Approximately halfway through third year (January 2013), I started questioning myself. Admittedly it was likely earlier than this. What happened to my work ethic? Why do I dread my alarm clock going off? I used to be someone who was ready to get the day started and always early. At this point, I was not that person. I somehow successfully managed to get through the rest of the semester. My first rotation was large animal emergency medicine, which I wrote about in a previous blog. What was next?
Ciao from Roma! I am currently writing from Rome, Italy, where I will be completing an externship for the next 10 weeks. I have been fortunate enough to secure a position with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which is headquartered in Rome. I cannot summarize everything they do or my tasks in one blog (so check back!), but here is a short introduction.
FAO has many different divisions, and I am in the Animal Production and Health Division. The main goal is to be a resource for information, support, disease monitoring, and (in some cases) crisis management during a disease outbreak or disaster. One of my tasks is to be monitoring places such as the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) for updates on disease outbreaks. We then evaluate the outbreak based on many principles. Some include 1) location, 2) is the disease endemic (established) in that country or brand new, 3) species, 4) number of animals, 5) do these animals contribute to the livelihood or food system in this country, etc. We make maps, write synopses, make contact with animal health officials in that country, and then present to the larger group at FAO that works in these areas.
I am truly appreciative of this opportunity and the two weeks I have spent here so far. I wake up before my alarm clock. I arrive to work early — usually (if you know anything about Rome public transportation). Now I remember what brought me to veterinary school, what excites me, and how much veterinarians can contribute to society across the globe.