VEP Veterinary Epidemiologist & Para-Epidemiologist Program in the Caribbean

The Veterinary Epidemiologist/Para-Epidemiologist Project (VEP) is a regional project aimed at strengthening veterinary infrastructure in the Caribbean basin.  The project focuses on enabling risk-based, epidemiologically-sound surveillance for priority animal diseases in the Caribbean through the training and professional development of veterinary epidemiologists or para-epidemiologists.  The project currently involves ten participants from ten different islands: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.  Project participants have received training in basic epidemiology, the use of geo-spatial tools for animal health surveillance, emergency response and preparedness, animal health surveillance, public-private partnerships and animal health policy, and the use of epidemiologic studies to inform policy, through a series of short courses and hands-on training activities.  In addition, participants were required to design, develop, and implement an epidemiologic study under the direct mentorship of an established epidemiologist.   Project participants have been involved in numerous activities designed to improve emergency response to animal-disease related incidents in their respective countries including: a field simulation for an outbreak of HPAI in Trinidad, field simulations conducted in the Dominican Republic focused on determining the source and extent of an outbreak of a highly contagious disease of swine, and a table-top disease simulation in the US Virgin Islands which focused on inter-agency communication and coordination during an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever. The VEP project is funded by the USDA APHIS International Services.  Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), USDA APHIS IS, and the French Agricultural Development Agency (CIRAD) serve as the technical coordinators of the VEP project. In addition, the Caribbean Animal Health Network (CaribVet) serves as a regional coordinator of the project, ensuring that the project continues to meet the needs of the Caribbean region as a whole. For more information, please contact Dr. Amy Delgado at IICA or Dr. Jorge Hernandez at the University of Florida.