Student Perspectives of Global Health Internships

One of the attractive elements of the MSc Global Health course is the dynamism and diversity the particpatory students hold. Opportunities span the Global Health world, ranging from child and reproductive health in Mexico to a worldwide advocacy campaign focusing on chronic non communicable diseases.  However many students and future global health leaders may initially wonder which specific area will I follow amongst the complex and interdisciplinary global health spectrum. This article will hopefully give a snapshot of some of the routes which our current second years have taken at the start of their careers.

Anika Ruisch – Internship with ECHO – Coordination of the international response to the Ebola epidemic

I started my internship with the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) of the European Commission’s department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) in September 2014. When I arrived, the Ebola outbreak was one of the main occupations of our unit. With UNMEER not in place before the end of September, ECHO initiated the role of a central coordination hub in the first months, not only for the European response, but also for bringing the international community on-board.

European Commission DG ECHO
Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO

Since October, daily Ebola Task Force meetings were held in the ERCC, bringing together the relevant European institutions and services, EU Member States, humanitarian partners and relevant international actors such as the WHO and IFRC. The meetings in the ERCC sometimes had over a hundred participants, in person or via video or telephone links from all over the world – including colleagues in the affected region.

Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO

With the global response gaining speed and substance, also the coordination became increasingly challenging. Big issues were addressed and the ERCC had a leading role in the coordination of several rotations of Dutch military vessel with in-kind assistance and the development of a medical evacuation capacity in order to address the lack of foreign medical teams in the affected countries.

Throughout my internship, I have been part of the ERCC’s Ebola Taskforce, supporting the team by putting the standard operating procedures for the EU medevac capacity on paper and by attending meetings and reporting on them to keep track of the overall disaster response. My internship is over, but I was offered to stay and work for the ERCC, which I will try to combine with finishing the MScGH program. I hope to learn much more about the work of ECHO and the key functions of the ERCC: coordinating disasters, monitoring hazards and matching offers of humanitarian assistance.

Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO
Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO

Nina Reichwein – Internship in the policy consultancy company BBJ Consult AG, Berlin.

In November/December 2014 I underwent a 6 week internship with the BBJ Consult AG in Berlin.

During the six weeks of my internship I was mainly assigned to the following tasks:

  • Research and participation in a seminar for a delegation from Moscow on the topic of barrier-free urban planning
  • Research on the new German prevention law
  • Development of options for financing a workplace disease prevention center

As I aspire for a career as a professional consultant to global actors in the health care sector and health care systems in the developing world, I decided to use the given opportunity of interning to gain insight into the field of consultancy work. Summing up the six weeks of my internship with the BBJ Consult AG, I can conclude that it had been an interesting experience and helpful to gain insight into policy consultancy work.

Henry Mark – Internship at Sight and Life

During my internship I was able to work on a range of different project revolving around implementation research and delivery science (IRDS) in nutrition. It’s an exciting time to be involved in nutrition with much of the discourse now around how we scale up effective interventions to meet all those who can benefit from them.

We often talk about programme quality and coverage as side notes or passive processes, yet at each aspect of programme implementation we need to have specific focus on what gives the best results. During the internship I learnt a lot about what IRDS is and how it can shape the future in nutrition programme implementation.

In general IRDS is a really important area for global health and in the coming years I hope it will start to get the attention and resources it needs. For example, beyond nutrition the chronic disease burden in all countries around the world is increasing, ensuring access to essential medications and treatments is going to be a major challenge that requires innovative thinking.

For me it’s the innovation in IRDS that makes it a fascinating area and one that I would encourage others to get involved in.

Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO
Flickr: European Commission DG ECHO

Anne Christina Gotfredsen – Internship at the Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health (MESU)

For my third semester at the MSc in Global Health, I decided to apply for an internship. I have a strong interest in international migration, health and human rights so I contacted the Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health (MESU).

I was assigned various tasks and responsibilities at MESU in an international study on child migration managed by Save the Children UK. Early in the internship, I was introduced to the possibility of going to India and conducting interviews for the project. Therefore, the assignments for my internship followed two different tracks; first, the literature and policy review on protective mechanism for children migrating from Bangladesh to India, and in addition the planning and coordination of the field trip.

My internship at the MESU gave me inspiration and a possibility to do profound research on an area I had little knowledge of six months ago, and I will continue working on the topic when writing my thesis this coming semester. During my internship I have tried to grasp the complexities of child migration, its causes and consequences, its risks and opportunities and finally the frustrating fact that despite numerous actors working with children’s rights in relation to migration, many children are left unseen and unprotected.

Danielle M. Agnello – Internship – Antimicrobioal Resistance(AMR),  Communicable Diseases, Health Security, and Environment, WHO Regional Office for Europe.

I am currently commencing my 3rd week at the World Health Organization regional office of Europe. I am an intern in the department of Communicable disease on the exciting Antimicrobioal resistance (AMR) team. The first few weeks have flown by and I have quickly began checking off the items on my list of main objectives for my time here. I don’t only get to work with an intelligent and amicable team, I also get to spend my days roaming the halls of one of the most carbon neutral buildings in Copenhagen!

While working here I get a great insight into the preparation of briefs, reports and updating country fact sheets, while still flexing my creative muscle with various design tasks. I also will have the opportunity to interact with and help facilitate a stimulating collaboration of microbiologists, clinicians and pharmaceutical professionals from almost 20 different countries during our upcoming AMR Workshop here in Copenhagen! I am enthusiastic about the upcoming months here and for look forward to our trip to Tbilisi, Georgia, where we will be performing exciting fieldwork!

Remember to wash you hands and follow these five tips on antibiotic usage so you too can participate in the antimicrobial stewardship movement! Feel free to follow our progress on my twitter account.


Flickr: United States Mission Geneva
Flickr: United States Mission Geneva

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