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The purpose of the internship

  • to provide a structural framework to match trainees from diverse academic backgrounds with a PAHO technical or administrative program in which their educational experience will be enhanced through practical assignments;
  • to expose trainees to the work and goals of PAHO, and increase their knowledge and understanding of the Organization’s mission;
  • to provide PAHO programs with invaluable input from the trainees’ various perspectives and specializations. Most students are placed in health-related programs, although other disciplines can be considered such as Information technology or Finances if appropriate.




  • Minimum age of 20 years old.
  • Enrolled in a program as a senior undergraduate, graduate or post graduate, with a concentration in a field relevant to PAHO’s work in particular:  Public Health, Management, Business, International Affairs, Latin American studies, or related health or social science areas.
  • Have strong writing, research, and organizational skills to support technical cooperation efforts.
  • Able to work independently and demonstrate initiative and flexibility.
  • Strong team orientation;
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
  • Show willingness to learn from mistakes.
  • Produce and deliver quality results.
  • Respect and promote difference.
  • Able to work in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Be fluent in the working language of the duty station to which they would be assigned and who have a working knowledge of another official language of the Organization (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French).
  • Have health insurance coverage.
  • Not have previously participated in PAHO/WHO's internship/practicum program.
  • Not have any relatives of active staff working at PAHO/WHO (HQ, country offices, or Centers).  Under the Staff regulations relatives are defined as:

      A. Subject to Staff Rule 110.7.3: The term “immediate family member” means the spouse, children, parents, and siblings of the staff member and the children, parents and siblings of the staff member’s spouse.

      B. Persons closely related by blood or by marriage to a staff member shall not normally be appointed if another equally qualified person is available. Persons closely related by blood or marriage include an immediate family member, as defined in Rule 110.7.3, and grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, and nephews, as well as any step-relatives, of the staff member or his or her spouse - Staff Rule 410.3.1

    • The same requirements  except that Volunteers should have finished their studies and their experience and professional background enable them to make a valuable contribution to the work of the Organization.


    Payment, Liability, Insurance

    Under PAHO regulations, no provision is made for remuneration of interns/volunteers. All costs connected with internships must therefore be borne by the interns or their sponsoring institutions or governments. This includes costs relating to travel, living and accommodation (arrangements responsibility of the interns).  The following stipulations should be noted with regard to insurance coverage:

    PAHO accepts no responsibility or liability for costs arising from damages, travel, accident and/or illness incurred during an Internship.

    Interns are therefore asked to submit(in advance), proof of coverage by a medical insurance plan valid for locations in which the internship will take place, as interns are not covered by PAHO Insurance Plan.


    Future Employment at PAHO

    There is no expectation of employment at the end of the internship for Interns/volunteers. Interns/volunteers are not eligible to apply for a post with PAHO- including an Agreement for the Performance of Work, Special Services Agreement, When Actually Employed (WAE) or Consultancy - during the period of internship and for the three months immediately following the internship's expiration date.



    Interns at the PAHO HQ in Washington,DC must be lawfully present and able to participate as interns pursuant to U.S. State Department and USCIS rules and regulations.  Applicants interested in interning at the PAHO HQ in Washington DC who are not already law fully present in the United States in an immigration status which permits him/her to participate as an intern, must apply for and be granted a G-IV visa prior to commencing their internship. Although obtaining a visa is normally the applicant's responsibility, the Area of Human Resources Management will provide him/her with a letter of support if necessary for visa documentation.

    For other type of visa, please contact the Internship and Practicum Coordinator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it who will advise you as to whether or not your visa is acceptable. 


    Internship and Practicum Program activities at PAHO Washington, D.C.

    Interns and speakers after the panel discussion on “Health and Culture” - Summer 2007


    In addition to specific technical projects,a variety of training and professional development opportunities are provided to trainees. Visits to international organizations such as the World Bank, the Organization of American States(OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are organized. Trainees also participate in team projects,such as the redaction and publication of the PAHO Internship Newsletter or the organization of a panel discussion on a pressing health issue. 


    How to apply?

    Interns/volunteers should:

    Note that we have only two sessions for interns; therefore, interns should submit their applications as follows:

    • Summer session(June-September): Applications for the Summer Program are accepted between December 1 - January 31 each year.
    • Winter session(December-March): Applications for the Winter Program are accepted between September 1 -October 31 each year.


    Internships and Practicum in PAHO country offices/Pan American Scientific Centers

    Internships and Practicum are also available at the country level.  If interested, please contact the office directly.

    Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 13:25

    Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
    525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
    Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663

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