Mike Garcia - Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

With Dr. Susan T. Mayne, YSPH C.E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology, who was recently named director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Career goal: To create and advocate for national policies that can increase the availability, affordability and safety of healthy foods.

Internship outline: Mike spent his summer working at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the heart of the federal government’s food regulation. Fully immersed into the various branches of the agency, Mike spent time working on promotion planning for food safety and nutrition education materials, developing a literature review on source tracking of water contamination and observing policy meetings with stakeholders and interest groups. All of which served to further the FDA’s mission of protecting and promoting public health.

Value of experience: As a first glimpse into the federal government, the exposure to how a regulatory agency operates was priceless. Working among the brilliant scientists and public service workers that keep the nation’s food supply safe was an immensely insightful experience. Having this perspective on a government agency helped me better understand the importance and challenges of the government’s role in regulation. A primary takeaway was that policy-making process is not done in a vacuum, and sound science, alongside responsible economic considerations, is paramount to improving public health.

Best moment/experience: Sitting in on high-level meetings with industry representatives was a highlight of this internship. These real world food safety and nutrition issues are complex and the considerations that every decision entails are endlessly fascinating.

Funding source: Laurence and Judith Weiss Resource Fund Fellowship