Five private practitioners are the first graduates from Purdue University's Veterinary Homeland Security Graduate Certificate Program.
Purdue started the long-distance program in 2006. The program currently has 82 students from 30 U.S. states and from foreign countries such as Singapore and Bermuda.
Purdue tailored the program to training full-time veterinarians in emergency prevention and response relevant to animal health. Students enhance their understanding of natural and intentional threats to animal health, strengthen skills in management of animal health emergencies, and develop problem-solving expertise to be effective members of an animal emergency response team.
Lectures are available continually online and on CD. Students must take nine credit hours to complete the certificate.
Dr. Cheryl F. Nelson of Versailles, Ky., said the program taught her how to help clients with biosecurity. She also is a consultant for the Woodford County Emergency management team and Kentucky Large Animal Emergency Rescue Group.
Dr. Karen T. Blakeley of Macomb, Ill., said she is readier to identify threats such as zoonoses and foreign animal diseases. She also noted that the certificate will add to her credentials if she pursues a second career in public health.
The other three graduates are Drs. Melinda Eaton of San Antonio; Daria S. Koym of Benton, Ky.; and Ronald D. Swiggum of St. Charles, Minn.
Additional information about the certificate program is available from Purdue's National Biosecurity Resource Center for Animal Health Emergencies .