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.
- Dr. Tasha Epp, Associate Professor – Zoonoses and Epidemiology, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, WCVM, U of S
- Dr. Sarah Parker, Research Associate - LACS, WCVM, U of S
- Dr. John Campbell, Professor - LACS, WCVM U of S
- Dr. Cheryl Waldner, Professor - LACS, WCVM, U of S
- Dr. Hugh Townsend, Professor Emeritus - LACS, WCVM, U of S
- Dr. Tasha Epp, Associate Professor - LACS, WCVM, U of S
- Dr. Murray Jelinski, Professor - LACS, WCVM, U of S. Alberta Chair in Beef Cattle Health and Production Medicine
- 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
Graduate training in epidemiology
Epidemiology-focused training and research studies for graduates, Masters of Veterinary Science (with a clinical residency), Masters of Science, and Doctorates of Philosophy occurs at the WCVM through various faculty in the LACS department. Projects cover a wide range of topics including animal health, public health and wildlife/environmental health.
The University of Saskatchewan is preparing to take bold new steps in the study and control of disease in animal health with a new Master of Science degree program in field epidemiology.
The Centre offers a select number of workshops every year. These workshops focus on applied aspects of research, such as data management, diagnostic testing and outbreak investigation.
Members of the WCVM Centre for Applied Epidemiology have ongoing research projects:
New research projects
Companion Animal Surveillance Initiative for the Prairie Provinces
Historically, animals have been great sentinels for assessing human health risks, serving as accessible populations to monitor altered risk levels due to changing environmental drivers. While it is estimated that 50 to 60 per cent of urban households in Canada contain at least one companion animal, there is currently no active surveillance of this population.
This project will develop and establish a Companion Animal Surveillance Initiative (starting with dogs) within the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, focusing on identifying and disseminating information to both animal and public health stakeholders.
The first steps in the project are underway, which includes identifying and narrowing down to only a few important zoonotic and canine specific pathogens of interest to follow in the first years of the project.
Click here to view a document listing zoonotic pathogens that have occurred in Canada and where the dog plays a role in understanding disease occurrence. Only a select few on this list will be selected through a ranking process.
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.