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questions about shadowing and public health experience

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by canis13, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. canis13

    canis13 Tufts V'15
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    Vet school is a couple of years off for me, because I'm a junior in undergrad, and will need to take at least a year to finish pre-reqs and get enough experience (and so am looking at taking 2 years off in total). But it's been a year and a half since my last vet job (kennel worker at a ****ty SA hospital), and I'm realizing that it would probably behoove me to start working again. So with that said, I have a couple of questions.

    I go to a school that is said to have one of the hardest workloads for undergraduates. Next year I'll be working on my (mandatory for graduation) thesis. So I'm a little hesitant about committing to a job that may compromise the time I have for academics. I was thinking about at least trying to set up some shadowing, but I was wondering if there are people out there who decided not to work at a vet job during undergrad so that they wouldn't compromise their much needed study time.

    Are most veterinarians familiar with pre-vet students asking to shadow them? I think one of the things I hate most in life is asking for jobs, and the idea that I'd be asking someone if I can follow them around like an annoying younger sibling while they try to go about their job doesn't seem very appealing. I realize I'm going to have to get over myself and just go ask for shadowing opportunities, but I'm wondering if someone can dispel my fears of them looking at me like I'm crazy and bothering them.

    And finally - I'm really interested in pursuing a career in veterinary public health, and am looking at some combined DVM/MPH programs (mostly Colorado State and Tufts). Tufts website doesn't really say anything about having experience in public health, but Colorado State's website said that "Previous experience in advanced academic studies related to Public Health, Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology, and related fields is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and preference will be given to those with more extensive experiences." So I'm thinking that besides taking a course or two in epidemiology and/or public health, I should try to get some practical experience involving veterinarian public health, and was wondering if anyone had any advice for what types of jobs I should be looking to get. Or by “extensive experiences” is Col. State referring more to just the academic aspect?
     
  2. cozycleo

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    I'm not working at a vet job. I used to work in law and now work retail and all of my experience has been volunteer work so far.

    I have an interest in a DVM/MPH as well, and I've been trying to figure out what would be the best way to get some experience there. I can't work for the Dept of Health because I have to be earning college credit for their intern program, and I don't qualify as a non-trad who is not currently admitted to a formal program. I think large animal or food animal experience would be vital though. That's actually something I'm working on getting right now too.
     
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  3. thereservoirdog

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    I've been wondering the same thing about getting public health experience. I've worked on a project studying infectious disease, but I'm not sure if that would even count. I'm guessing CSU is looking for work with food or lab animals. I have no idea.

    As for your first question about working while in school, I would suggest that you get a job, or at least volunteer. They want to see that you can manage your time, and while your undergrad school might be hard, it's not going to be anywhere near as hard as vet school.
     
  4. VetGirl87

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    I'm not sure I can help you with the whole Public Health thing (I'm definitely curious now as to what they do mean by Public Health experience), but about the whole shadowing thing: I completely understand where you are coming from, I hate being that person too. Veterinarians are definitely used to hearing these requests and are more often than not, happy to have you there. It gives them a chance to advertise and brag about their profession. They went through the same stuff we are going through and are well aware of how the whole process works. In the end hopefully you'll learn a lot, and you never know, creating this contact could provide a job opportunity. Hope this helps some. :)
     
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  5. VUprevetbubsy

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    I too have an interest in the DVM/MPH...will be going into the Air Force hopefully using more MPH there, then when I get out going into regular practice.

    For vet public health experiences, I suggest going to some sort of public/government agency. Previously, I worked with my county's forest preserve on a study with turtles and how they affect the water supply to the County.
    Vet public health experience is hard to come by, but basic public health is not too bad. Work for the American Red Cross (I help with disaster management and disease prevention in disaster areas) or try your Dept. of Health. Even if you test water in lakes all summer...its the basics of public health... Or if you have a military base around, try to get their summer job listings. (I worked in Misawa, Japan for a month shadowing Public Health Officers)

    Hope this helps, best of luck!
     
  6. LadyHitokiri

    LadyHitokiri UIUC CVM Class of 2013!
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    Do you have a State Public Health Veterinarian? There should be one in every state usually located at that state's Department of Public Health. Even if you have to travel a little bit and stay at a hotel for a few days, it's worth it to shadow/volunteer for them for a week. (I did, for the Illinois State Public Health Vet). You can see how they have to handle many different situations and probably can listen in on conference calls that encompass many states and the CDC, USDA, etc. and get to work on/be involved with current cases. It's an easy way to at least tell the adcoms, "hey, I'm interested in this field!"

    There may be more local departments that have public health officers with animal science degrees or even other DVMs I'm sure, so that may be another option too. But I'd say definitely try to at least get the aforementioned shadowing/volunteering experience, during the summer if need be. Good luck!
     
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    canis13

    canis13 Tufts V'15
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    Thanks for the helpful replies!
    I already have some large animal experience, but definitely plan on getting more of that, possibly at Penn's New Bolton center, because I live about an hour from there. I think I'm going to end up being an applicant with lots of "breadth" in experience rather than "depth".
    LadyHitokiri - I'm really glad to hear that you were able to shadow your state's public health vet. I was thinking about trying to get a job or internship with the state department, but was put off by the idea because I figured I was too underqualified. But it seems much more do-able to get my foot in the door as a shadower/volunteer.
    Red Cross disaster management is also a good idea.
     

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