One Health Perspective
Cummings School Program: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy: Master of Arts in International Relations
Undergraduate Studies: BA in biology, Boston University
Favorite Course: Respiratory Pathophysiology
“The moment I learned about One Health, I realized it was where I needed to work,” claims Lindsay Smith, V22, F18, a dual degree candidate at Tufts University, earning a master’s degree in international relations from The Fletcher School and a DVM from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
One Health is an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.
Lindsay has carved out a unique career path to pursue her passion for international policy as a veterinarian. Originally from Melrose, Massachusetts, she attended Boston University and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology.
“For years, my goal was to become a small animal veterinarian,” Lindsay acknowledges. “But during college, I gained exposure to other academic disciplines, explored the diversity of careers available to veterinarians, and learned how our training gives us a needed perspective and transferable skills.”
Lindsay worked in two BU laboratories and interned at a small animal practice. Studying abroad in Ecuador, she conducted ecological fieldwork, studied bats, and volunteered at a wildlife clinic.
“I came out of that program with profound lessons on international relations and sustainable development,” she reveals. “I decided to go into international policy to tackle complex issues.”
During her senior year, Lindsay researched climate change impacts on seabird diet and fisheries. “That project further fueled my interests—not just science for the sake of science, but applying science to address challenges.”
After graduating in 2015, Lindsay received a grant for an internship in South Africa with an organization studying Great White Shark populations. When she returned stateside, she interned at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, compiling research on states’ climate change policies.
Throughout these experiences, Lindsay explains, “I continually saw the intersection of animals, humans, and the environment. In addressing challenges like global health security and climate change, we need more people with scientific and medical backgrounds in the policy space. I want to be a veterinarian that works in public practice internationally to confront issues at the One Health interface.”
Lindsay also worked as a veterinary assistant at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital to develop her clinical expertise before heading to graduate school.
“The dual degree program at Tufts perfectly combines everything I’m interested in, bridging the worlds of clinical medicine and public policy,” she contends. “I got the sense that One Health was second nature to Tufts and already ingrained in the program.”
Lindsay began her dual degree at The Fletcher School in 2017. Early on, she attended a conference in Iceland on climate change and development in the Arctic. “Coming from a purely scientific background, immersing myself in the world of diplomacy and international policy was one of the most formative experiences of my life. It solidified that this is the space in which I want to work,” she affirms.
Elected as an EcoHealth Alliance Research Fellow for USAID’s PREDICT-2 Program, Lindsay researched interventions against the international spread of infectious disease. For her capstone thesis, she analyzed One Health policy structures in the United Nations and other international organizations.
Lindsay did not slow down at Cummings School. She was a work-study assistant at the Tufts Wildlife Clinic, and served as co-president of her class, president of Students for One Health, vice president of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association chapter, co-social chair of Alpha Psi Veterinary Fraternity, and co-chair of Veterinarians for Global Solutions. She is also an International Veterinary Medicine Certificate candidate.
“Cummings School fosters community beyond academics,” she says. “There are so many connections to be made and shared interests to explore with fellow students and future colleagues. My campus involvement has made for a much fuller vet school experience.”
She spent her first summer of the DVM program in Rwanda, working with a team interviewing farmers about preventing the spread of Rift Valley Fever. She presented their research at a conference in Uganda and the team later published.
Just after the pandemic began, Lindsay interned as a Tisch Summer Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, researching countries’ policies and structures to stem the spread of infectious diseases, while witnessing her studies “play out in real time.” She authored a chapter on biosecurity for “International Law and Pandemics,” a Fletcher School publication.
After graduation this May, Lindsay will serve as a postdoctoral scholar at Tufts with the USAID Strategies to Prevent (STOP) Spillover Program, tasked to assess risk and best practices for capacity building and preventing another pandemic. Long-term, she plans to pursue One Health policy roles in the federal government or U.N. system.
“I’m so happy I chose to attend Fletcher and Cummings School. Tufts enabled me to explore and forge my own path.”