Virginia Tech®home

Infectious Disease Concentration

Upon completion of the MPH degree, graduates from the Infectious Disease concentration will demonstrate proficiency in the following competencies:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of infectious disease processes in individuals, including microbiology and pathogenesis of bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal organisms, and the host response.
  • Design effective communication strategies to convey infectious disease information to a variety of audiences.
  • Identify and evaluate the temporal and spatial dynamics of causes and risk factors for infectious diseases in populations.
  • Describe and analyze host, agent, and environmental dynamics, including ecological, genetic, economic and social factors for infectious disease transmission in populations.
  • Design interventions, policies, and procedures for control and prevention of infectious diseases in communities and populations, including sources, dissemination, antimicrobial resistance, vaccines, food and water safety, and hospital-based infections.
  • Develop evaluation plans for infection control and prevention applicable to broad variety of settings, from local community to global settings.
  • Critically evaluate global health challenges that contribute to persistence of neglected infectious diseases and emergence of new infectious diseases.
  • Apply public health and research concepts to One Health oriented interventions and studies, including the ability to critically assess current practices and research, define problems, and design strategies to eradicate and respond to infectious diseases.

Infectious Disease Concentration Courses

Students are required to take the following concentration courses:

Instructor: Andrea Bertke

Course Description: Principles of infectious diseases important for local, national, and global public health. Bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic pathogens; mechanisms of disease; host immune response to pathogens.

Instructor: Jennifer Zambriski

Course Description: Dynamics and determinants of infectious diseases and their assessment on the molecular to population continuum in a systems based approach. Infectious disease transmission mechanisms; population susceptibilities; environmental, social, cultural and economic contributors to infectious disease propagation; detection and surveillance; geographic information systems; epidemiologic study design; and infectious disease modeling.

Instructor: Audrey Ruple

Course Description: Assessment, policies, and procedures for control and prevention of infectious diseases in communities and populations. Sources, transmission mode, and local community to international dissemination of infectious disease agents; antimicrobial and chemical resistance; vaccine development, safety, and coverage; community and hospital based needs and interventions; and regulatory frameworks.

Infectious Disease Careers

  • Epidemiologist
  • Infection Preventionist
  • Disease Intervention Specialist
  • Infectious Disease Testing Coordinator

Public health efforts to combat infectious disease include collecting data about the symptoms people report and the diagnoses they receive, watching for unusual cases, and investigating outbreaks. When an outbreak occurs, public health infectious disease officials take action to inform the public, educate physicians, and develop policies and systems to contain the infection. 

Example responsibilities:

  • Investigating diseases, including collecting and analyzing health data through field research, observation, questionnaires and studies, and reporting findings, which can take the form of meetings or presentations to the public or policy makers.
  • Educating and training the community and healthcare workers to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
  • Applying knowledge of how and why communicable diseases spread to make recommendations on containment and treatment.