Advice to young professionals in global health

Today, our JSI/DC professional development group is hosting a “Speed Networking” event for young professionals to chat with senior staff about their career paths and advice for navigating the field of global health. It’s fantastic to work for an organization where senior staff are willing to volunteer their lunch hour to engage in this kind of activity, and share their words of wisdom.

A few of the very candid pearls they shared in advance for young public health professionals:

See the big picture, but sweat the details;
Keep an open mind, challenge the orthodoxies;
Learn from the field (“a DESK IS A DANGEROUS PLACE FROM WHICH TO VIEW THE WORLD” – John LeCarre);
Help people “diagnose” and solve their own problems.

–       Robert Steinglass, Immunization Senior Technical Advisor

Try to focus in on what it is you like or feel most passionate about in Public Health and then look for mentors that you can work with–even if you just start off by making photocopies and editing documents, you’ll learn so much and make connections that will help you later as you take on more responsibility and define your own niche.

–       Stephanie Mullen, Director/MEASURE Evaluation

Listen carefully and respectfully to experienced colleagues, use your mentors wisely, learn as much as quickly as you can, laugh a lot, gain useful skills, and network. But in the end, do not hesitate to innovate and take risks. Only results at scale make a difference in public health.

–       Nancy Harris, Director

If you are interested in international public health, then it’s important to work and live overseas, particularly early on in your career. Work to find a job where you are posted overseas for at least two years. Don’t worry if you are not in a long term relationship and will be going alone. You are more likely to find someone who shares your interest and passion to work and live overseas once you get there yourself.

–       Mary Carnell, Director/Center for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health

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