The discipline of preventive medicine focuses on disease prevention and health promotion by identifying and reducing risk factors for development or transmission of disease. Public health is focused on protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. The primary goals of preventive medicine and public health are to prevent initial development of disease, detect early existing disease, and reduce complications of existing disease.
The preventive medicine and public health program at VCOM is centered in the College mission, to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health. With the guidance of expert faculty in this field, medical students have the opportunity to work in local communities and at our international clinics, providing education and researching opportunities to improve healthcare in underserved communities. Courses are taught by classroom lecture and small group modules targeting the Appalachian community and public health.