Have you ever thought about working in policy, or just dropping everything to travel the world and gain insight to how “everything” works? Then why not start by applying to the Global Health Corps? Started in 2008 by a collection of like-minded and global-conscious individuals like Barbara Pierce Bush, her sister Jenna, Jonny Dorsey and Dave Ryan from FACE AIDs and Google’s Charlie Hale and Andrew Bentley. The Corps announced last week what positions would be avaliable for 2013 applicants. We reached out to the president of the Global Health Corps, Barbara, over email to find out what makes an ideal GHC candidate, how applicants could prepare for the role and the start of the corps.
What’s the ideal candidate for Global Health Corps? We know you’re looking for at least an undergraduate degree, but what type of background should a candidate have if interested in the positions?
Barbara Bush: Global Health Corps is looking for young leaders who are willing to embrace the complexity of global health and are committed to social justice. Our fellows value collaboration; they’re flexible, humble, and committed to learning and achieving results. We do not have a single “type” of candidate. Our fellow classes are comprised of young professionals from diverse backgrounds with skill-sets that are often viewed as outside of the traditional health workforce, including financial managers, communications specialists, architects, computer scientists and supply chain analysts. Our fellows are extremely committed to reducing health disparities and increasing health access. Specially, all applicants must be 30 years old or under, have an undergraduate university degree by July 2013, and be proficient in English.
What challenges do potential candidates face once they’ve been vetted? Do they choose where to be placed in Africa, and vice versa, or is that an essential part of the GHC experience?
Candidates can apply for up to three positions at placement organizations within the six countries in which we operate – Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the United States. They apply for defined positions and are accepted based on a heavily vetted process that includes interviews and agreements with placement organizations. Our fellows have ownership and control over their placement as we hope their fellowship year is an enjoyable and worthwhile experience that leads to a career as a changemaker in global health and development.
Since 2008, how has the program evolved? Have candidates come in with a wider global view since the program began?
We’ve seen significant growth in numbers and diversity in the applicant pool, with more than 4,000 young people applying for last years 90 positions. Since we launched, Global Health Corps has placed 216 fellows to work in non-profit and government partners focused on healthcare delivery. Currently, our fourth class consists of 90 fellows from 12 countries working within 34 partner organizations and we plan to offer 110 fellowship positions in our 2013-2014 class. Our goal is to continue growing and engaging more young leaders in the global health movement. All of our fellows are very globally-minded and while they are tackling these problems on a very local level in many cases, they understand how their work contributes to the evolving global health landscape.
Any parting advice for candidates that may travel around the world? Any specific way to prepare for “culture shock” or learning that they can’t just run down to a supermarket–or having to adapt to there being one?
Before they start their fellowship, every fellow participates in a two week orientation at Yale that thoroughly prepares them for the year ahead. A very unique element to the GHC fellowship is what we call the “co-fellow” experience. Each international fellow is paired with a national fellow from their placement country in order to promote cross-cultural knowledge sharing and support, encouraging fellows to reach across borders and disciplines when solving global health challenges. Not only have we seen fellows learn from and support their co-fellows, but they also often reach out to others in their region and are constantly exchanging ideas with each others through our internal email distribution lists, Facebook, and other social media channels. We invest heavily in building a strong community amongst our fellows and alums in order to share best practices and increase partnership (with our fellows coming together for in-person trainings on a quarterly basis). On top of that, the GHC staff and alumni serve as a strong support network for the fellows throughout the year. We feel that there is a real sense of community in each of the classes that helps with the transition.
Are there any significant new roles or changes to GHC for the 2013-2014 term?
Each year, we’ve expanded our class and added new partner organizations to our roster, growing from 22 fellows in our first class to 110 in our 2013-14 class. Based on continued attention on maternal and child issues, we’ve identified and aligned with more organizations focused on this area specifically. We continue to seek diverse partnerships with large multilaterals to small grassroots organizations to address change on every level. In addition, we’ve been thrilled to offer placements within policy making institutions such as the city of Newark Mayor’s Office and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. The full unveiling of the partnership list for our 2013-2014 class will be posted on Dec. 21st.
Walking through the application process, how should candidates that move onto the second round look at the job placement? Have any backgrounds worked specifically well for a certain role?
The entire application process is considered complete when both parts are submitted therefore there is technically only one round. The applicants must complete the general essay question portion and then apply to three specific job positions after they are posted on Dec. 21st. We specifically work to create a diverse class, so non-traditional backgrounds and skillsets are very welcome! For example, candidates with marketing, fundraising, or monitoring and evaluation experience are each well-suited for similar roles within one of our partners organizations. We work with our partners to ensure our fellows are matched appropriately.
You can find out more about the application process and goals of Global Health Corps here.