Eileen Huang - Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at YSPH 
David Dull Internship Fund

Career goal: To work as a veterinary epidemiologist, using the One Health approach to improve quality of life for both humans and animals.

Internship outline: I worked collaboratively with two organizations: Environmental Health Center, a private research institution in the heart of Transylvania, and faculty of Veterinary Medicine at University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine in Cluj-Napoca. I conducted a descriptive epidemiological study to determine the prevalence of Methicilin-resistance Staphylococcus aureus colonization among swine workers from commercial pig farms in Transylvania. As the project’s principle investigator, I recruited workers from seven farms with the help of my mentor and colleagues from the Environmental Health Center. We collected nasal and oral swabs and information regarding biosafety practice, awareness and behavior using a questionnaire from the workers. In addition, I characterized bacterial isolates using standard laboratory protocol under the guidance of another mentor from the faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Value of experience: The opportunity to work side by side with experts from both human and veterinary medicine was highly valuable. This experience taught me the importance of collaboration between professionals with difference expertise. It was inspiring and encouraging seeing the accomplishments we were able to achieve in just three months. My fieldwork allowed me to go inside the swine farms and witness first hand the environment in a commercial swine facility—an unforgettable experience. I will definitely apply the communications and executive skills accrued from this internship in my future career.  

Best moment: I had a wonderful and thrilling time in Romania and there were so many memorable moments. Two of my favorites were horseback riding with my new international friends in the beautiful Transylvanian mountains, and a three-day field trip to Moldova with colleagues.