In 2012, the GHFP-II summer Internship program brought together three Interns who had no idea that their paths would cross again as full-time employees. Networking played an important role in each of their career paths and brought them back together to work at Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington. Janet Holt (HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Intern, OHA/TLR) Michael Melchior (HIV Research Intern, OHA/TLR) and Hannah Gardi (HIV/AIDS Community Care and Prevention Intern, OHA/TLR) each have a unique story to tell about their path to a career in global health. Read more here.
Janet came to her GHFP-II Internship with a combination of domestic and international health experience. At GHFP-II she assisted in the development and roll out of various PEPFAR-supported interagency projects focused on HIV treatment, including two trips to South Sudan and Tanzania. Her GHFP-II internship provided her a "chance to see how USAID works from the inside." She says that "(knowledge) of the USAID landscape is invaluable" to her current work with Peace Corps, another government agency involved in international development work. Janet currently serves as a Public Health Program Specialist in the Office of Global Health and HIV (OGHH) at Peace Corps/Washington. She supports field staff and volunteers with technical resources and programmatic guidance in the areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), non-communicable diseases, and alcohol and substance use prevention. Additionally, Janet writes training curricula and volunteer handbooks and works with field staff to design and evaluate their health programs. This position helps her expand beyond her background in HIV to focus on many non-HIV health technical areas. She says, "I love my job."
Michael's GHFP-II Internship prepared him well for a career in global health. He credits his onsite manager, former Fellow Delivette Castor for "tasking me with deliverables that were high-level and meaningful in increasing my network and knowledge." Now, in his role as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Specialist for OGHH at Peace Corps, he splits his time between Peace Corps Interagency Collaborative for Program Improvement (ICPI) and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC). At Peace Corps headquarters, he coordinates all M&E work, including the coordination of all PEPFAR M&E activities. As an agency lead at the ICPI, he represents Peace Corps and supervises staff who participate in innovative data analyses. Michael's network played a large role in securing his current job. Janet sent the position announcement to him and encouraged him to apply. In this role, he not only works again with her, but he also works for an office director who is a former colleague. Melchior's job allows him to continue to interact with current and former GHFP-II Fellows and Interns. He says, "Having personal connections and shared experiences makes work more productive and enjoyable."
Likewise, Hannah credits her GHFP-II network with helping to secure her current position at Peace Corps saying, "I would never have this position if it wasn't for my GHFP-II connections." She was not actively looking for new employment opportunities, but Janet sent her the job announcement because she thought Gardi would be a good fit. As an HIV Care and Treatment Program Specialist, Gardi works with Peace Corps field teams to provide technical assistance. She writes training materials and collaborates with the headquarters health team to ensure they are collaborating across sectors. Gardi also works with an Interagency Team to set priorities aligned with PEPFAR's goals and supports country teams to meet these objectives. Although she has only been in the position for a few months, she already loves the work. She says, "I love knowing that volunteers have an incredible team of dedicated staff behind them doing everything they can to ensure that they have the most current, evidence-based set of resources, tools, and programs at their disposal to make a real difference in their communities."
In distinct and meaningful ways, these alumni are making an impact globally. Michael says that the most rewarding part of his work is "knowing that [he is] helping make a big difference in others' lives." For him, sharing meaningful data "results in improved PEPFAR programming and leads to more people on treatment and fewer people infected. Even one additional life improved is reward enough for me."
By Jennifer Kirk, GHFP-II Performance and Career Development Coordinator.