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Welcome to PAHO Research Promotion and Development, the gateway to current information on research for health serving policy-makers, health-care providers, the general public and anyone interested in using research to advance public health, equity and development.
Our program focuses on the strengthening of research for health through the dissemination and translation of knowledge, the promotion of research governance, and the monitoring of ethics and standards within research practices. Our research portal draws together information gathered from the region on these key areas of interest.
Report on Strengthening Research Capacities for Health in the Caribbean, 2007-2017
Pan American Health Organization. Report on Strengthening Research Capacities for Health in the Caribbean, 2007-2017. Washington, D.C.: PAHO; 2017. The report is available here.
Check PAHO's quarterly Research Newsletter for the latest news, training opportunities and calls for application
MAIN LINES OF ACTION
MISSION AND VISION
To read about internship opportunities in research at different PAHO entities, read testimonials from former interns, or apply, visit our internship section.
Please note that there are currently no available internship positions.
For an internship in PAHO/WHO country offices, please consult and contact directly country office websites.
A Policy on Research for Health (CD49/10) has been approved for implementation in PAHO (Member States and the Pan American Sanitary Bureau) by the 2009 49th Directing Council of PAHO/WHO. This policy aims for PAHO to remains true to being a knowledge-based organization, that strong and sustainable national health research systems are found in every country in the Americas, and that research evidence constitutes a cornerstone of all activities aimed at attaining the highest level of health and equity. To achieve these aims the Secretariat at the Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Member States and partners will need to work together to harness science, technology, innovation and broader knowledge.
WHO Strategy On Research For Health
May 2010 saw the first organization-wide strategy on research approved by the World Health Assembly. Research for Health - defines a common framework for how research is approached in WHO and the role WHO is taking in global health research. The strategy has five main Goals:
- Capacity: Building capacity to strengthen health research systems.
- Priorities: Supporting the setting of research priorities that meet health needs particularly in low and middle income countries.
- Standards: Creating an environment to create good research practice and enable the greater sharing of research evidence, tools and materials.
- Translation: Ensuring quality evidence is turned into products and policy.
- Organization: Action to strengthen the research culture within WHO and improve the management and coordination of WHO research activities.
- WHO Strategy on Research for Health [full document] [draft]
- WHO's role & responsibilities in health for research [World Health Assembly agenda] [Executive board agenda]
- Approval of WHO health strategy at the 63rd World Health Assembly, https://www.who.int/phi/implementation/research/en/
- TalkTalk by Rob Terry, Project manager, Research Policy & Cooperation.
National Policies and Agendas
From the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution 43.19 on the role of research in health to the Bamako call for action in 2008 onwards, research has taken an increasingly higher profile. This has been accompanied by: a dramatic rise in funding for global health and health research; a stronger interest in innovation and technological advancement; an emergence of numerous global heath research initiatives; an increased attention paid to health systems research and evidence-informed policy and practice; and more awareness of the political, economic, environmental and social determinants of health (taken from PAHO's Policy on Research for Health).
Key events that contributed to the development of the PAHO policy on research for health, submitted to the 144th Executive Committee on 22-26 June 2009 are illustrated and listed below.
Milestones for a Policy on Research For Health
Detailed timeline events
2010 — 2014
The World health report: research for universal health coverage
Research and Development to Meet Health Needs in Developing Countries: Strengthening Global Financing and Coordination
Changing Mindsets: Strategy on health Policy and Systems Research
The WHO strategy on research for health
2005 — 2009
PAHO's Policy on Research for Health
PAHO Strategic Plan 2008-2012
Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health
1st Latin American Conference on Research and Innovation for Health. Río de Janeiro, Brazil.
Intergovernmental group on Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights. Río de Janeiro, Brazil.
Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health Bamako, Mali
Health Agenda for the Americas 2008-2017
COHRED Latin American Consultation
Commission on Social Determinants of Health; Report published in September 2008
2000 - 2004
WHO Report on Knowledge for Better Health
Ministerial Forum on Health Research, Mexico.
Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF)
Commission on Macroeconomics and Health
Investment in Health: a summary of the findings
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
International Conference on Health Research for Development
1990 — 1999
UNESCO: World Conference on Science, Hungary.
World Forum on Health Research and the 10/90 gap.
WHO — The World Bank: Relationships between health, health policy and economic development; DALYs concept.
Commission on Health Research for Development
WHA Resolution 43.19: "Role of Health Research".
The Planning for Success Initiative was developed by UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, WHO and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) with the aim to strengthen the skills of biomedical researchers in developing countries in the organization and management of research projects so as to achieve effective implementation and successful collaboration.
These are some of the career paths our former interns have taken. We are confident that their experience at PAHO prepared them to cope with the professional challenges that came their way!
Sophia Comas interned at PAHO/WHO between May 2017 and August 2017 working jointly in the Knowledge Management, Bioethics, Research and Human Resources for Health Departments. She received her B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Management and Leadership from American University and has plans to pursue an MPH in the near future. She also studied business at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain, fostering her passions for global health and health communications. Her interests also include disease surveillance and monitoring outbreaks, with a focus on health research and communication. While at PAHO, she worked extensively on the OAS-PAHO scholarship program. You can contact her on LinkedIn.
María Senés was an intern at PAHO/WHO between August 2016 and January 2017 in the Department of Health System and Services, and in the Office of Knowledge Management, Bioethics and Research. After receiving a B.A. in Social Communication from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), María completed her Master's degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Missouri (MU). At MU, María worked as a research assistant at Cambio Center, and volunteered at the Health Communication Research Center, where she participated in several health communication projects. María is passionate about health communication, and her interests involve the study, use and design of communication strategies to inform and empower people to make healthier decisions.
Currently, María works as an international consultant in health communication at the Department of Health System and Services at PAHO. You can contact her on LinkedIn
Ana Cristina Castro studied physiotherapy at the University of Chile, and she worked in pediatric intensive care units after she graduated. Her interest in improving the use and quality of evidence supporting physiotherapy practice led her to do an MSc in evidence-based health care at the University of Oxford, England. After her return to Chile, she taught research methods at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. A year later, she began a PhD in health sciences (York, England) investigating the cost-effectiveness of accreditation schemes of healthcare institutions on clinical outcomes. Ana joined PAHO's KBR team to work on initiatives to improve the quality of research in the Americas targeting early career researchers. One product is the development of an online course to improve the use of reporting guidelines produced by the EQUATOR network. You can contact her on LinkedIn
Johanna M. Fedorovsky is a sociologist and she studied a Master's degree in International Relations at the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Argentina. She has a Fulbright scholarship and is studying international development with a focus on international economic politics and global health, at American University. Johanna joined PAHO's KBR team to advance a systematic review and an evaluation of healthcare services, and to support collaboration networks such as the Social Innovation Health Initiative. Johanna worked for the National Institute for Cancer of the Ministry of Health in Argentina improving referral systems, and in a certification scheme for healthcare centers to improve cancer care in children. You can contact her on LinkedIn.
Christopher Khanoyan is a public health professional who recently completed his Master of Public Health (MPH) at George Washington University (GWU) and has a great deal of experience in managing data and supporting principal investigators in a wide range of public health related projects. He also interned at the GWU Medical Center analyzing birth outcome epidemiology among the target population of pregnant mothers with ulcers. He also worked for the GWU School of Nursing to investigate studies and data collection in relation to Alzheimer's and cancer survivorship contributing to presentations and support for publications. He then joined PAHO's KBR team to intern by contributing to ongoing initiatives, supporting resource mobilization, and providing helpful strategic information to support further developments, including making some key resources accessible to populations with visual and aural impairments. You can contact him on LinkedIn.
Rita Isabel Lechuga is currently pursing her MPH from the George Washington University, and she currently serves as an international PAHO consultant. She obtained her doctor of medicine degree from Universidad Westhill. Additionally, she has written three publications for BMJ along with a focus on BMJ Outcomes. During her internship here, she enjoyed meeting many interesting people, networking, learning about the PAHO/WHO, learning about quality of research and the tools available. She contributed to peer review of articles for medical and public health journals; promotion of standardized tools for health research and health systems research. She performed data analysis and surveying (both qualitative and quantitative methods) of implementation of Research for Health Policy on Member States of the Organization; liaison between PAHO and the Organization of American states, promoting research standardization among scholarship recipients; and revamping and promoting of Health Research Web©. Find her on LinkedIn.
Alanna Berdanier is currently working as a Data Assistant at the AIDs Foundation of Chicago. She graduated in May 2015 with her Master's in Public Health, concentrating in Epidemiology at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. She graduated from College of Charleston in South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. During her four-month internship with PAHO's KBR department, her main project was conducting an evaluation of capacity development initiatives in the Caribbean Region. She also contributed to the OAS scholarship agreement, conducting a Research Interest Group, editing and formatting two KBR newsletters, managing the intern Facebook page and organizing intern tours. After graduation she plans on coming back to the Washington, DC area to start her career. Find her on LinkedIn.
Daniella Restrepo interned at PAHO in the summer of 2013, while she was completing her M.A. in International Affairs at American University. Daniella supported the Research, Promotion and Development Team in the implementation of their communications strategy by writing the June and August newsletters, revamping the website, and managing the Twitter account. She also contributed to the organization of webinars and brown bag lunch events, and wrote a case study on scientific journalism. One of her favorite projects was working in the Art for Research initiative, where she had the chance to interview artist Shelly Xie. Daniella currently works in communications at the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Bridget Lee interned at PAHO from May to August 2014. She is currently a student at the University of Saskatchewan's School of Public Health in Saskatoon, Canada. Originally from Vancouver, BC, she completed her undergraduate degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. During her four month internship at PAHO as a Master of Public Health student, she worked on the scoping and analysis of Cancer Research capacities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her internship also allowed her the opportunity to take on many other roles and responsibilities at PAHO including the organization of intern tours, the editing of the KBR department's newsletter, and the organization of a Research Interest Group that hosted guests from the NIH/NCI's department of Implementation Science. Her internship at PAHO has further enhanced her interests in health research promotion and development, a field in public health in which she hopes to continue working in during her public health career. After completing her graduate degree in June 2015, she moved back to her hometown in Vancouver, BC, and is currently employed by the Provincial Health Services Authority. Find her on LinkedIn.
Stefanie Soelling, originally from Seattle, Washington, interned at PAHO during the year of 2013, and she conducted survey on manager compliance with PAHO Policy on research for Health. It was to establish a baseline for such evaluations of the implementation of PAHO's Policy on research for Health in the Pan American Sanitary Bureau. The survey also focused on country offices and management positions. She is a current medical student at Emory School of Medicine. During her internship here, she was a senior at Georgetown University, and she obtained her degree in Biology of Global Health. She was then interested in science and policy prior to the internship with the Research Promotion and Development team.
Claudia Frankfurter interned at PAHO during the summer of 2015, and she developed a score card to assess the implementation of PAHO's Policy on Research for Health (CD49/10). Claudia derived a framework for assessing the uptake of the policy, piloted the scorecard to generate a baseline assessment of policy implementation, and drafted a roll-out plan with recommendations for its institutionalization and operationalization within PAHO and its Member States. Moreover, she compiled a case study investigating the impact of international anti-corruption strategies on health outcomes across the world, advanced a proposal promoting the integration of policy and health research, coordinated a Research Interest Group Seminar in collaboration with the United States Marine Corps, and supported the compilation of the summer KBR newsletter. Her time at PAHO unequivocally enriched her understanding of global health and provided her with first-hand insight into the international health policy-making process. Her internship has inspired her to pursue a future in clinical medicine that is tightly intertwined with policy-making and advocacy within the landscape of global health. She is currently a medical student at the University of Toronto in Canada. Find her research work and on LinkedIn.
Harpreet Kaur interned with the Research Promotion and Development team from June 2014 to August 2014. During the internship, she supported the development of a proposal to reassess research as a public health function in the Americas. She delivered with excellence on every aspect of her work, dealt professionally with complex communications issues, and accomplished the objectives of her work. Harpreet contributed effectively to developing budgets and the supporting of strategic relationships with partners such as the Council for Health Research for Development. After the internship, she received "The Excellence in Advance Nursing Practice Award in Community Health Nursing" from Binghamton University in New York. She also obtained her Master of Science degree in Community Health and Master of Public Administration. Find her on LinkedIn.
Jimmy Leinterned at PAHO between June and December 2013 as part of the practicum requirement for his Master's degree in International Development at Sciences Po, Paris. Over this six-month period, he developed an assessment tool to evaluate PAHO's Policy on Research for Health and advanced a draft of the implementation strategy for the Policy. He also helped set up the "Art for Research" exhibit on display at PAHO headquarters that was initially unveiled at the 52nd Directing Council. Jimmy recalls that by working at PAHO, he gained a greater understanding for evidence-based medicine and knowledge translation. He seeks to apply this experience towards improving clinical trials methodology, conducting patient-relevant outcomes research, and addressing conditions afflicting older adults and other at-risk populations locally and globally. Jimmy is currently a doctoral student in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Lauren White is pursuing a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior at the University of Minnesota where she is investigating questions related to disease ecology and continues to explore her interests in One Health. During her internship with PAHO in the summer of 2010, Lauren spent time in Buenos Aires researching common practices and attitudes towards clinical trial registration. This experience ultimately led to a publication, and Lauren credits this internship with dramatically improving her Spanish skills, while broadening her understanding of public health policy, capacity building, and survey validation. Find her on LinkedIn.
Louisa Stuwe completed two internships at PAHO (in Research Promotion and Development and Health Technologies) between January and August 2010. After that, Louisa went on to obtain a Master of Public Health from the EHESP French School of Public Health and a Master of Public Administration from Sciences Po Paris. Before coming back to the PAHO Research Promotion team as a consultant late 2015, Louisa was is in charge of health services research programs at the French Ministry of Health, was a public affairs and strategic monitoring project manager for the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and a consultant for the World Bank Group. Louisa believes the experience she gained at PAHO has allowed her to gain a holistic view of public health and helped her, at a very early stage of her career, to be sensitized to the importance of evidence-based decision-making in health. Find her on LinkedIn.
Nicholas Hart completed his internship at PAHO during the Fall of 2014 as a part of a program from his university, Indiana University. Nicholas worked on research about clinical trial registration in Latin America and the Caribbean, and he also helped with writing for the website, including peer editing. That was his first ever internship, and he had the opportunity to learn how to be an employee in the work environment. After the internship, he returned to school as a senior along with a focus on a senior thesis relating to pharmaceutical spending in the United States and presidential candidates' plans on controlling the spending. He is planning to attend law school at Indiana University next year. Find him on LinkedIn.
Sameea Hassim completed her internship during June to September 2012. During her internship, she contributed to a few research projects under the guidance of research team members, including writing an article for a scientific journal related to one of the projects. She also prepared a case study for Why Invest in Research for Health. She also managed the Research Interest Group (RIG), which is an intern run event where all professionals are invited. After the internship, Sameea embarked on a PhD in Political Science, and received a fellowship from the European Commission to undertake a joint doctoral degree between Luiss Guido Carli in Rome and Université Libre de Buxelles in Belgium. Her current research delves into the politics in making global policies involving science and biotechnology, which she looks at two advisory groups such as the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts in Immunization (SAGE) and UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC). Her analysis examines openness and demonstrates how openness works in these two cases. During her PhD, she has also been awarded prizes to carry out her research work at the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and society at UC Berkeley and the Centre d'Études et des Recherches Internationales (CERIUM) at the Université de Montreal, Canada. Find her on LinkedIn.
Natalia Godoy is a medical doctor from Colombia. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique in France. During her four-month internship, she developed a proposal to implement a standardized knowledge translation curriculum for postgraduate health programs that resulted from collaboration and consultation with key partners. Beside this main project, she also wrote a case study, organized a Research Interest Group meeting, and engaged in additional internship activities in and outside PAHO. She is currently working at CIDEIM (International Center for Medical Research and Training) in Cali-Colombia. Find her on LinkedIn.
Pauline Obale graduated with a degree in Biology from Imperial College London. During her three-month internship with the PAHO's KBR department her projects included, but were not limited to: promoting the use of reporting guidelines with stakeholders in the Americas; contributing to the editing, formatting and dissemination of the July - September 2014 and October - December 2014 Newsletters; and, web content management. Her case studies focused on the problems faced by current malaria control strategies and how research can help resolve those problems in order to promote health. Following her internship, she intends to pursue a Masters in the public health field either in the UK or France. Find her on LinkedIn
Pablo Rodriguez Feria was an intern at the Health Systems and Services (HSS) department. A final year medical student, Pablo plans to complete his residency in the US and pursue a masters in Public Health in Europe.
Kei Alegria-Flores after PAHO, Kei went on to pursue her Master's degree in Global Public Health from George Washington University. She conducted a qualitative research study in Peru on the social determinants of M/XDR-TB, a project that she will submit to PAHO for comment after her analysis is finished. She is also working as a Research Fellow in the Social Protection and Health division of the Inter-American Development Bank. Her main projects there are in maternal and child health in Chiapas, Mexico and NTDs in Guatemala.
María Cecilia Barreix is currently a consultant in the WHO's Reproductive Health and Research Department working on maternal morbidity research. She previously worked as a Health System Strengthening Analyst for the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Monrovia, Liberia, supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) develop and improve health information monitoring and evaluation systems and human resources management. María Cecilia recalls that her experience at PAHO taught her to solve problems by looking for background information, past experiences, and solutions that others in similar situations had come up with, instead of "re-inventing the wheel".
Chimaraoke Iko is currently working as a research assistant at the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and is also in the process of applying to medical school. During her internship, Chimaraoke learned about the importance of research and evidence-based medicine. In addition to that, she had the opportunity to publish her first paper, a study to determine the extent to which Latin American and Caribbean biomedical journals have complied with clinical trial registration and reporting guidelines, written in collaboration with PAHO staff.
Research Promotion and Development at the Pan American Health Organization recognizes the importance of developing a new generation of public health leaders who will contribute to PAHO's mission. Internship opportunities are available every fall, spring, and summer for young and energetic individuals entering the public health field. Although these are unpaid positions, interns will gain valuable work experience as part of an international team that promotes research for health in the Americas. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to practice and hone their Spanish language skills.
Strong preference is given to internship candidates with an availability of 6 months.
Over the course of their internship, interns are required to complete the following in conjunction with their internship activities:
- Case studies - Emphasize the importance of research in advancing and promoting health so as to lead to development. To see previous case studies, click here.
- Research Interest Group (RIG) - This is an informal discussion space in which PAHO staff members can discuss challenges, best practices and novel ideas in research. The highlight of the RIG is a presentation by an external speaker whose attendance has been organized by the intern. Previous RIG activities can be viewed here.
Publications by former interns and research voluntaties
See all publications
CURRENT INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES /NOT TAKING MORE APPLICATIONS (Updated 27 April, 2018)
Research Communications Internship
We seek an intern to contribute to the communications work of the research team by reaching out to our different key audiences, collaborating with them in the implementation of research initiatives that the team is involved in.
The communications intern is a valuable assert and will be involved in improving the research strategy and strategically using the web and social media. The communications intern will be involved in the following projects:
- Advance and manage our social media channels.
- Contribute to the improvement of the communications strategy
- Write case studies that illustrate the value of research (see examples here)
- Contribute to user-friendly content on the website, including, but not limited to, the research newsletter and press releases.
- Write for the scientific and/or general press on key aspects of research
- Contribute to the work of PAHO with partners, such as the EQUATOR Network, for reporting guidelines, and COHRED for the HRWeb.
Public Health Research Internship
We seek an intern to contribute to public health research on priority topics and to highlight its importance for human well-being and development. The health research intern will be working on any of the following projects:
- Participating in the elaboration of systematic reviews to inform policies and practice.
- Conducting studies on trial registration and assessing the adherence to the International Clinical Trial Register Platform of the World Health Organization. This activity improves standards and observance of good practices.
- Research policy implementation: participating in the data collection, mapping and preparation of the Health Research Web (HRWeb) that provides essential data about national health research systems in the Americas.
- Working towards the implementation of PAHO's Policy on Research for Health (we suggest you get acquainted with it by accessing the documentation)
- Knowledge Translation (evidence to policy and practice) especially through:
- Evidence Informed Policy Network, a knowledge translation initiative aimed at strengthening national health research systems and the capacities to inform policies with scientific evidence in a systematic way
- Enhancement of PAHO's Guideline Development process, for our technical cooperation documents to be developed through processes to ensure these are systematically informed by the best evidence
Internship Eligibility Criteria
- Minimum 20 years old.
- Enrolled in a program as a graduate, or post graduate student, with a concentration in a field relevant to PAHO's work (i.e. Public Health, International Affairs, Latin American Studies, or a related health or social science area). If applying within six months from graduation applicant is still eligible.
- The duration of an internship is a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of six months; longer stays are preferred
- Strong writing, research, and organizational skills to support technical cooperation efforts. Prior research experience is a plus.
- Ability to work independently and demonstrate initiative and flexibility.
- Being fluent in English and Spanish will enable interns to excel at their work if working in Washington DC. Interns should speak the main language used in the office where they intern. Speaking other PAHO and local language will be an asset. PAHO languages are Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.
- Proof of health insurance coverage.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or visa and work authorization if you are not a U.S. citizen. Applicants interested in interning at the PAHO Headquarters in Washington D.C. who are not authorized to work in the United States must be granted a G4 visa. Although obtaining a visa is normally the applicant's responsibility, the Area of Human Resources Management will provide a letter of support if necessary for visa documentation.
- Not have any relatives as active staff working (consultants included) at PAHO (HQ, country offices, or Centers). Under the Staff regulations, relatives are defined as:
- Subject to Staff Rule 110.7.3: The term "immediate family member" means the spouse, children, and siblings of the staff member and the children, parents and siblings of the staff member's spouse.
- Persons closely related by blood or by marriage to a staff member shall not normally be appointed if another equally qualified person is available. Persons closely related by blood or marriage include an immediate family member, as defined in Rule 110.7.3, and grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews, as well as any step-relatives, of the staff member or his or her spouse - Staff Rule 410.3.1
NOT TAKING MORE APPLICATIONS (UPDATE 27 April, 2018)
There are currently no available internship positions for the summer of 2017. We are now accepting applications for late 2017 / early 2018.