Minden Buswell | Veterinary Pioneers Fund
Minden Buswell, DVM, ’13 MPH, first fell in love with animals while growing up on a hobby farm in Sparta, Wisc. “I was also a dedicated 4-H member for 10 years,” she says. “That was where I gained an interest and respect for agriculture and animal production systems.”
Buswell majored in Animal Science-Natural Science and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then went on to complete her DVM at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. During her internship at Wisconsin Equine Clinic Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wis., the practice became heavily involved in fighting a foreign animal disease outbreak, Contagious Equine Metritis. During this time, Buswell was able to participate in helping control the transmission of this disease and had the opportunity to work with state and federal animal health officials and epidemiologists. It was this glimpse into the larger role veterinarians can play in animal and public health that helped Buswell direct her career toward veterinary public health.
Buswell then completed her masters of public health at the University of Minnesota, while simultaneously practicing mixed animal medicine back in Sparta. Seeking more experience in veterinary public health and food safety, she applied to be a Veterinary Public Health and Preventative Medicine resident at the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS).
In 2013—during Buswell’s residency―the Pioneer Fund made it possible for her to attend a week-long Farm to Table study program in Chile, presented by the Inter-American Cooperation on Agriculture, the University of Chile, the University of Minnesota, and The Ohio State University. While in Chile, Buswell got to explore the Chilean food system from farm-to-table while considering aspects of animal welfare and health, food safety, food protection, and public health.
Buswell and her fellow participants―hailing from Minnesota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Chile―traveled to eight processing plants, markets, and farms all over Chile, which included beef and dairy processors, fish markets and processors, and poultry processors. “I was exposed to a variety of Chilean productions systems, including beef, dairy, poultry, and seafood,” Buswell says. “Comparing and contrasting these production systems to the United States has given me a unique perspective on global food systems that I would not have acquired had I not participated.”
She says the program also provided a chance to network. “Not only do you get to know people on a professional level, but also on personnel level, which goes a long way in helping to understand cultural differences and, ultimately, differences in global food systems.”
Today, Buswell works for the Animal Services Division of the Washington State Department of Agriculture. As a reserve veterinary corps coordinator and epidemiologist, she maintains and coordinates the state's Reserve Veterinary Corps―made up of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other animal health professionals―to effectively aid the state's response in the event of an adverse animal health emergency.
“My experience in Chile helped me understand how interconnected our global agriculture production is and the importance of fostering good international trade relations,” Buswell says. “I am very proud to be a small part of this larger picture and I am grateful and honored to have been chosen as the first Pioneer Fund recipient.”