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Food Animals feed the world

VMD-MBA Program


The combined VMD-MBA training program is designed to address the stark challenge of feeding over nine billion people by 2050 with limited resources of land and water, poor infrastructures, mounting inequality, and the uncertain effects of climate change.

Surmounting food insecurity for these multitudes can only be accomplished through efficient, productive, profitable, environmentally responsible, and economically sustainable food systems. These holistic challenges are especially germane to countries of the global South where economic development is lagging, populations are rising, and the threat of global warming is most urgent.

Questions About the VMD-MBA?

Want more information about the VMD-MBA Program? Contact us today.

Melanie Kirshenbaum VMD MBAMeet Melanie Kirshenbaum, V'17

Melanie is a fourth-year Penn Vet student with an interest in global health and agricultural development. She is a Cornell graduate (2008) in economics and international relations and worked with several international development organizations before pursuing her VMD.

She plans to pursue an MBA in recognition of the integrated nature of health, food and economic security and the opportunities for industry and multilateral organizations to manage stakeholders and resources in these fields. Her focus will be on economically and environmentally sustainable measures to address food security and disease risks in the face of rapidly shifting global challenges.

About the VMD-MBA Program

Cow ProfilesThe program brings together researchers from multiple academic disciplines from across the University of Pennsylvania and beyond, including:

  • Food industry leaders
  • Policy makers
  • Economists
  • Entrepreneurs

These individuals serve to inspire pioneering solutions and curricula for a new generation of students who think inclusively about human well being, food and nutritional needs, environmental health, economic growth, and the challenges of food security on a national and global scale.

Our Focus

Our focus is on the health and productivity of livestock and poultry as they can offer a vital foundation for improving the well being of rural populations, especially women, for transforming rural economies, and feeding the developing world’s rapidly growing urban populations thirsty for the crucial nutrients found in milk, meat and eggs.

Our Sponsors

The combined degree VMD-MBA training program is sponsored jointly by the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Animal Health and Productivity and the Wharton School of Business and supported by the Robert Marshak – Vernon Hill Scholarship Program. 

Training

Integrated training will emphasize innovative solutions to the complex business, health, environmental, and societal challenges associated with both intensive and small-scale livestock and poultry production in a global environment with a rapidly increasing demand for animal-sourced protein. 

A Joint Curriculum

The joint curriculum will provide graduates with a strong program in veterinary medicine and a solid business platform on the economics of  food security, systems design, leadership, finance, competitive strategy and marketing. Students will be required to develop projects that explore the applications of economic and business principles to the health and productivity of livestock industries and the issues of global food safety and security.

Students completing the combined program will receive VMD and MBA degrees and a Certificate in Food Animal Production Medicine.  Graduates will have unique qualifications for leadership roles in food animal agribusiness, government, non-governmental organizations, public health, research and academia.


Enrolling in the VMD-MBA Program

Student can enroll in the VMD/MBA by completing the following steps:

  • Send in a Statement of Intent to Lisa Dewald (ldewald@vet.upenn.edu)
  • Set up an interview with a member of the VMD-MBA Executive Committee to discuss their individual goals and to get insights into their eligibility for application
  • Identify a faculty mentor (Vet School, Wharton) who is familiar with the student’s interest as well the VMD/MBA program
  • Students must be accepted in the VMD program or have an equivalent degree AND be accepted into the Wharton MBA program.  Eligibility for scholarship aid will be determined by the VMD-MBA Executive Committee.
  • Field Application Project (FAP): This is a required element of the program that must be completed prior to the terminal year and must be eligible for publication (see below).
  • Required elective courses: In addition to the core course work required in the VMD and MBA programs as well as the electives associated with any major within the schools must take:
  • VCSN654 Veterinary Medicine Global Health and Food Security courses (Year 1 and 2)
  • VCSN633 Animal Health Economics
  • Entrepreneur … Corp Finance, OR….

Additionally, students must select at least 5 other elective courses that deal with aspects of Global Food Security from:

  • Food Safety
  • Animal Welfare
  • Pollution and Environmental protection
  • Ecology of infectious disease and disease dynamics
  • Wildlife ecology, disease, conservation
  • Sustainable Animal Production
  • Climate change and impacts on production and disease
  • Global Trade and regulation

Students must fully understand these requirements and be confident that they can cope with the additional demands of completing all the requirements.


Field Application Project

cows eatingThe Field Application Project is the culminating, absolute requirement for being awarded the VMD-MBA dual degree. This is the opportunity for the student to demonstrate the integration of the academic disciplines to a problem of significance in the public health sector. The students must identify a real world veterinary public health problem and offer a solution that is biologically feasible and economically efficient.

Students should participate in summer externships programs to work on the FAP. Appropriate examples include, but are not limited to:

  • CDC Fellowship
  • USDA
  • Aquavet
  • Envirovet
  • FDA
  • Wildlife Trust
  • PA Department of Health
  • Philadelphia Port Authority
  • Customs and Border Patrol Agency,
  • Chester County Department of Public Health
  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
  • UPenn Vet School Food Animal Fellowship

FAP Requirements

Students must provide (digitally to Lisa Dewald) by April of their terminal year:

  1. A PowerPoint Presentation that summarizes their project and can be published on the  VMD-MBA web page
  2. A paper describing the problem and the approaches taken in the format for publication  in an approved journal.  The journal selection should be in consultation with the faculty mentor.

The student will be required to present their findings in April of their Fourth Year to the VMD-MBA Advisory committee  and  VMD-MBA Executive committee and to other CVPH and VMD-MBA students at the annual meeting in May.

Examples of Project-Related Publications

  • Madison JB., Fetrow J., Galligan D.: Economic decisions in food animal practice: to treat or not to treat? Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 185(5): 520-1, Sep 1 1984.
  • Fetrow J., Madison JB., Galligan D.: Economic decisions in veterinary practice: a method for field use. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 186(8): 792-7, Apr 15 1985.
  • Parsons TD., Galligan DT., Dial G., Johnstone C.: Economic impact of urogenital diseases in the gilt: the use of portfolio theory to minimize economic risk associated with post-epidemic breeding management. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica - Supplement 84: 415-8, 1988.
  • Pitcher PM., Galligan DT.: Decision analysis and economic evaluation of the use of the rapid milk progesterone assay for early detection of pregnancy status of cows.[see comment] Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 197(12): 1586-90, Dec 15 1990.
  • Galligan, D.T., Chalupa, W., Ramberg, C.F. Jr.: Application of type I and II errors in dairy farm management decision making. Journal of dairy science 74(3) p: 902-910. Mar 1991.
  • Madison JB., Fetrow J., Galligan D.: Economic decisions in food animal practice: to treat or not to treat? Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 185(5): 520-1, Sep 1 1984.
  • Fetrow J., Madison JB., Galligan D.: Economic decisions in veterinary practice: a method for field use. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 186(8): 792-7, Apr 15 1985.
  • Parsons TD., Galligan DT., Dial G., Johnstone C.: Economic impact of urogenital diseases in the gilt: the use of portfolio theory to minimize economic risk associated with post-epidemic breeding management. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica - Supplement 84: 415-8, 1988.
  • Pitcher PM., Galligan DT.: Decision analysis and economic evaluation of the use of the rapid milk progesterone assay for early detection of pregnancy status of cows.[see comment] Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 197(12): 1586-90, Dec 15 1990.
  • Galligan, D.T., Chalupa, W., Ramberg, C.F. Jr.: Application of type I and II errors in dairy farm management decision making. Journal of dairy science 74(3) p: 902-910. Mar 1991.
  • Galligan DT., Ramberg C., Curtis C., Ferguson J., Fetrow J.: Application of portfolio theory in decision tree analysis. J Dairy Sci  74(7): 2138-44, Jul 1991.
  • Galligan, D.T., Ferguson, J., Chalupa, W., Ramberg, C.: An introduction to analysis to types I and II errors. Compendium on continuing education for the practicing veterinarian 13(9) p: 1471-1473, Sept 1991.
  • Galligan DT., Ferguson JD.: Application of linear programming in bull selection for a dairy herd.[see comment] J Am Vet Med Assoc  206(2): 173-6, Jan 15 1995.
  • Galligan, D.T., Ferguson, J., Ramberg, C.: Productivity, health and economics in dairy herds. Proceedings, IXth International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals 1995 : September 11-14, 1995, Free University of Berlin (32nd). p: 258-267, Sept 1995.
  • Galligan, D. T. [Author]; Huirne, R. B. M. [Author]; Dijkhuizen, A. A. [Author].: An application of dynamic programming to heifer management. J Dairy Sci  78(SUPPL. 1): 224. 1995.
  • Mourits, M. C. M. [Reprint author]; Huirne, R. B. M. [Reprint author]; Dijkhuizen, A. A. [Reprint author]; Galligan, D. T. [Author].: An optimization model to support dairy heifer management decisions. J Dairy Sci 81(SUPPL. 1): 250. 1998.
  • Davison S., Galligan D., Eckert TE., Ziegler AF., Eckroade RJ.: Economic analysis of an outbreak of avian influenza, 1997-1998. J Am Vet Med Assoc  214(8): 1164-7, Apr 15 1999.
  • Mourits, M. C. M. [Reprint author]; Huirne, R. B. M. [Author]; Dijkhuizen, A. A. [Author]; Galligan, D. T. [Author].: Optimal heifer management decisions and the influence of price and production variables. Livest. Prod. Sci. 60(1): 45-58. July 1 1999.
  • Mourits, M.C.M., Huirne, R.B.M., Dijkhuizen, A.A., Kristensen, A.R., Galligan, D.T.: Economic optimization of dairy heifer management decisions. Agricultural systems 61(1) p: 17-31, July 1999.
  • Mourits MC, Galligan DT, Dijkhuizen AA, Huirne RB.: Optimization of dairy heifer management decisions based on production conditions of Pennsylvania. J of Dairy Sci. 83(9): 1989-97, Sep 2000. PMCID: 11003228
  • Groenendaal, H. [Reprint author]; Galligan, D. T. [Reprint author].: Economic consequences of Johne's disease control programs on dairy herds in Pennsylvania. J Dairy Sci 84(Supplement 1): 153. 2001.
  • Groenendaal, H. [Reprint author]; Galligan, D. T. [Reprint author].: Real options analysis applied to dairy cow breeding and replacement decisions. J Dairy Sci 84(Supplement 1): 26. 2001.
  • Groenendaal H., Nielen M., Jalvingh AW., Horst SH., Galligan DT., Hesselink JW.: A simulation of Johne's disease control. Prev Vet Med  54(3): 225-45, Jul 25 2002. PMCID: 12114011
  • Galligan, D. T. [Author]; Groenendaal, H. [Author]; Ferguson, J. D. [Author]; Azzaro, G. [Author].: Real option analysis to evaluate products used in dairy production. J Dairy Sci 85(Supplement 1): 180, 2002.
  • Groenendaal H., Galligan DT.: Economic consequences of control programs for paratuberculosis in midsize dairy farms in the United States. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 223(12): 1757-63, Dec 15 2003. PMCID: 14690205
  • Groenendaal H., Galligan DT., Mulder HA.: An economic spreadsheet model to determine optimal breeding and replacement decisions for dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci 87(7): 2146-57, Jul 2004. PMCID: 15328228
  • McConnel MB., Galligan DT.: The use of integer programming to select bulls across breeding companies with volume price discounts. J Dairy Sci 87(10): 3542-9, Oct 2004. PMCID: 15377634
  • Groenendaal, H., Galligan, D.T.: Making informed culling decisions. Advances in dairy technology : proceedings of the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar 17(17) p: 333-344, 2005.
  • TR Hansen, DT Galligan: Strategies for Early Diagnosis of Open/Pregnant Cows: Current Status, Econoimcal Implications. 2007 Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council. William Thatcher, Ellen Jordan (eds.). November 2-3: 93, 2007.
  • D Galligan, J Ferguson, R Munson, D Remsburg: A New Health Care Delivery System and the Economics of Utilizing Veterinary Technicians. The AABP Proceedings Vol 42 42: 156, September 2009.
  • D Galligan, J Ferguson, R Munson, D Remsburg, A Skidmore: Economic Concepts Regarding Early Pregnancy Testing. The AABP Proceedings Vol 42 Sept 2009 42: 48, September 2009.
  • Remsburg DW, Galligan DT, Ferguson JD.  : Use of decision analysis to evaluate  the delivery method of veterinary health care  on dairy farms as measured by correction  of left displaced abomasum. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 238(1): 60-5, Jan 2011. PMCID: 21194322
  • Remsburg, DW,  Galligan, DT,  Ferguson, JD: Veterinary care in the food animal industry response. Javma-journal Of The American Veterinary Medical Association 238(5): 561-562, MAR 1 2011.
  • Albert De Vries, Karun Kaniyamattam, and David Galligan: Weighted Cost of Capital on Florida Dairies. Proceedings 48th Florida Dairy Production Conference, Gainesville, March 21, 2012 11 48'th: 11, 2012.
  • Galligan DT., Ramberg C., Curtis C., Ferguson J., Fetrow J.: Application of portfolio theory in decision tree analysis. J Dairy Sci  74(7): 2138-44, Jul 1991.
  • Galligan, D.T., Ferguson, J., Chalupa, W., Ramberg, C.: An introduction to analysis to types I and II errors. Compendium on continuing education for the practicing veterinarian 13(9) p: 1471-1473, Sept 1991.
  • Galligan DT., Ferguson JD.: Application of linear programming in bull selection for a dairy herd.[see comment] J Am Vet Med Assoc  206(2): 173-6, Jan 15 1995.
  • Galligan, D.T., Ferguson, J., Ramberg, C.: Productivity, health and economics in dairy herds. Proceedings, IXth International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals 1995 : September 11-14, 1995, Free University of Berlin (32nd). p: 258-267, Sept 1995.
  • Galligan, D. T. [Author]; Huirne, R. B. M. [Author]; Dijkhuizen, A. A. [Author].: An application of dynamic programming to heifer management. J Dairy Sci  78(SUPPL. 1): 224. 1995.
  • Mourits, M. C. M. [Reprint author]; Huirne, R. B. M. [Reprint author]; Dijkhuizen, A. A. [Reprint author]; Galligan, D. T. [Author].: An optimization model to support dairy heifer management decisions. J Dairy Sci 81(SUPPL. 1): 250. 1998.
  • Davison S., Galligan D., Eckert TE., Ziegler AF., Eckroade RJ.: Economic analysis of an outbreak of avian influenza, 1997-1998. J Am Vet Med Assoc  214(8): 1164-7, Apr 15 1999.
  • Mourits, M. C. M. [Reprint author]; Huirne, R. B. M. [Author]; Dijkhuizen, A. A. [Author]; Galligan, D. T. [Author].: Optimal heifer management decisions and the influence of price and production variables. Livest. Prod. Sci. 60(1): 45-58. July 1 1999.
  • Mourits, M.C.M., Huirne, R.B.M., Dijkhuizen, A.A., Kristensen, A.R., Galligan, D.T.: Economic optimization of dairy heifer management decisions. Agricultural systems 61(1) p: 17-31, July 1999.
  • Mourits MC, Galligan DT, Dijkhuizen AA, Huirne RB.: Optimization of dairy heifer management decisions based on production conditions of Pennsylvania. J of Dairy Sci. 83(9): 1989-97, Sep 2000. PMCID: 11003228
  • Groenendaal, H. [Reprint author]; Galligan, D. T. [Reprint author].: Economic consequences of Johne's disease control programs on dairy herds in Pennsylvania. J Dairy Sci 84(Supplement 1): 153. 2001.
  • Groenendaal, H. [Reprint author]; Galligan, D. T. [Reprint author].: Real options analysis applied to dairy cow breeding and replacement decisions. J Dairy Sci 84(Supplement 1): 26. 2001.
  • Groenendaal H., Nielen M., Jalvingh AW., Horst SH., Galligan DT., Hesselink JW.: A simulation of Johne's disease control. Prev Vet Med  54(3): 225-45, Jul 25 2002. PMCID: 12114011
  • Galligan, D. T. [Author]; Groenendaal, H. [Author]; Ferguson, J. D. [Author]; Azzaro, G. [Author].: Real option analysis to evaluate products used in dairy production. J Dairy Sci 85(Supplement 1): 180, 2002.
  • Groenendaal H., Galligan DT.: Economic consequences of control programs for paratuberculosis in midsize dairy farms in the United States. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 223(12): 1757-63, Dec 15 2003. PMCID: 14690205
  • Groenendaal H., Galligan DT., Mulder HA.: An economic spreadsheet model to determine optimal breeding and replacement decisions for dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci 87(7): 2146-57, Jul 2004. PMCID: 15328228
  • McConnel MB., Galligan DT.: The use of integer programming to select bulls across breeding companies with volume price discounts. J Dairy Sci 87(10): 3542-9, Oct 2004. PMCID: 15377634
  • Groenendaal, H., Galligan, D.T.: Making informed culling decisions. Advances in dairy technology : proceedings of the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar 17(17) p: 333-344, 2005.
  • TR Hansen, DT Galligan: Strategies for Early Diagnosis of Open/Pregnant Cows: Current Status, Econoimcal Implications. 2007 Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council. William Thatcher, Ellen Jordan (eds.). November 2-3: 93, 2007.
  • D Galligan, J Ferguson, R Munson, D Remsburg: A New Health Care Delivery System and the Economics of Utilizing Veterinary Technicians. The AABP Proceedings Vol 42 42: 156, September 2009.
  • D Galligan, J Ferguson, R Munson, D Remsburg, A Skidmore: Economic Concepts Regarding Early Pregnancy Testing. The AABP Proceedings Vol 42 Sept 2009 42: 48, September 2009.
  • Remsburg DW, Galligan DT, Ferguson JD.  : Use of decision analysis to evaluate  the delivery method of veterinary health care  on dairy farms as measured by correction  of left displaced abomasum. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 238(1): 60-5, Jan 2011. PMCID: 21194322
  • Remsburg, DW,  Galligan, DT,  Ferguson, JD: Veterinary care in the food animal industry response. Javma-journal Of The American Veterinary Medical Association 238(5): 561-562, MAR 1 2011.
  • Albert De Vries, Karun Kaniyamattam, and David Galligan: Weighted Cost Capital on Florida Dairies. Proceedings 48th Florida Dairy Production Conference, Gainesville, March 21, 2012 11 48'th: 11, 2012.

Governance of the VMD/MBA Program

The Director of the program is Dr David Galligan who will chair the Executive Committee which is responsible for admissions to the program, scholarship eligibility, web page, curriculum,  FAP project oversight, and the day to day affairs of the program. The administrative assistant is Ms Lisa Dewald.  Members of this committee will be from the faculties at the Veterinary School and Wharton School.

Current Members of the Executive Committee

  • Dr. David Galligan
  • Dr. Alan Kelly
  • Dr. James Ferguson
  • Dr. Zhengxia Dou
  • Wharton Faculty

The Executive Committee is advised by a Steering Committee.  The Steering committee will be composed of invited members from the Penn large community.  This committee will meet annually at Penn to review the program and identify and needed changes.  This committee will also give advice on securing additional funds.

Current Members of the Steering Committee

  • Chair: Vernon Hill
  • Dr. David Galligan
  • Dr. Alan Kelly
  • Dr. Robert Marshak
  • Wharton Faculty
  • Graduates of the program