Nilda Villegas, Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
I’m a public affairs specialist stationed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Building partnerships and alliances is critical to my job. It is my responsibility to communicate FDA’s unique mission and deliver its public health messages to empower people to make better choices and decisions about their own health and the health of their families. I work with our partners in academia, federal/state agencies, community based organizations, industry associations, and health professional organizations that have the same goal of promoting public health.
After the devastation left by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, I provided media support for HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Hurricane Maria Emergency Operation Center. I served as an FDA liaison to FEMA, CDC, the Puerto Rico Department of Health, and other government agencies, performing duties such as arranging briefings, interviews and developing health messages. It was a challenging time for the island.
Despite these challenges, I am honored to work at an agency with such an important mission. My job is different every day. Today, I could be presenting to a group of nutritionists on the changes to the new food nutrition label. Tomorrow, I could be speaking to a group of student pharmacists on FDA’s drug approval process, and next week I could be staffing an exhibit at a professional association or industry-based conference to explain FDA regulations.
I feel honored to work at an agency with such an important mission that affects the daily lives of every consumer. I especially like having the opportunity to interact with health professionals, industry, the news media, and consumers to answer their questions and concerns. When I am not at work, I take every opportunity to promote FDA’s mission. Whether I am volunteering or at family gatherings, I share information to ensure everyone is making informed choices regarding their health.
I am Nilda Villegas, and I am ORA.