What types of organizations are working in Global Health?

Due to the scope and intensity of global health challenges, no single country or agency can work alone to tackle these issues. Multiple international agencies and institutions help shape global health polices and fund, implement, and evaluate programs. International and multinational organizations and their regional offices, government agencies, private foundations, universities, and other global health organizations work together to improve public health outcomes, provide technical expertise, and employ new strategies to enhance the constantly evolving practice of public health.

Organizations promoting health globally

Multilateral Agencies

International health organizations are generally divided into three groups: multilateral organizations, bilateral organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Funding from multilateral organizations comes from multiple governments and non-governmental sources and is distributed among many different countries. The prominent multilateral organizations are all part of the United Nations; however, there are other non-UN organizations that are at the forefront of tackling global health challenges, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Examples of multilateral organizations that focus on Global Health:

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) was established shortly after World War II as a multilateral health organization to unite countries in the common goals of tackling disease and achieving better health globally. The organization recruits experts with a wide array of expertise, including medical doctors, researchers, epidemiologists, administrative staff (financial and information systems), statisticians, economists, and other related fields to operate a wide range of programs and projects worldwide. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is the regional field office for WHO in the Americas. To learn more about employment opportunities, the types of skills required, the application process and current vacancies at the WHO, visit their employment page. Please refer to the PAHO website for details on career opportunities or the organization's internship program.

World Bank

As a leading institution for investments in health and development, the World Bank plays a critical role in shaping global health policy. The World Bank strives to alleviate poverty by providing loans, credits, and grants to poor counties to implement various development projects in areas such as education, healthcare, agriculture, environmental and natural resource management, infrastructure, and other relevant projects. The organization offers a variety of career and employment opportunities, professional development and internship opportunities. Please refer to the employment page for a list of current job openings worldwide and internship opportunities.

United Nations Children's Fund

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is a critical player in child health initiatives. The organization spends the majority of its non-administrative budget on promoting health initiatives, and prioritizes the needs of the world's most vulnerable children. UNICEF strives to address major health concerns such as HIV and AIDS, maternal and child nutrition, excessive maternal mortality, increasing vaccination rates, among other areas of importance such as gender equality, and child survival and development. Visit the UNICEF employment page to learn more about what skills and qualifications the organization looks for in its workforce, its application requirements, current vacancies, and internship program.

Bilateral Agencies

A bilateral organization is a government agency or not-for-profit organization that is based in a single country and provides funding to developing countries. These organizations have similar job requirements as international organizations, but generally there are more opportunities for internships and entry-level positions within these organizations.

Examples of bilateral organizations:

United States Agency for International Development

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the largest bilateral agencies involved in global health efforts. It is the lead U.S. government agency that strives to end extreme global poverty while assisting resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID provides funding for and supports global health initiatives in areas such as emerging pandemic threats, family planning, HIV and AIDS, health systems strengthening, malaria, maternal and child health, neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, and tuberculosis (TB). To learn about opportunities at USAID, visit their employment page for details on the types of jobs at USAID, vacancy announcements, urgent hiring needs, and student internships.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The organization is responsible for implementing public health initiatives in the U.S., and also leverages its resources to advance global health initiatives. Other countries have bilateral organizations that perform similar functions. For information on current vacancies and career development, visit the CDC employment page for a list of job opportunities. CDC also offers pubic health training fellowships.  

Non-governmental Organizations

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group that is organized at the local, national or international level. These organizations are task-oriented and are usually organized around particular issues such as health, human rights or the environment.  NGOs are directed by people who share a common interest and perform a wide range of service and humanitarian functions. These types of organizations are often referred to as civil society organizations.

Examples of non-governmental organizations

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres  (MSF) is an organization that strives to help people worldwide where the need is greatest. It is responsible for delivering emergency medical aid to people impacted by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or lack access to care. Visit the employment webpage for more information about MSF and its employment opportunities. MSF offers paid internships that enable participants to gain practical experience while working in the offices of the Communications, Development, Program, Human Resources (both for the field and Executive departments), and Executive departments.

CARE International

CARE International is a humanitarian organization with a mission to fight global poverty. The organization places special emphasis on working with and empowering women as a way to help whole families and communities escape poverty. In fiscal year 2014, CARE reached over 72 million people in 90 countries by supporting 880 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects. The organization's programs focus on emergency response, advocacy, education, maternal health, HIV and AIDS, and food security, among other issues. To learn more about CARE's projects or current vacancies, visit the organization's employment webpage.

Population Services International

Population Services International (PSI) is a nonprofit organization that takes a business approach to saving lives by breaking the traditional development model and addressing the most challenging health problems by using proven business practices such as marketing and franchising. PSI helps build strong health systems in the private and public sector by using the expertise of over 8,900 local staff located in more than 65 countries globally. An important component of the organization is its goal to measure how its programs and initiatives impact local communities. Visit PSI's employment page to learn about current vacancies.

Other opportunities for employment, internships, and fellowships in Global Health

GlobalHealth.gov  
Employment opportunities in a global health related field
GlobalHealthHug.org   
Career and fellowship opportunities in global health and development
Idealist.org

International development job resources                  

Global Health Corps
Fellowship opportunities in global health
Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP) II
Fellowships opportunities through USAID Global Health (GH) bureau
Foundation for Global Scholars Program provides scholars ongoing mentorship to enable young people to tackle global challenges through international experience.