I was initially drawn to the internship program by the high calibre placements on offer. I was placed with the Emergency and Humanitarian Action Unit, South East Asia Regional Office, World Health Organization, New Delhi, India. I also wanted to fully realise the MPH stream I had enrolled in (International Health) with some practical developing world experience. The internship program was a perfect way to blend my global health aspirations with practical and academic work – the internship counted as six units of credit towards my MPH.
My supervisors at the WHO were truly inspirational, and their passion for their work was infectious. This was also reflected in their eagerness to teach and organise site visits with the national disease control and disaster management agencies in India. A placement at the WHO allowed me to have close contact with subject matter experts and opened the door to the professional public health world. I even got to see Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director General, speak first hand when she came to celebrate India’s Polio Free Certification in January 2014.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the internship program. Being placed at the WHO affords interns the opportunity to see how global health plays out in the corridors of power. The World Health Organization is a unique agency within the United Nations, with its own unique challenges and strengths. Anyone wishing to work in global health must be aware of the forces that shape the course of this discipline – and what better way to start than at the peak global health body?
I consider my WHO internship as something of a ‘jewel in the crown’ of my curriculum vitae and, as an early career professional, it demonstrates that I have an insight into some of the realities of public health practice. This internship has provided me with an area of experience which allows me to convincingly demonstrate my passion for global health.