University of Saskatchewan

Western College of Veterinary Medicine


Epidemiology, Food Safety and Public Health

Over the past four decades, many WCVM faculty members have conducted studies that link animal and human health issues such as the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, monitoring and surveillance of infectious and parasitic diseases, vaccinology and immune response to infection, and antimicrobial resistance in animal species and humans.

That expertise is the basis for a number of successful research collaborations with the Saskatoon Health Region, provincial health and agriculture departments, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada. WCVM researchers also collaborate with other scientists at colleges and research institutions on campus including the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Nutrition. As well, WCVM's involvement in regional and national organizations like the Centre for Coastal Health in B.C., the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre and the Canadian Global Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (CgFARAD) system are instrumental in developing research initiatives that address some of today's most pressing public health issues.

In the past few years, these partnerships have led to many novel investigations including studies of West Nile virus, Cryptococcus gattii, avian influenza, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, chronic wasting disease, Johne's disease, antimicrobial resistance issues in food animals, food safety measures at the farmgate and industry levels, plus the development of better disease surveillance and monitoring methods in food animals and wildlife.

Another key aspect of WCVM's enhanced public health focus is its involvement in the new U of S School of Public Health. The two-year Master of Public Health program was developed by an interdisciplinary team of people from WCVM, the Colleges of Medicine and Nursing, and the Saskatoon Health Region. The U of S initiative was the first in the country with established links to a veterinary college.

Dr. Sarah Parker, On-Farm Food Safety Chair