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Meet Face of Food Safety Nisha Antoine: Lieutenant, Biologist, Volunteer, and Mother

Article / Review by on November 7, 2011 – 10:06 pmNo Comments

Meet Face of Food Safety Nisha Antoine: Lieutenant, Biologist, Volunteer, and Mother

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.

Lt. Nisha Antoine, in her U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, works at her desk in one of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s headquarters offices.Lt. Nisha Antoine, in her U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps uniform, works at her desk in one of the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s headquarters offices.

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.

by Catherine Cochran
Public Affairs Specialist
Food Safety and Inspection Service

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About United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Mission Statement 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.

Vision

The USDA want to be recognized as a dynamic organization that is able to efficiently provide the integrated program delivery needed to lead a rapidly evolving food and agriculture system.

Strategic Plan Framework 

USDA has created a strategic plan to implement its vision. The framework of this plan depends on these key activities: expanding markets for agricultural products and support international economic development, further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities, providing financing needed to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities and infrastructure in rural America, enhancing food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of foodborne hazards from farm to table, improving nutrition and health by providing food assistance and nutrition education and promotion, and managing and protecting America’s public and private lands working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector.

USDA Celebrates 150 Years

In 2012, USDA will commemorate and celebrate the 150th anniversary of our founding in 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture.

Two and one-half years later, in what would be his final annual message to the Congress, Lincoln called USDA “The People’s Department.” At that time, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared with about 2 percent today. But through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills Lincoln’s vision – touching the lives of every American, every day.

“As we commemorate 150 years of accomplishments, USDA is learning from past experiences and looking to the future. In the years to come, we must help address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America. We must continue to help provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world. To meet those goals, we are working to make USDA a more modern and effective service provider and to deliver the best possible results for all of the American people.”

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*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

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