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Laura Hungerford named head of the Department of Population Health Sciences

December 7, 2016

Laura Hungerford
Laura Hungerford

Laura Hungerford, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has been named professor and head of the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

A veterinarian and epidemiologist, Hungerford previously served as a professor and vice chair for academic programs in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

In her new post, she will oversee the Department of Population Health Sciences, which houses the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program, the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, the Center for Public Health Practice and Research, international student exchange programs, veterinary student teaching, and research related to human and animal health.

She will also work with clinical researchers and medical students at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke.

“Dr. Hungerford is eminently well-qualified to lead the Department of Population Health Sciences,” said Cyril Clarke, dean of the veterinary college. “She has developed an impressive record of scholarship and research collaborations addressing multifactorial infectious diseases. As an accomplished veterinarian, public health specialist, and epidemiologist, she brings to the college an advanced understanding of the complexity of diseases that are transmitted from wildlife to humans and domestic animals. Her appointment involves a joint commitment by our college and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, which will facilitate her engagement with exciting developments involving health sciences and technology programs in Blacksburg and Roanoke.”

Hungerford completed both a bachelor’s degree in veterinary science and a doctor of veterinary medicine from Michigan State University. She then completed a food animal internship, training in diagnostic microbiology, and a Ph.D. in veterinary epidemiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois. She also received an M.P.H. in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Illinois School of Public Health.

After starting her career at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and at the University of Nebraska Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, Hungerford joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

There, she held numerous positions, including professor of epidemiology, director of the veterinary public health and epidemiology concentrations in the M.P.H. program, and director of the graduate program in epidemiology and human genetics. She held a joint appointment, starting in 2002, as a senior advisor for science and policy in the New Animal Drug Evaluation Office at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

“Virginia Tech and the Maryland/Virginia area provide exceptional opportunities to engage with regional, national, and international partners for One Health and transdisciplinary work,” Hungerford said. “I’m thrilled to have this leadership role in expanding the innovative teaching, research, and service accomplishments of the Department of Population Health Sciences.”

Hungerford has been active in teaching a wide range of epidemiology and public health courses to graduate and veterinary students, as well as providing continuing education for veterinarians and other health professionals.

She is a member of numerous professional associations and was recently elected as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the National Academies of Practice.

Hungerford is also past president of the Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases. She is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, and Nebraska and is certified by the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

Hungerford’s current research involves collaborative studies of animal-related risk factors for infectious and zoonotic diseases and predictors for drug effectiveness and safety problems. She is also interested in application of techniques for geographic information systems, spatial statistical analysis, and dynamic modeling to multidisciplinary health problems.

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