ2 tests were used to evaluate bivariate associations between variables and an interest in PH&E. Multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for the effects of multiple variables on the outcome.

Results—70% (215/305) of students believed that a course in PH&E was necessary, and 46% (140/304) believed that more courses in PH&E would improve the veterinary curriculum. Ninety-nine percent (299/303) of veterinarians believed that a course in PH&E was necessary in the curriculum. Ninety-two percent (272/297) of veterinarians agreed that knowledge related to PH&E was important to perform the functions of their job. History of raising animals and membership in 4-H or Future Farmers of America were significant predictors of veterinary students having an interest in PH&E. Being male and growing up in a rural environment were not significant predictors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most veterinary students and veterinarians agreed that knowledge of PH&E is important. Variables identified as associated with an interest in PH&E may be useful for designing mitigation strategies to increase the number of veterinarians entering public health careers.

Abstract

Objective—To identify predictors of veterinary students and veterinarians having an interest in veterinary public health and epidemiology (PH&E).

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—Veterinary students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University and veterinarians with membership in a Texas veterinary professional organization.

Procedures—2 questionnaires were designed and administered to investigate hypothesized predictors of PH&E interests among veterinary students and veterinarians. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables from both questionnaires. Prevalence ratios, 95% confidence intervals, and χ2 tests were used to evaluate bivariate associations between variables and an interest in PH&E. Multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for the effects of multiple variables on the outcome.

Results—70% (215/305) of students believed that a course in PH&E was necessary, and 46% (140/304) believed that more courses in PH&E would improve the veterinary curriculum. Ninety-nine percent (299/303) of veterinarians believed that a course in PH&E was necessary in the curriculum. Ninety-two percent (272/297) of veterinarians agreed that knowledge related to PH&E was important to perform the functions of their job. History of raising animals and membership in 4-H or Future Farmers of America were significant predictors of veterinary students having an interest in PH&E. Being male and growing up in a rural environment were not significant predictors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most veterinary students and veterinarians agreed that knowledge of PH&E is important. Variables identified as associated with an interest in PH&E may be useful for designing mitigation strategies to increase the number of veterinarians entering public health careers.

Contributor Notes

Supported by a grant from the Master Teaching Panel, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

The author thanks Ashley Berry and Brenda Jacklitsch for technical assistance and Dr. James Wright for assistance in the development of questionnaires.