Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Veterinary Student Externship Program


The Veterinary Public Health Program (VPH) accepts veterinary students for a four-week (minimum) long externship at our office in Downtown Los Angeles. Students will learn about applying One Health concepts at a local jurisdiction as part of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH).


At this time, only students from California colleges/universities are eligible for acceptance. 

Please do not apply if you are not currently enrolled in a California college/university. 

Student acceptance also depends on office space availability and background checks of applicants.


Before applying


Before applying, please check the requirements below:


  • Duration. The minimum duration of externships is 4 weeks. There may be opportunities to also volunteer with VPH for longer periods of time.

  • Academic credits. In order to receive credits for the externships, students must be enrolled at an approved California university (scroll down to 'Who Qualifies'). Students from non-approved universities are welcome to volunteer with VPH but will not be eligible to receive academic credits.

  • Application period and background check. Please contact VPH 6-12 months in advance of your planned date for externship. Every extern or volunteer will go through a background check (this may take several months to complete) and receive a DPH badge.

  • Driving and parking. Although not required, it is strongly encouraged that students drive their own car in order to maximize their participation in field activities. Parking fees are $8/day or $150 for a monthly pass.

  • Flexibility and self-directed learning. Students will work on multiple projects simultaneously. They are expected to organize their time accordingly and possess strong self-directed learning skills.


What students will do


Students' experiences will vary depending on current priorities. Summer months (June-September) are busier, which can provide students and volunteers with more to do.  However, in the other months there are usually more opportunities to have one-on-one time with veterinarians. Student activities will include:


  • One Health presentation. All veterinary students present on a relevant One Health topic to public health staff (field workers, nurses, physicians, veterinarians). Presentation topics must be approved by VPH's director and use DPH Microsoft Power Point slide templates. In addition, students also design a flyer for advertising the presentation.

  • Field work. Field activities depend on on-going disease situations. Most field investigations consist of: quarantine checks at local shelters, animal import inspections at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), visits to the Public Health Laboratory, outbreak/disease investigations.

  • Epidemiology. Students will be expected to become familiar with basic epidemiology concepts and may participate in survey design and administration, data collection, and analysis.

  • Communications. Student externs are assigned to develop communications materials such as: educational flyers, webpages, social media posts, press releases and more.

  • One-on-one time with content experts. Students will meet with each veterinarian at VPH to go over the work they do. In addition, they may also interact with other health professionals within the Department.


How to apply


Please send a copy of your résumé and a cover letter detailing your experiences and interests 6-12 months in advance of your planned externship to:


Student preparation


Please review the documents below and take the following trainings prior to starting with VPH.




Last updated: 2/19/2020

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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