One Health Newsletter

One Health Newsletter: Volume 15 Issue 1

Anna Pees’ Journey Involving Interdisciplinarity, Veterinary Regulation, and Multiple ‘Wildcat’ Institutions


Alex Lindemann and Dr. Justin Kastner

Dr. Anna Pees, now a program manager at the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center (NABC), grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, living there until she left to attend the University of Arizona (her first “Wildcat” institution). She began her undergraduate studies with a focus on Spanish and biology but quickly changed to animal sciences. She was drawn to the equine industry, where she learned how to breed and train horses. In the University of Arizona’s unique undergraduate environment, she and her classmates raised, broke, trained, and eventually took to sale thoroughbred horses.

After graduating from the University of Arizona in 2004, she worked in both human and veterinary health fields in New York City for a few years before transitioning to the management of a hunter-jumper equestrian facility in Massachusetts. She then moved to Austin, Texas to be close to family and again worked in both human and veterinary health fields. It was in these roles that the future Dr. Pees realized that she was already effectively practicing medicine, so she applied to veterinary school—at what would be her second “Wildcat” institution, Kansas State!

While waiting to be accepted into the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at Kansas State, Dr. Pees decided to start working on a Master of Public Health (MPH). She completed a full year of the MPH before being accepted into the DVM program in 2010. Dr. Pees considers the wealth of experience that she gained before entering graduate school to be one of the most important factors in determining her eventual career trajectory. It was in that experience that Dr. Pees learned that she had a passion for the “One Health” concept and wanted to help build the bridge between human and animal medicine.

After graduating in 2014 with her DVM, Dr. Pees moved to Colorado and gained experience with small animal medicine for three years. She then decided to transfer to the country of Wales where she ran an animal clinic and expanded her skills in veterinary medicine and practice management. After gaining experience in the field, she moved back to Kansas and secured a job with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Protection Service (APHIS). While working at the USDA, Dr. Pees supported efforts for the prevention of infectious disease introduction. She was heavily involved in international trade where she endorsed international health certificates for both live animals and animal products leaving the United States, assisted with the inspection of live animals entering the United States, and facilitated the approval of U.S. companies to meet export requirements of other countries for international trade.

While her experience at the USDA was essential for understanding regulatory measures to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases, Dr. Pees was drawn to a more dynamic position where she could apply her critical thinking and organizational skills to a wide variety of topics and projects. Luckily, the NABC at Kansas State had a project manager position opening that would allow her to practice this skill.

The NABC is a research institution that participates in a wide variety of fields including animal diseases, foodborne pathogens, plant infectious agents, emergency management and environmental systems with impacts on agriculture and One Health. As a project manager, Dr. Pees is involved in multiple projects where she can use her technical skills and knowledge to creatively find solutions to current and future problems facing the food and agriculture industry. The NABC provides a dynamic and collaborative environment centered at a land grant institution in the heart of the U.S. food and agriculture sector; a career opportunity Dr. Pees sees as impactful and fulfilling.

The career path of Dr. Pees perfectly exhibits the flexibility that comes with a career focused on veterinary medicine and public health. She is an example of how a passion for One Health can be the driving force behind an incredibly diverse career. Veterinary and public health students with a passion for One Health should be inspired by the career of Dr. Anna Pees. She has exemplified the practice of the One Health initiative and it will be exciting to see where her career takes her next!


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One Health Newsletter

The One Health Newsletter is a collaborative effort by a diverse group of scientists and health professionals committed to promoting One Health. This newsletter was created to lend support to the One Health Initiative and is dedicated to enhancing the integration of animal, human, and environmental health for the benefit of all by demonstrating One Health in practice.

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