Applied epidemiology, defined as "the application or practice of epidemiology as used to address issues of public or animal health," has been identified as the prime focus of teaching and research at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

The WCVM's Centre for Applied Epidemiology was formed:

  • to showcase applied epidemiologic research
  • to promote learning opportunities here at the University of Saskatchewan.

The main goals of applied epidemiology are:

  • to monitor and describe the distribution of health-related outcomes in populations
  • to study particular risk factors for the development of a health-related outcome
  • to evaluate the effectiveness or impact of an intervention, health program or policy
  • to synthesize results of etiologic studies across disciplines to assess disease causation 
  • to communicate epidemiologic findings effectively to policy makers and the public.

About Us


  • Dr. Tasha Epp, Professor, Zoonoses and Epidemiology, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM

Assistant Director

  • Dr. Sarah Parker, Research Associate, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM

Other Members

  • Dr. John Campbell, Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM
  • Dr. Cheryl Waldner, Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM
  • Dr. Hugh Townsend, Professor Emeritus, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM
  • Dr. Murray Jelinski, Professor and Alberta Chair in Beef Cattle Health and Production Medicine, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM
  • Dr. Sheryl Gow, Epidemiologist, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (CIPARS)
  • Dr. Joanne Tataryn, Epidemiologist, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Outbreak Management Division, Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases



The centre offers a select number of workshops each year. These workshops focus on applied aspects of research and epidemiology. Workshops help develop the research capacity of the WCVM and University of Saskatchewan as well as providing continuing education in epidemiology to the wider community of practicing epidemiologists.

Developed workshops

Principles of data management. Intended to introduce participants to principles of good data collection and management practices using commonly available tools. Provides tips to prepare for undertaking research and data analysis and interpretation. Introduces participants to the organization of data to support and simplify statistical analysis. We also cover organizing data files of different types through the workflow of a research project. Length: one day. 

Principles of data visualization. The principles of data display, as well as an overview of options for data display and specific techniques will be covered. The focus is on key introductory concepts and techniques important in reporting clinical research. Length: one day. Often presented combined with "Data management."

Evaluation and interpretation of diagnostic tests. This workshop will explore test interpretation metrics (e.g. sensitivity and specificity), explore important approaches for evaluating diagnostic tests, and work through examples of utilizing and interpreting diagnostic tests in different settings. Length: one to two days.

Study design. A short overview of key observational study designs with practical applications and interactive exercises. Intended to give participants exposure to putting into practice concepts covered in the workshop. This workshop has a focus on application in a clinical or animal health setting. Length: one to two days.

Outbreak investigation. This workshop introduces the basic principles and steps in investigating and managing outbreaks. Focus is on detailed information and practical exercises for the key components. There is also a brief introduction to some more advanced topics related to outbreak investigation.

Contracted workshop: statistics for production and clinical trial data. Western Canadian Association Swine Veterinarians. 2018.

Contracted workshop: biostatistics refresher. A one-day workshop focusing on statistical approach and test choice using specific public health examples. Saskatchewan Epidemiology Association. October 26, 2012. Dr. Cheryl Waldner and Dr. Tasha Epp. Length: one day. 

All workshops are presented as a blend of short information sessions, interactive exercises and group sharing of learning. Typical lengths are included as reference — sometimes workshops are offered in condensed or combined form.

In addition to these developed workshops, we are able to deliver a short workshop focused on your specific analysis needs using your data as examples. Currently developed workshops are available to be delivered to interested groups; modification of content and timing is possible. If you have an interest in having us deliver a workshop, please contact us at wcvm.cae@usask.ca

Upcoming workshops: 2022

Outbreak investigation. This three-day worskhop, which will be instructed by Drs. Tasha Epp and Sarah Parker of the WCVM, is offered in conjunction with the 16th International Symposium of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE 16), August 14-16, 2022. 

Registration for this post-conference workshop is now open to both ISVEE delegates and non-ISVEE participants.

  • If you plan to attend ISVEE 16, click here to register for the conference's pre- and post-conference workshops
  • If you are a non-ISVEE participant, click here for more information about registering for the conference's post-conference workshops
  • Click here to read a full description of "Outbreak investigations — detect, explore, act"

For more information, contact Dr. Sarah Parker

Graduate training in epidemiology

Graduate training in epidemiology with a practical or research focus occurs at the WCVM through various faculty in the WCVM Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. Projects cover a wide range of topics including animal health, public health and wildlife/environmental health. Master of Science (thesis and project-based) and Doctorates of Philosophy programs are offered.

The University of Saskatchewan is taking bold new steps in the study and control of disease in animal health with a new Master of Science degree program in field epidemiology. Click on the button below for more information.  

If you are interested in our graduate programs, click on the button below to visit the WCVM Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences website. 


Ongoing research

Members of the WCVM Centre for Applied Epidemiology have ongoing research projects: 

For information on future projects, please watch for updates on this page.

New research projects

Companion Animal Surveillance Initiative for Western Canada

The Companion Animal Surveillance Initiative (CASI) for Western Canada recognizes the importance of understanding current zoonotic disease occurrence in animals that share our homes, our food/water and our beds.

Surveillance of selected companion animal diseases will provide baseline information upon which to evaluate changes over time, specifically those driven by external forces (such as climate-driven diseases or even social contexts).

This initiative is open to all veterinary clinics/veterinarians that provide service to companion animals (dogs specifically) in Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). 


Disease Investigation Unit (DIU)

The Disease Investigation Unit (DIU) is a long-established unit within the Large Animal Clinical Sciences (LACS) department. The DIU supports private veterinary practitioners in addressing complex and unusual animal health situations. It also enables the livestock industry to respond early and to reduce the economic impact of possible foreign animal disease incursions, emerging livestock disease or food safety crises.

Companion animals: disease investigation assistance

Do you need assistance in investigating an outbreak or disease event within your clinic’s dog population? Perhaps an outbreak in a kennel of dogs or a cattery?

The Companion Animal Surveillance Initiative has money set aside to assist clinics with investigations into companion animal-specific disease events. Financial and/or logistical support is available for the following activities:

  • money to cover costs of diagnostic testing and environmental sampling/testing
  • assistance with epidemiologic surveys and data analysis to help determine source/cause of the outbreak

For companion animal disease investigations, please contact Dr. Tasha Epp (tasha.epp@usask.ca or 306-966-6542) or email the Companion Animal Surveillance Initiative (compan.surv@usask.ca). 

Upcoming Events

Cross-Canada check in on companion animal surveillance

5 p.m. CST/6 p.m. EST, Monday, March 7, 2022
Hosted by the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS)

Speaker: Dr. Tasha Epp, DVM, PhD
Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM

This virtual webinar will provide foundational information on animal health surveillance and why it is crucial even in the realm of companion animal practice. The webinar will be followed by a roundtable discussion with experts from across Canada. 

  • Time and date: 5 p.m. CST/6 p.m EST, March 7, 2022
  • RACE-approved CE: 1.0 hour
  • Cost: free
  • Click here to register

Download poster

Past Events

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and the college's Centre for Applied Epidemiology are hosting a series of free public webinars from October 2020 to April 2021.

The webinar series replaces the Canadian Association of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (CAVEPM) annual conference that had to be cancelled earlier this year. In lieu of the in-person conference, the Centre for Applied Epidemiology is hosting invited speakers for online webinar presentations. 

Registration is required for these webinars. You can register for the series, selecting which events you would like to attend. Registration will be through the WebEx Events service hosted by the University of Saskatchewan. Phone-in options are not available; you will need to connect through your computer or mobile device (WebEx app).

Time and date: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. CST, July 28, 2020

  • Presenter: Dr. Petra Muellner, EPI-interactive
  • Topic: "Connecting data with people: from epidemiology to interfaces and beyond."

Time and date: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. CST, Oct. 7, 2020

  • Presenter: Dr. Nick Ogden, senior research scientist and director of Public Health Risk Sciences Division, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Topic: "Surveillance for vector-borne diseases — our needs in a changing climate."
  • Click here to view event notice

Time and date: 9 a.m. CST, Oct, 7, 2020

  • Presenter: Dr. Arjan Stegeman, professor, veterinary medicine, Utrecht University
  • Topic: "COVID-19 in farmed minks in the Netherlands."
  • Click here to view event notice

Time and date: 10 a.m. Local Time in Saskatoon, Nov. 21, 2020

  • Presenter: Dr. Phil Gauger, associate professor, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Iowa State University
  • Topic: "History, epidemiology and surveillance of influenza A virus in swine in the United States."
  • Click here to view event notice

Contact Us

Centre for Applied Epidemiology
Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK   S7N 5B4


Dr. Tasha Epp, Director
Dr. Sarah Parker, Assistant Director