During a trip to Uganda last summer, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine student Elsa Sanabria was an eyewitness to the unique power veterinarians have to strengthen global health.

She was traveling with nine other vet students and Andrew Stringer, the CVM’s director of global health education and a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, when she saw veterinarians working to save critically endangered mountain gorillas. Their approach was to focus on public health concerns in the country, including access to birth control and battling entrenched poverty.  

“By providing education on family planning and giving small loans to start coffee farms, local families were poaching less, sending their children to school and becoming empowered,” said Sanabria.

When she got back to the United States, Sanabria immediately began looking into jobs for public health veterinarians. Now, a new, unique joint master’s program will help prepare her for her many journeys to come.

Sanabria is the first CVM student accepted into the master’s of public health with global health emphasis program, a collaboration between the CVM and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Public Health. Launching this fall, the program combines the CVM’s four-year veterinary curriculum with a yearlong, intensive master’s of public health program at UNC’s top-ranked public health school. For the program, Sanabria received a UNC Graduate Merit Assistantship Scholarship, which will cover a significant portion of tuition and fees.

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Originally published April 4, 2018.