James Lee, ’03 DVM, ’15 MPH, was awarded funding from the Veterinary Pioneers in Public Health Fund in 2014, which he used to travel to Costa Rica for a Farm to Table program. With major career interests in food safety of imported foods, Lee says that Costa Rica was an excellent study site for these topics, as they export many products to the U.S. “The Farm to Table Study Program offered a unique experience to understand some of the food safety challenges with seafood destined for export,” he says.
The program also helped Lee meet his goals of developing a deeper understanding of tropical animal agricultural practices and building new networking relationships with public health professionals from around the globe. “Perspectives from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds added a unique depth to the experience,” he says.
Now, Lee is an epidemiologist veterinary medical officer for USDA APHIS Veterinary Services in Des Moines, Iowa. He previously worked as a supervisory public health veterinarian for the USDA in Postville, Iowa, after he concluded his veterinary public health residency at the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety in 2015.
“The financial support provided through the Pioneer Fund is helping to create a rich, diverse training program for veterinary public health residents,” says Lee, “and my participation would not have been possible without this generous support.”