M2 Internship Update: Imran Siddiq

1. How did you obtain your M2 thesis internship – was the process easy or difficult?

Internship can be considered as first step towards career in certain field of public health. One has to be clear about what he wants from the internship and what he can contribute. In my case, obtaining internship at WHO was a lengthy process and took more than three months. There is a standard procedure for applying to WHO internships (http://www.who.int/employment/internship/interns/en/). Upon consultation, I also contacted head of the mentioned department at WHO. On the other hand, WHO does not pay interns and Geneva is an expensive city. Hence, interns have to consider this issue before applying. Finally, finding accommodation is also one of the many challenges.

On the other hand, thesis is a time-consuming component of MPH Program. My suggestion is to specify thesis topic at the beginning of internship. Moreover, one has to strike the balance between what and how (s)he wants to do and what is possible to do. Regular contact with academic supervisor is vital part of the thesis. Lastly, I strongly believe in having a mentor who guides you throughout the internship, during MPH Program, and after graduation.

2. What was the focus of your internship and what did day-to-day work look like?

My focus was on conducting survey of selected Ministries of Health in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) for the purpose of examining capacity to demand and use research evidence to improve decision making. Day to day work was mainly about the mentioned survey, as well as, work on my thesis, and others tasks assigned by my supervisor.

3. What do you think about your internship and how does it fit into your future plans?

I am interested in health systems strengthening at low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), and believe that getting research experience in mentioned filed is of high importance before working in this area. Therefore, I chose Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) at WHO for my internship since they specialize in my field of interest and closely work with health ministries of LMICs.

It was a wonderful experience. Besides technical knowledge, it helped me know more about the politics of public health. There were seminars on different topics of population health almost every day which was a great learning opportunity. In addition, WHO is filled with current and future healthcare experts. Being an intern provides one with the opportunity to meet them and strengthen his/her network.

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