Masters student looking for global health work

By Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator | 10 Mar, 2016

nohemie mawaka wrote the following in another discussion, and I'm creating a new one here.

Hi everyone, I am (24 yrs old) masters of public health student at the university of simon fraser in Vancouver, Canada. I am graduating in two months and looking for work in global health (communications and/or project management in HIV/infectious diseases research), preferably in south Africa and/or Congo (DRC) but I am open to working elsewhere. It has been very difficult finding jobs online for USAIDs, PATH, Gates Foundation, UN, World Bank.

I would really appreciate guidance on how to go about finding work with these agencies, it seems like having an 'insider' into these agencies is the only way for one to get a job there?



Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator Replied at 1:26 PM, 10 Mar 2016

Hi Nohemie,
Below are several sites for how to find jobs in Global Health. They are actually ICT4D, in other words IT for development, as a whole, not necessarily health, but they are very good resources.

A site fully dedicated to finding ICT4D jobs maintained by Asia Hege and Wayan Vota <>

Another good site to read <>

UN jobs is specifically for the United Nations <>

It will probably be difficult to find your first job, but there’s definiltey hope.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 3:08 PM, 10 Mar 2016

Joaquin, I like this discussion link. It is a form of GHDonline user support that had not crossed my mind and is not a "Job Advertising" site. Thanks for creating it.

Hillary Epperson Replied at 8:28 AM, 11 Mar 2016

Thank you for the resources!

I had the same problem after both: graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in psych and global health, and then getting my masters from the University of Southern California at 23 years old. After 18 months of searching at the places Nohemie mentioned, in addition to departments of public health in the U.S. and various smaller charities related to my interests, I was unsuccessful. I am 26 now and work in the corporate health world, but am eager to get back into global health as soon as I can find a job! I am frustrated when people tell me that Peace Corps is the only way into the field. I've done my international study, work, research, and learning and I did it on my own terms.

Laila Soudi Replied at 1:30 PM, 16 Mar 2016


I recently graduated from my MSc in Global Health Sciences (GHS) from the University of California- San Francisco. I would urge you to try to find jobs at UCSF w/in GHS. Several departments are super well-funded and generally have openings. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if I can help.


Haidar Al-Sara Replied at 2:21 PM, 16 Mar 2016

Hello everyone,
Global Health is a growing field. However, I think when it comes to jobs we see only very few getting what they want. I wonder is it because the resources? The job description for a global health degree holder? Or something else?

yohannes efa Replied at 3:13 PM, 16 Mar 2016

I am looking for global exprience, i had master in public health

Jostas Mwebembezi Replied at 3:17 PM, 16 Mar 2016

Hi everyone,
Global health field is broad
more international business
I hope the candidate may also consider working with international public health organizations.
we are looking for a fundraising candidate to be based in Francisco US.

Michelle Glatt Replied at 4:33 PM, 16 Mar 2016

I'm not sure it this will meet anyone's needs but I thought I would mention that Sacred Valley Health offers volunteer positions for recent MPH graduates interested obtaining global health experience. We run a community health worker program in Andean Peru. Candidates would need to commit a minimum of 6 months of their time and most volunteer for a year. Volunteers develop strong applied skills in health promotion, disease prevention and M&E techniques. Past volunteers have been in a much stronger position at the end of their service year to obtain the job of their choice in global health. Intermediate or Advanced Spanish required. If you are interested please take a look at the links and reply directly to them - our listing is on

Thanks so much!
Michelle Glatt, MPH, PA-C
Director of Programming
Sacred Valley Health
Ollantaytambo, Peru

Attached resources:

nohemie mawaka Replied at 1:13 AM, 17 Mar 2016

Hi everyone,
I think that raising the topic of career prospects for young global health practitioners is really critical. Next month I will be graduating from my masters of public health program in the global health concentration in Vancouver. Looking for a job in global health without either a medical degree or 10+ years of experience, pretty much puts me at a disadvantage of getting a career with any large international agencies (i.e. gates foundation, UN, etc).

This is really discouraging, as we are thought in classrooms about the different global health actors and domains of practice, yet in all reality global health there does not seem to be many vacant jobs. And nation-to-nation communication on career openings is very limited, so one must go through connections to get a job, which is not always feasible for everyone to have connections in the opposite end of the world. Working in the business industry, the only companies I have seen looking for global health practitioners are pharmaceutical corporations seeking to do clinical trials in low-to-middle income countries, which for many of us global health practitioners has a lot of ethical implications.

I would ideally like to work in the US, South Africa or Congo for a large multinational agency (i.e. gates foundation, path, USAID, pepfar, UN), but have applied for 20 postings over the last two months and getting rejected by all of these agencies, I decided to create my own global health consulting agency (services: evaluation, marketing, research for social good in health) while looking for work. I am interested in hearing other ppl's experiences as graduates or tips from experts in the field for years.

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 1:18 AM, 17 Mar 2016

Nohemie, (with tongue in cheek and a smile), is GHDonline seen as a possible global health opportunity employment, career organisation. it now has many long tentacles and a wonderful governing body? Terry

Emmanuel Benyeogor Replied at 3:18 AM, 17 Mar 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Whoa, I just drafted my resignation letter to be submitted today as I
decided to give ample time to my Masters program in Public Health
(Epidemiology option) at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Find this trail is scary in a good kind of way. That is passion against
reality. Guess what, I am more convinced we got a lot of work to do as
Health workers and wish I had resigned earlier.

Nohemie has created job and I am hopeful we could collaborate. There are so
much avenues to provide solutions to preventable health problems for NCDs
and Infectious Diseases in Nigeria.

I am looking for international volunteer experience we could arrange for
exchange programs as I could search locally here in Nigeria for foreigners
and you do the same at your end.

Technology has come to increase our networking, you have a connection you
got a network let's collaborate.

Emmanuel Benyeogor Replied at 3:21 AM, 17 Mar 2016

Hello Jostas,

I just sent an inquiry mail for internship at RCRA.

Although I am based in Nigeria, I am willing to relocate as required.


Naomi Muinga Moderator Replied at 4:09 AM, 17 Mar 2016

Nohemie...that's the spirit! :)
For everyone this platform does provide an opportunity for people to network

Janise Richards Replied at 9:59 AM, 18 Mar 2016

Hi Nohemie,

In your list of places you have contacted and applied for jobs, you did not include the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although I may be considered slightly biased, I think it is an excellent agency to represent globally. One caveat is that these positions require US Citizenship – I think it is the same requirement for our sister agency, USAID. From your email it is not clear if this is your situation.

As you can see below by the list below, CDC has an “open and continuous” call for health scientists, public health advisors, and epidemiologists, all which do not require a medical doctorate, for positions within the CDC country offices – a listing of the countries are in the job descriptions.

How the process works is as follows: the applications are first screened by the CDC HR Office (HRO) to see if they fit the qualifications (or in US Government terms, are certified as qualified for the position, aka as “making the cert”) If the application makes the cert, then it is put in a pool based upon the positions for which you have applied. Next, when a position becomes available during the year (in this case March 2016-March 2017), those applications with the best potential to match are pulled by the HRO and shared with the hiring officials for review and consideration for a position at a CDC country office. If they are interested in your application, the HRO will reach out to see if you are still available and interested in interviewing. This can happen anytime during the year. If you are, then an interview is arranged. After the interview, you may or may not be asked for a second interview. Or you may receive a letter/email from HRO stating the job offer.

The open and continuous call only accepts application submissions until September 1. If you miss the window of opportunity to apply, you must wait until the following year. Each year the open and continuous pool is reset. All applications (resumes) are deleted and new candidates apply or previous candidates re-apply – meaning if you do not match the first year, do not become discouraged since opportunities will become available the next year. Most positions become open every two to three years since staff rotate to other positions, either in the field or back to Atlanta.

Each link in the table below will take you to a job description and more specific details regarding the qualifications for the position. If the links below do not work, I would encourage you to go to USAjobs: and enter the code associated with the position in the search box. Once you reach the page, read the qualifications and instructions very carefully before applying for a position. Each position requires different qualifications.

The more experience you have, of course, the more likely your application will match with a specific position, location of choice and a higher grade series.

Best success in your career launch!

Position title Series Grade Location Date open Date closed Position Code in USAJobs
Health Scientist 0601 13 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606749

Health Scientist 0601 14 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606749

Public Health Advisor 0685 12 Multiple overseas locations 3/1/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606763
(Management & Operations or Technical)

Public Health Advisor 0685 13 Multiple overseas locations 3/1/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606763
(Management & Operations or Technical)

Public Health Advisor 0685 14 Multiple overseas locations 3/1/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606763
(Management & Operations or Technical)

Epidemiologist 0601 13 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606990

Epidemiologist 0601 14 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606990

Epidemiologist 0601 15 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606990

Medical Officer 0602 13 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606992

Medical Officer 0602 14 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606992

Medical Officer 0602 15 Multiple overseas locations 3/2/2016 9/1/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1606992

Public Health Advisor (Bilingual) 0685 15 Burkina Faso 3/14/2016 3/21/2016 HHS-CDC-OD-16-1650328

Haidar Al-Sara Replied at 10:21 AM, 18 Mar 2016

Thanks for posting this. But as you can see, there is a problem with almost all Global health degree holders. This problem is the fact that they do not have a medical degree! If you do not have a medical degree your option for a better future in Global Health is somehow limited. I'm speaking about the situation when an HR person sees me with MS in Global Health and an MD interested in Global Health. We all know who he/ she would choose!

libby levison Replied at 10:42 AM, 18 Mar 2016

Dear Nohemie,

As others have written it is difficult, but not impossible, to get that first job. And, as an international health person without a clinical background, I feel your pain. But I can also tell you, it's possible. That said, you haven't told us if you have a specialization in your global health program. There's a huge demand now for M&E people (Monitoring and evaluation); if you are interested in Epi or BioStats then the suggestion of looking at places like the CDC are right on; maybe you like MCH (Maternal and Child Health)? And there is nothing wrong with a first job doing Program Management/Admin. A skilled program administrator can make a project work.

That said, some of the organizations you listed do have a tendency of requiring more years of experience - but many NGOs do want entry level people and some have a policy of hiring entry level. MSF (Doctors without Borders) for example, has a policy of always bringing in new staff and training them up. You should also look at other groups like PATH, but perhaps located across the US: Management Sciences for Health, John Snow International, RTI, PSI, Pact, Partners In Health. If you're interested in MCH: IntraHealth, Ipas, Pathfinder. What about the International Federation of the Red Cross? or the American Red Cross? And there is a whole group of NGOs located in California that you can research and UCSF runs some interesting programs. Does Simon Fraser have a research division? Do they need a program manager?

As to networking: have you spoken with career counseling at Simon Fraser? Do they list jobs? And what about your professors? Several of my friends got their first jobs out of our MPH program thanks to the faculty.

You are quite specific about where you want to work. I wonder why that is? Do you know people in South Africa or the Congo? Can you network thru them? Will you be in either of those places in the future and you could job search there? Are you checking online job listings for S Africa?

And finally: one site that I like for job listings is the International Career Employment Weekly, located here: Check the Health and the Development jobs.

I don't know if this reply will be helpful or frustrating, but I hope there are a couple of ideas here that you can use. Good luck.

Libby Levison
International health consultant,
Medical logistician
Boston, MA.

Emmanuel Benyeogor Replied at 11:00 AM, 18 Mar 2016

Thanks Libby and Janise,

What about those of us like me in Nigeria (West Africa) seeking internship abroad. My interest is in Epidemiology (pragmatic research in outbreak disease preparedness in hard to reach areas).mwith no mentor Nor guidance how do we ply this path to being relevant in global health?

Haidar Al-Sara Replied at 11:02 AM, 18 Mar 2016

I see you are located in Boston. Would you please send me an email?



Nicholas Connor Replied at 12:32 PM, 18 Mar 2016

Greetings Ms. Haidar, et al.

I feel almost duty bound to reply to this post - pardon the length.
I have been quite familiar with this particular anxiety you and some others on this thread are feeling, being a non-doctoral Global Health MSc. myself since 2008 (Trinity College Dublin). I hold a degree in Health Sciences and also Ethics. I had previously been working in a metro Emergency Department and sat on Research Ethics Board deliberating on research proposals when I went in.

When I came out of the Global Health program. I had 6 months of field coordination experience working in rural communities in southern Malawi, had published a thesis, etc. I was hooked on the notion of working to help find solutions to big problems and support research with broad implications to policy, nutrition, infection, and even contribute to the improvement of the pedagogy of global health itself. However, (if you recall) 2008 saw a teeny-tiny "global" contraction of the financial markets and the project I was working on at the time (joint GH case-report writing between TCD and Harvard) was disbanded and I was flown back to Toronto with my hat in my hand. No work, less than no money (debt), some experience, publications and contacts but much more senior people than me were getting let go at that time.

BUT I was hooked on Global health so I kept going by myself and have been successful, so here's my tips for you, or anyone in your situation:

0. Before anything: Think about what kind of life you want to live. Do you really want to be an expat in DRC? Where specifically? Kinsasha? Goma? Kamina? for how long? Do you like seeing your family? Lattes and skiing at Whistler? If you can't picture yourself living there and dealing with possibly stressful situations for extended periods of time maybe you actually don't want to be an expat and maybe you want something more local. I'm not trying to dissuade you, its just that I have lived overseas now going on 8 years in total, mostly in Dhaka - and I've seen some people burn out and you need to consider your strengths and weaknesses realistically and be able to manage stress. Still in? Okay:

1. Read and read widely (both News and scientific papers). Be informed about politics, medicine, economics, technology, statistics, nutrition, government, history and other global health issues. This should not feel like a chore if you are a true Global health(!) person. (W. Easterly is good + D. Moyo)
2. Find 2 primary mentors: A proximal mentor who you can talk to about how to best refine your skill-set and/or direct your inquiries (a few years older is good - in your field) find ways to help with research or talk about projects or higher contacts. And second, get a distal mentor who you can't really access (for now) someone who embodies the person/researcher you want to be in a few decades, they don't have to be in your field at all - just be inspiring to you - work to meet them on your merit.
3. Volunteer in something that is related to what you want to do - HIV charities, Community Outreach, hospitals, etc. (keep engaged with varied types of people), keep a regular schedule - this will be useful once you get a job to deal with people and maintain routine.
4. Find smaller specific projects in the country/region that interest you. I may get in trouble here: apply to, but do not prioritize these big sites (USAID, UN, etc.). Filling out online applications all day and night for your first GH job is soul crushing - I had no hits (none) with my experience, connections, education and publications and I applied over 500 times to a variety of things and had a professional company help edit my CV. Secondly, and more importantly -> a higher position at a smaller local organization who may greatly benefit from your work will allow you to grow and innovate as a GH practitioner more than a low position in a bureaucracy - prioritize those. (See:,
5. Be willing to do more than the next person, your first job will define what you are capable of. Make it good and then things will open up for your next jobs naturally. Stay positive and make friends - although possibly less dramatic it's simply easier to succeed when people want you to succeed than succeeding when people want you to fail. :)
6. Publish - write and publish things yourself if and when you can. If not start a Twitter (see/follow mine @GlobalHealthNik) read and re-tweet stuff that is good, in short participate in the GH landscape, ask questions, formulate informed opinions!

In short you will find your way if you really want to, but you will have to earn it, no one will give you something for free just 'cause you have a masters; except advice apparently. :)

Best of luck!

Haidar Al-Sara Replied at 12:59 PM, 18 Mar 2016

Thank you for the thoughtful email. The post originally was originally from someone else here. For me, as a man who graduated couple years ago with a MS in Global Studies/ Global Health I agree with you on many levels. I remember once I met the head of WHO office at the UN he told me that " I won't even bother spending money on mailing application forms to the big NGOs" and it was true. I think it is all about connections, this is my personal opinion.

Nicholas Connor Replied at 1:33 PM, 18 Mar 2016

Don't lose heart.

If you really believe it's "all about connections" then you simply need to make those connections and maintain a network. No one is saying that is easy, it takes time, tact and luck. Try to meet with people and learn about what their organizations are doing in the future for your own information and to see if the organization is for you or not. All they can say is no. I'm sure you can't think of a few specific organizations you would like to work for and a few reasons why you are talented enough for someone in that organization to take 10 mins with you if someone introduces you. Good news is that, pragmatically, organizations have finite resources and always need talent, bad news is it's up to you to sell them your talents.

Hard truth is that connections always matter. Connections make you more of a known quantity to an interviewer and gives you a leg-up on the competition. All things being equal an organization will usually hire someone who is connected to or recommended by someone they know over an unknown as that insider knows the organization and they have a better chance of retention of the applicant, secondly the person referring has a vested interest in your success. So an organization which does not take recommendations into the balance would really not be using their finite resources (grants, etc.) prudently.

So make connections, a conversation is much easier than filling in a web form and it's much more enjoyable.

(Read Dale Carnegie's classic book: How to win friends and influence people)


Yudha Saputra Replied at 12:11 AM, 23 Mar 2016


I would like to express my profound gratitude for your motivation towards this forum.

Surely will follow you on Twitter

For Nohemie, I'm sure you will find the best one that suit with your passion, as long as you keep on doing your best, think positive and act positive in every chances. Your dream jobs await you.

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney



nohemie mawaka Replied at 2:49 AM, 23 Mar 2016

Sorry everyone for taking so long to reply to this very profound discussion post, I just wrapped up my thesis defense (Yayyy!!) and that kept me busy for awhile.

@Nicholas - Thank you for sharing your experience, I have indeed been applying for jobs on and fhi360, just to name a few. To briefly answer some of the questions you asked earlier, I have interned during my studies in Congo (my native country), and South Africa, for large international agencies and small scale research institutes. In Congo, currently my last internship supervisor does not have funds to hire externally. In South Africa where I compiled my thesis data, they have recently adopted very strict international working visa policies prohibiting foreigners to work there, so it is making it hard for me to get a job there. I have lived in Canada for fifteen years now, and have been fortunate to work back and fourth in Sub-Saharan Africa through voluntary internships, and I really want to apply the skills and knowledge that I have learned in Canada to continue serving the African nation through impactful. Second, because of exacerbated student loans, I am not in a position to volunteer abroad. Same with working for small scale NGOs, they have do not have the funds to hire foreigners, one NGO offered to pay me $500/month to work in Congo, where monthly rent, food, transportation, student loans would cost me over $1,000/month. But I have to be hopeful that my persistence and passion for global health will open doors. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a positive career outcome.

To keep myself busy while looking for work, I started a global health evaluation and advocacy creative agency, the website will launch next week. Where I offer research project evaluations, quantitative analyses, grant writing, policy brief writing and health marketing/promotion strategies. And my very own organization ( is slowly thriving.

@Yudha - As a native congolese, at a young age I dreamed of becoming a lead political figure empowering african women by addressing global health inequities. I am hopeful that if I continue to work hard, this dream will come true, God willing.

I am glad we sparked this conversation, which does impact many aspiring young global health enthusiasts. With such a shortage of jobs available to young global health graduates, it would be interesting to keep sparking the conversation on this issue, as the tech industry continues to thrive on youth engagement and empowerment through job creations, while global health seems very reluctant to this progressive approach.

Cheers everyone!

nohemie mawaka Replied at 8:51 PM, 23 Mar 2016

@Nishant, whoaww thank you so much! I almost wish that we could create a job bank list on this discussion web platform!
I will spend the weekend applying for jobs using these websites, thank you!!

Yudha Saputra Replied at 7:49 AM, 24 Mar 2016


I received an email this morning that you might take a look.

March 23, 2016

Yudha Eri Saputra

Ahmad Dahlan's Faculty of Pharmacy

Hello Friends,

The Rockefeller Foundation is hiring an Associate Director, Health to join our team and report to me. Please find the full job description, but here's a summary of the position:

The Associate Director will provide leadership support for the programmatic initiative work including managing major portions of the Foundation’s work in universal health coverage, resilient health system building, planetary health and/or other health issues. We’re looking for someone with 8-10 years’ experience in health or related fields, experience working with the global health system, and a passion for the Foundation’s work and approach.

Please send the job description to anyone you think might be a great fit and direct them to our website to apply!

Thank you

Michael Myers

Managing Director

Helmick, Thomas

In my personal opinion, yes, I agree with Prof. Terry about "job advertising that not crossed in mind". This discussion forum has a lot of opportunities for any global health experts wannabe or those who have years of experiences but looking for new challenges.

If I may suggest, why not create one more specific discussion forum, but focus on job advertisement that related to global health, health IT, and others, so that anyone who seeking for their dreamed passion, could get direct and daily information, like daily digest, that hopefully could help their discovering, and soon filled appropriate position that could reduce immensely number of global health problems?

Who knows, there's someone out there that actually have capability to solve years unsolved issues, but don't know where to start from.



Attached resource:

nohemie mawaka Replied at 5:18 PM, 25 Mar 2016

Thank you Yudha, I fear that 6-8 years of global health experience may not be enough to meet their standards, regardless, I will apply this evening!

Joaquin Blaya, PhD Moderator Replied at 11:40 AM, 13 May 2016

This webinar might be of interest to those of you looking for jobs. It's on Tuesday May 17 at 10 am EDT.

The description and link are below.

During the session we’ll cover:
Available ICT4D opportunities
Types of employers to look for in this sector
Essential skills for an ICT4D career
Broader industry trends impacting this career path
Your questions about ICT4D

Naomi Muinga Moderator Replied at 2:27 AM, 18 May 2016

Dear all,
We thought it would be nice to have this wonderful discussion summarised and hosted here as a discussion brief(also available for download).

Here's the link :

Attached resource:

Emmanuel Benyeogor Replied at 9:36 AM, 2 Jun 2016

Hi again everyone

FANTASTIC news - we have now launched careers month at Global Health Trials
Network, AND we have Dr Delva Shamley of UCT's CRC answering a careers
helpdesk for clinical researchers.
PLEASE PLEASE share the link far and wide, to GHT's homepage for the
careers advice resources, and the discussion/expert panel with Dr Shamley (
. Also, can someone please kick start the discussion about careers?

Thanks in advance!