Hello, I’m Dr. Jose Lozada. I joined the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2005 as a field veterinarian in Puerto Rico and, after a year and a half with the agency, I took my current position with the Veterinary Regulatory Support.
My job here is providing risk advice to our Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance officers, to help them prioritize activities and justify seizures and recalls to prevent foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. I also participate in the Military Agricultural Preclearance Program, ran jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense.
As an adolescent, I was undecided about my future career. Then came the “Aha!” moment… Having grown up on a farm, I was inspired by my grandfather, who taught me to love and care for animals, and so I decided to become a veterinarian.
One of the greatest experiences of my veterinary career happened in 2003, when I served as a military veterinarian in Iraq. I was assigned to a Civil Affairs public health team, made up of physicians, environmental scientists, medics and veterinary personnel. Our team dealt with public health and veterinary health issues. One of our key accomplishments was establishing a clinic at the Baghdad Zoo and training the staff to use all of the necessary equipment.
Veterinary medicine has many career options. The people you meet in this field are strongly motivated individuals. Their motivations are deeply personal, after all you get to help animals that don’t always have someone to defend or help them. I am proud to be a veterinarian and serve my country – first in the military and now at USDA.
APHIS and USDA are joining with organizations around the world to celebrate World Veterinary Year by highlighting the work of veterinarians on the USDA blog. This post is part of a series underscoring the important and diverse work of APHIS veterinarians. Check back each Thursday as we showcase the work of a different veterinarian.