Career Strategy Fellowships SEARCH FELLOWSHIPS

Planning Global/Public Health Experiences

You are here

When planning a Global Health or Public Health project, it is vital that you work with a faculty member and/or other experts in the field to make sure that you are approaching your project in a way that:

  • is ethical,
  • meets the needs and goals of the community you will be working with,
  • aligns with recognized best practice in the field.

As you are thinking about your experience, engage with the resources on this page. If you are carrying out research, use the video above as a starting point.

Please be in touch if you would like to talk about your plans.

Identify an issue and your role within that

You will come to the project with a unique combination of skills, knowledge, background, and other factors which will make you more suited to some kinds of engagement than others. There will also be some development of your skills and knowledge and some self-reflection that will need to take place before you undertake the work.

    Question: Ask yourself:

  •  Why do I feel compelled to engage with this issue? And why now?
  •  What is the need for my involvement? Who identified this need?
  •  What skills and background do I have that would make me useful in this area?
  •  How could my skills and background be best put to use in this area?
  •  Are there any instances where my presence or lack of knowledge/skills/experience may be a burden to the community I am hoping to serve?

Supporting materials:

Addressing the Colonial Mindset in Global Health

Are You a Helper? An Advocate? An Organizer? A Rebel?

Find a Faculty Adviser and seek guidance

Before you start any Global or Public Health related project, you will need to find a faculty member who will guide you through the project and supervise your research.

Tips for getting started:

  • Look up Faculty bios and research interests
  • Start with your broader field of intererst and narrow it down to a more specific topic within that field
  • Identify what projects are currently ongoing
  • Consider how you could be of use - think of any previous experience you have had and any relevant skills you have to offer
  • Don't be afraid to cold email. But do it right - see the resources below!


Requesting letters of recommendation

Check the Poorvu Center Academic Strategies Program workshops on Cultivating Relationships with Faculty Mentors

Establish community partnerships

All Global Health and Public Health work requires support and engagement from organizations and communities.

        Question: Ask yourself:

  • Are there established organizations already doing the kind of work I hope to do? Are there people at Yale who already have relationships with this community?
  • If yes, how could I get involved with their work?
  • If no, are there community leaders already involved with the issues I would like to engage with?
  • How could I establish a relationship with this community?

Suggested activities:

Global Citizenship, Local Actions, and Community-building

With and From – Participatory Methods

Identify stakeholders

When planning a Global Health or Public Health project, it is important to check, and keep checking, that what you are doing is in keeping with what the community you are serving wants/needs.

    Question: Ask yourself:

  • What do I hope to accomplish in this project?
  • Who are the stakeholders in this project?
  • What do they hope to accomplish from this project?
  • Have I engaged with and listened to the stakeholders to identify how I can be of service?
  • Are there any limitations to my potential involvement that I, and the stakeholders, should be aware of?

Suggested activities:

Research for What? For Whom?

With and From - Fair Trade Learning

Establish context

Before you enter a new environment to carry out Global Health or Public Health work, you will want to carry out some research on the area. This will help you to prepare for engaging with people there and to reflect on the potential impact of your presence.

Question: Ask yourself

  • What do I know about the environment I will be entering and the people who live and work there?
  • What do I know about the history of the area and power dynamics that have operated/still operate in this area?
  • What are the socio-economic factors I may need to be aware of as I enter this space?
  • What do I represent on entering this environment?

Suggested activities:

History, Inequity and Place - How does examining historically rooted inequity help us to compare and contrast contemporary local contexts of inequality and oppression?

Self-understanding and Cultural Differences - Can you exchange across cultural differences if you don’t have an understanding of your own identity?

Further learning materials:

Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health  - Online Training Course

Interdependence: Global Solidarity and Local Actions Toolkit - Guided self-reflection activities

Essentials of Global Health - Coursera Course offered by Yale University

Further reading:

Community Based Global Learning: The Theory and Practice of Ethical Engagement at Home and Abroad

(Eric Hartman,Richard C. Kiely, Jessica Friedrichs, Christopher Boettcher, and Rafia Zakaria)

Becoming World Wise (Richard Slimbach). Particularly chapter 3 “The Mindful Traveller”