September 18, 2012

My Summer Internship at the World Health Organization

Post By:
Catherine Shih
MBA/MPH in Global Health Management, 2013 

In 2010, over eight hundred billion was spent on pharmaceuticals globally.  This represents about a quarter of the global expenditure on health illustrating the importance of medicines to not only consumers, but also to governments and payers alike.  Interestingly, the difference in the amount spent on pharmaceuticals on a per capita basis varies significantly between income groups and World Health Organization regions. For example, about $9 per capita is spent in the Africa region compared to $243 per capita in the Europe region.  This illustrates the disparities in pharmaceutical access across regions of the world. 

Outside the WHO main building
I spent my summer analyzing medicines expenditures around the world for the World HealthOrganization (WHO).  Not only did I get to become a whiz with Microsoft Excel and Access through my work developing chart books, reports and databases, but I also had the opportunity to present my findings to regional representatives.  It is hoped that by presenting relatively up to date information on health expenditures broken down by regional and income level, decision makers can analyze their current medicines financing situations and make improvements. 

Interning with the WHO gave me the opportunity to see how broad health policy is developed, particularly in the area of pharmaceuticals.  In addition, being in Geneva offered me not only the opportunity to participate in events and seminars put on by other UN agencies such as the United Nations, the International LaborOffice and the World Trade Organization, but also the experience of living in Switzerland.  

With the summer now over, I hope to maintain my ties with the WHO through participating in pharmaceutical related seminars and talks here in Boston, in addition to doing part time projects related to the work I was doing this summer.

Catherine Shih is a 2nd year MPH-MBA with experience in tax policy, international trade, and organizational development.  She spent the summer in Geneva working for the World Health Organization and eating chocolate. 

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment