September 23, 2009

New Degree in Conservation Medicine

A one-year program at the Cummings School will draw on faculty from across the university

The continuing emergence of new diseases transmitted by wild animals, the effects of human activities on endangered species and the impact of climate change on biodiversity are just a few of the topics students will tackle in the new Master of Science in Conservation Medicine degree program being developed at the Cummings School. The one-year program was approved by the Tufts University trustees in May and will draw on faculty from across the university to teach the curriculum. The first students are expected to enroll in fall 2010.

“Graduates of the conservation medicine master’s program will enter the workforce equipped to coordinate teams of colleagues from widely varying disciplines to attack global and broad-based health challenges,” says Dean Deborah T. Kochevar.

Conservation medicine has been a signature program at the Cummings School since 1997, when the Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine was founded as the first university-based center devoted to the study of the field. The center has established programs in regional and international conservation medicine research and developed a conservation medicine curriculum as part of the Cummings School’s D.V.M. degree program. The center’s faculty includes wildlife veterinarians, epidemiologists, ecologists, large animal veterinarians and wildlife policy experts who have conducted international and domestic research in infectious disease transmission, environmental toxins, animal population control and environmental monitoring.

The graduates of the new degree program “will, we hope, seed the health-sciences and health-policy establishments with a new concept of health, one that grasps the unity and interdependence of human, animal and environmental health,” says Gretchen E. Kaufman, J76, V86, director of the Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine.

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