Noreen is a Health Policy and Administration dual degree MPH/MBA student with concentrations in global health and finance. Noreen completed her practicum with IMA World Health. IMA is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Washington, D.C. that offers sustainable and efficient solutions to health-related problems. Their projects include providing medical supplies, fighting diseases, strengthening health systems and women’s empowerment. Noreen was hired as a Business Development Intern and this was a paid experience. Noreen was interested in working in the headquarters of a NGO because she aspires to work behind the scenes in a managerial/operational role while providing ground support when needed in a global health context.
Noreen's term at IMA provided her extensive experience in the proposal acquisition process and the associated regulations and guidelines. In this position, she was integral in the organization of the proposal process and interpreting and communicating proposal requirements to ensure compliance with external consortia and consultants in order to fulfill donor requirements. Additionally, she had the responsibility of backing partner development and management efforts. With regards to the organization of the proposal, Noreen was tasked with duties such as formatting CVs, conducting background research to determine the practicality of pursuing upcoming opportunities and collecting the necessary proposal components from different departments in order to submit a final product.
What was the most valuable thing you learned through your global professional experience?
The most valuable thing I learned was how the entire global health field works. I obtained a greater understanding of the players in the game and the role that each player plays. I gained a better understanding of how I could formulate and combine my skills to prepare for a career in global health. Lastly, I learned where I could use my strengths to make the greatest impact on communities abroad.
How did this experience prepare you for work in public health?
This experience prepared me for work in public health by helping me to understand what kind of organization I wanted to work for and what I ideally would like to do within that organization that best complemented my strengths. It also allowed me to understand my gaps in knowledge and how to best mitigate these gaps by either improving on certain skills, increasing my knowledge base or networking with professionals in the positions I saw myself in.
How did your perspectives or worldview change as a result of this experience?
I realized that we live in a globalized world whether we choose to see it or not; even aspects of the world that are seemingly unrelated to the U.S. effect the U.S. and its stakeholders and it is in our best interest to keep America as an integral participant in global health. I no longer believe that there is a disassociation between public health and global health. Global health embodies the essence of public health, primary prevention. By assisting developing countries today we are preventing mass disasters tomorrow.
What advice would you give to current global health students?
The advice I would give to future global health students is to take every opportunity to learn everything and network with people in the field. It is okay that you do not know everything in the moment but, if you continue to be curious and engaged you will learn everything you need to to be successful. Be sure to soak up as many skills and knowledge as possible so you will not walk into a situation ignorant; however, be assured that it is okay if you stumble and fall from time to time. Patience, perseverance and determination will take you a long way.