North American Dr. James Steele, pioneer in veterinary health, explains how he went from studying forest sciences to veterinary medicine in what he considers to be the best decision of his life. He reports that he was the first veterinarian in the United States to be accepted in a public health Masters program. Later, during a mission to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, he says he came to understand why American nations need veterinarians.
Steele was one of the founders of activities in the area of veterinary health in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He also founded the first veterinary public health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He believes it is important to understand what veterinary medicine can give to public health.