April 21, 2017


By Patricia Crystal

Today was a marathon. It started with a phone call with APHIS International Services. This is an opportunity for veterinarians to get involved at the international level by serving as diplomats and a resource to Ambassadors overseas. With my interest in moving abroad, I was curious to find out more details about the program. After you are accepted, there is a formal training program where veterinarians are exposed to all sectors of APHIS to ensure they understand the missions and goals of each department. After training, you are assigned to a post where you work alongside other diplomats, as well as those hired from the local country. It is definitely something I am considering, and I am glad I had the opportunity to learn more about it.

I then went to the USDA building on the Mall for a meeting with FSIS veterinarians. It was fascinating to understand their role in food safety and public health. On an international level, they work with other countries in order to ensure our exports and imports meet the regulatory requirements. I also learned about their involvement in food recalls, as they are the agency involved for any meat or meat product related outbreak.

From there I took the metro up to FDA to learn about food outbreak and response – this time with non-meat items. The FDA is involved with traceability once an outbreak occurs, working alongside other agencies such as the CDC to determine the source. As a fan of epidemiology, I find the tracing process to be fascinating.

I’m looking forward to another weekend to explore D.C.!