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Allissa Desloge - WHO, Geneva, Switzerland

WHO-Geneva
This photo was taken on of my last days at the WHO. I am sitting right above the main café and the library. The flags hanging in the background of the photo represent the 194 member states.

Career goal: To work for an international NGO doing research, policy development and advocacy around the impacts of noncommunicable diseases on maternal, reproductive and child health.

Internship outline: This summer I interned at the World Health Organization in the Unit for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). Throughout the summer I worked on two main projects. The first project consisted of expanding and finalizing the Multi-sectoral Action Plan to Prevent and Control Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD MAP) Toolkit. The second project I worked on was the Implementation Research Pilot Projects. Implementation research and science is still a relatively new field, so our department had a goal of conducting three implementation research projects around NCDs in order to create a model or guide that other countries could utilize in the future with similar types of projects.

Value of experience: No value could be assigned to this experience. The people I met, the events I attended, and the work I completed exceeded my expectations. Not only did I gain a lot of knowledge throughout my experience at the WHO, I gained some new mentors and some great friends. The opportunity to work and collaborate with people from around the world is something I will cherish forever.

Best moment/experience: It is hard to pick just one ‘best moment,’ especially when the first week of my internship consisted of attending a multitude of World Health Assembly events, but my favorite moment was when everything I was working on finally “clicked.” Throughout the summer, I worked on the WHO NCD MAP Toolkit which provides countries with a set of tools to create, implement and evaluate a national multi-sectoral action plan to prevent and control NCDs. A little over halfway through the summer, my supervisor presented the toolkit at an NCDs conference which was attended by representatives from many countries. After the presentation, representatives from two countries approached my boss about analyzing their country’s current plan and he directed them to me saying that I would do it. I was a little apprehensive at first to review and give feedback on a country’s national plan, but in doing so, I got to utilize the tools I had been working on the whole summer. Being able to actually use the toolkit and review a real life plan gave me a new lens to look through and everything about the toolkit “clicked.” After this experience, I was able to go back and edit the tools in a way that made it more comprehensive to users. It was a great moment where everything I was working on, and everything I had learned, really came together.

Funding source: Yale School of Public Health Summer Funding