Global Public Health Careers

“Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. That can mean vaccinating children and adults to prevent the spread of disease. Or educating people about the risks of alcohol and tobacco. Public health sets safety standards to protect workers and develops school nutrition programs to ensure kids have access to healthy food. Public health works to track disease outbreaks, prevent injuries and shed light on why some of us are more likely to suffer from poor health than others. The many facets of public health include speaking out for laws that promote smoke-free indoor air and seatbelts, spreading the word about ways to stay healthy and giving science-based solutions to problems.”

Read more from the American Public Health Association.

“International/global health addresses the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries (sometimes known as developing countries). Many times, it also includes the health of displaced or traveling populations. Health concerns in these populations include not only infectious and tropical diseases (such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases and malaria), but also chronic and non-infectious diseases. The field of global health addresses all the same public health issues that are domestic health concerns, like mental illness, trauma, gender-based violence, age-related illnesses and conditions. However, the solutions to these issues must be innovative to address unique challenges with international populations.”

Continue reading at Explore Health Careers.

Information Gathering

Read trade magazines, newsletters, and popular websites in your industry area. Places to start include Global Health Now, Public Health Newswire, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Subscribe to blogs and newsletters, follow industry insiders via social media; and research the types of positions that are available in those fields. Company websites, O*NET, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are helpful resources. You must show not only an interest, but also knowledge about the industry.

To learn more about careers in global health, read this guide to public health careers which includes specialties and in-demand skills. Check out Global Health Careers: How Can I Make a Difference?, 50 Top Public Health Jobs, and 50 Awesome Public Health Jobs (by degree level).

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Making Connections

Attend employer information sessions, industry events on- and off-campus, and connect with popular professional organizations regionally and internationally. Most relevant professional associations in global health include American Public Health Association, World Health Professionals Alliance, and Society for Public Health Education. Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational, and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry.

Joining groups on LinkedIn related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Also, reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway and Georgetown’s alumni page on LinkedIn. Our website provides helpful guidelines on networking and informational interviewing.

Making Connections at Georgetown

Georgetown offers a number of opportunities for Hoyas to get involved. Joining a school club is an excellent way to learn more about the industry, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. The Global Health Institute on Georgetown’s campus provides coursework, events, and fellowships to help students gain exposure to global health research and careers. Some global health-related clubs include Georgetown University Students for Health and Medical Equity and UNICEF.

Travel outside of the U.S. with GlobeMed or in the D.C. area with Center for Social Justice Alternative breaks (such as Health & Society) and GU Students for Health and Medical Equity (GUSHME) to serve communities that lack adequate access to healthcare. Learn about local health issues while giving back to the DC and campus community by volunteering with groups, such as Caring for Children with Cancer, GU Oncology Patient Support, and St. Elizabeth’s Outreach. For more student club information, visit Campus Groups. Participate in research and get published in the peer-reviewed Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences and present at the Undergraduate Research Conference. On and off-campus jobs are another excellent way to build skills valued by employers. 

Preparing Materials

To better understand what skills you need to highlight on your resume, check out internships, fellowships, and entry-level positions in the global health industry. Your resume should be one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities. Be concise. See our resume section for more tips and advice.

Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities. The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters, see our cover letter tips.


For listings beyond our campus recruiting platform, Handshake, visit Idealist, devex, Global Health Council, Global Health Jobs, Public Health Jobs, and 80,000 hours job boards.

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  • Government: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | National Institutes of Health | Food and Drug Administration | USAID | Peace Corps | HHS’s Office of Global Affairs | U.S. Department of State | Top 10 Government Agencies for Public Health Jobs
  • Bilateral/Multilateral Agencies: Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) | World Bank Group | UNWomen | United Nations Development Programme | United Nations Population Fund | UNAIDS
  • Nonprofit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Doctors without Borders | Save the Children | | The Carter Center | Global Fund for Women | Center for Reproductive Law and Policy | American Refugee Committee | Kaiser Family Foundation | International Red Cross | Research-focused NGOs