Nisha Antoine has always understood the relationship between personal health and public health. As a child with asthma, she spent a lot of time in the emergency room, and she was inspired by her doctors and nurses to want to take care of other children as an adult. From elementary school through college, Nisha enjoyed studying biology, a path she knew would eventually lead to a career of caring for others.
At her mother’s suggestion, Nisha applied for and received a scholarship through the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Nisha worked in the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Office of Public Health Science during summer while earning a bachelor’s degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine/Animal Science and a minor in Biology, and she joined the agency full-time after graduating in 1999. In 2006, Nisha earned a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from George Washington University, and in 2007 she joined the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, an elite team of more than 6,500 public health professionals dedicated to delivering the nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science.
At FSIS, Nisha works as a biologist on a team that develops and manages the agency’s microbiological baseline studies and reports, and she is also a microbiological technical expert and liaison between the government and contracting vendors. She says she enjoys her additional work with USPHS, which has earned her the title Lieutenant Nisha Antoine, because “I no longer just fulfill the food safety mission. I now fulfill a mission that incorporates all aspects of public health.”
Dedicated to protecting public health not only for her generation but for generations to come, Nisha volunteers her time at community hospitals and says of being a mother to two young sons, “If they grow up being compassionate and caring people who make a difference in people’s lives, I will have done a good job.”
Faces of Food Safety is an initiative by FSIS to introduce Americans to the real people who work everyday to keep the food in their own homes and yours safe. Click to read more about Nisha and other Faces of Food Safety.