Gabriel Muñiz, supervisory consumer safety officer, Office of Medical Products and Tobacco Operations, Tobacco Operations Staff, Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
I have always loved science, the medical field, and helping others; so when I entered Florida International University I combined those loves and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health science. After graduation, I worked as a contractor for one of the largest medical device firms in the United States as a quality engineer/team lead in charge of test method validations.
But something was missing, so in January 2009, I joined the FDA as an investigator and was considered a generalist. This job gave me the opportunity to learn about many of the products and programs that FDA regulates and manages including the Interstate Travel Program, and conduct inspections of foods, biologics, medical devices and drugs.
Early in my career, I was selected by the ORA Florida District to conduct undercover buys for prescription drugs and perform audits of the Florida Department of Agriculture State Inspectors. As the Florida Incident Command System (ICS) planning section chief, I also planned the food safety strategy for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and acted as the Incident Command System commander for the FDA Mobile Lab while it was stationed in South Florida.
In 2011, I was part of the initial tobacco inspection group in ORA. In 2014, I joined the Tobacco Operations Staff on a detail as Team Lead and was later selected as the tobacco cadre supervisor. I work to provide leadership, program direction, and general oversight for the Tobacco Operations Staff in ORA who are responsible for accomplishing the Center for Tobacco Products assigned inspections, surveillance and compliance work. I also am responsible for the strategic and logistic planning for the inspections that my team members complete throughout the United States, and when needed around the world.
I audit my staff’s work as needed to maintain accountability and quality assurance. In turn, my team inspects tobacco product manufacturers to make sure that businesses are legally commercially marketing their products and assure the firms are complying with the current FDA applicable regulations.
I love the fact that I am constantly challenged and learn something new every day. My opinions are sought after, and the work I perform has a great impact on the entire tobacco program which affects public health.
While there has been significant progress in educating the public about the dangers of tobacco use, it still remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Working in ORA with the tobacco operations staff is my dream job. I can truly say that the work I do, does make a difference in the world.
I am Gabriel Muñiz and #IAmORA.