World Health Organisation internship offers four students the experience of a lifetime

World Health Organisation internship offers four students the experience of a lifetime

There was much to celebrate when four Monash MBBS students secured internships at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December. Charlotte O’Leary, Tom Goodwin, Liang Qu and Emily Yeung travelled to Geneva, Switzerland and returned with new insights into global and public health, and another stamp in their passports. Excited about the opportunity to intern at the WHO, Charlotte was keen to live in Geneva with her fellow classmates. “We all knew each other through various means back in Melbourne, largely through the Monash global health community, so when we found out that we were going to be in Geneva together we started planning and have since become close!”

There was much to celebrate when four Monash MBBS students secured internships at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December. Charlotte O’Leary, Tom Goodwin, Liang Qu and Emily Yeung travelled to Geneva, Switzerland and returned with new insights into global and public health, and another stamp in their passports. Excited about the opportunity to intern at the WHO, Charlotte was keen to live in Geneva with her fellow classmates. “We all knew each other through various means back in Melbourne, largely through the Monash global health community, so when we found out that we were going to be in Geneva together we started planning and have since become close!”

The WHO internship program provided the students with a great opportunity to work side by side with a diverse range of top-level medical professionals. As an intern, Liang Qu says he has developed an appreciation for the vastly different stances countries hold on global health issues. “I have attended meetings where countries were required to come to an agreement on particular topics, and quite often, there would be conflicts arising because two countries refused to compromise.” With a new perspective into the oversight of global health, Liang continues, “It's really fascinating to see how the WHO is able to ensure that all countries can work together to achieve better health outcomes.”

Being an intern at the WHO enabled Emily Yeung to utilize her public health knowledge and explore future employment pathways in an international setting. Emily, who completed a Master of International Public Health (MIPH) at the University of Sydney prior to enrolling in the MBBS, was keen to be a part of the program. When asked about her decision to apply she shared, “An internship at the WHO seemed like the most obvious intersection of medicine and global health and therefore a valuable experience given my future career goals.”

Studying the MBBS at Monash has helped Emily prepare for her adventure in Geneva where she completed her internship in the department for management of communicable diseases. “Having some medical knowledge as well as an understanding of the global health context through my MIPH allowed me to fully participate in discussions and propose ideas and directions for the projects I was given.” Throughout her MBBS, Emily made an effort to stay involved in global and public health, and explored ways she could integrate the two into her future career.

Heavily involved in campus activities, Charlotte O’Leary says the engaged student community at Monash as well as the MBBS program played a tremendous role in preparing her for the WHO internship program. “The MBBS taught me to think critically and look beyond a patient’s physical health to explore the many underlying factors that have a bearing on health. It equipped me well to be an independent and innovative thinker - skills that are vitally important in the area of global health.”

When reflecting on her experience in Geneva, Charlotte reveals, “The internship was a fantastic avenue to witness health policy at the highest level. It was a privilege to be able to see the internal workings of such an influential body as the World Health Organisation.”

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