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Education Overview

Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases

Goal: Train the next generation of public health entomologists capable of rapidly detecting and responding to VBD outbreaks on the Gulf Coast and other regions of the U.S.

The Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases (WGCVBD) will develop two investments in education and training designed for multi-level delivery. One is for preparation of the next generation of public health entomologists through academic programs, and the second is for preparation of practitioners and municipalities for responding to threats of vectors and VBD. This design provides vertically integrated education and training with applications based throughout the community-state levels in collaboration with academic teaching and research institutions.

TAMU, UTMB, and UTRGV have robust programs with capacities for specific training in medical/veterinary entomology and related fields with a focus on vectors and vector-borne diseases. The Center will provide an educational bridge among these institutions and disciplines to recruit, retain and matriculate new scientists and practitioners. We propose two objectives to enhance long-term student education and training: 1) increase enrollment to meet a growing need for expertise in preventing and responding to VBD, and 2) enhance curricula by linking specific strengths among our programs. To sustain long-term student education and training beyond the expected life of this project, we will develop a curriculum for an academic Graduate Certificate in Public Health Entomology.

We will also capitalize upon our educational capacity to develop our Center-based education for in-service training of employees in the public and private sectors tasked with mosquito surveillance and abatement. The goal is to provide both long- and short-term training horizons composed of five topic relevant areas. The Center will support week-long regional training programs for state and local health departments, municipal institutions, and students from other universities within Texas, in vector surveillance, laboratory and field procedures, vector management strategies, and prevention and communications activities. Those completing the training will receive a Master Vector-Borne Disease Management Certification, pesticide and animal control CEUs, and will be qualified to teach other groups.