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Getting to know Kevin Jian

Protecting public health through food safety

In 2018, Kevin Jian graduated from Oregon State University with a master’s degree in public health and a concentration in epidemiology. Now, Kevin coordinates, conducts and supports activities in the Oregon Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence (CoE), a collaborative initiative between the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon State’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

The Oregon CoE is one of six centers funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collaboratively assess, train and improve the investigation and control of foodborne diseases in all U.S. states and territories.

What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?

“Epidemiology is definitely not a field I aspired to be in as a child. I came across it in the summer of 2015 when I was a biomathematics intern. My intern advisor at the time mentioned epidemiology in passing and I was curious. I dove into the realm of epi, and my curiosity never left me. So, here I am!”

Why did you choose to work at Oregon State?

“I chose to work at Oregon State for many reasons, but largely because of my faculty advisor, Jeffrey Bethel. He is an excellent public health professor and a true inspiration.”

What is your favorite part about working as the project coordinator for the Oregon Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence?

“Working in this position allows me to travel across the country to various conferences and events and to visit regions within our jurisdiction. This provides a wonderful opportunity to connect our center with other public health members.”

How do you strive to affect people’s lives with your work?

“In this work, I strive to increase the capacity of our region to prevent, survey and respond to foodborne outbreaks, by identifying and implementing best practices in foodborne disease surveillance and serving as a resource for public health professionals at state, local, and regional levels.

“This work helps the life of the average person, albeit indirectly, by ultimately lowering the number of foodborne cases and outbreaks at a national level.”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

“I was born and raised on Kauai, Hawaii!”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“Tennis, piano and quality time with the buddies.”