Consultant on influenza and emerging pathogens at the human-animal interface

Objectives of the department

The objective of the Health Emergencies Department (PHE) of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is to increase health sector resilience to emergencies and disasters. PHE assists the Member States to strengthen the health sector’s capacities in prevention, risk reduction, preparedness, surveillance, response, and early recovery for emergencies and disasters related to any hazards (natural, man-made, biological, chemical, radiological and others) and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain disasters, including outbreaks, and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations. PHE is responsible for ensuring the implementation and updating of the PAHO/WHO Institutional Emergency and Disaster Response Policy.

Objective of the consultancy

Under the general supervision of the Deputy Director, PHE, and the direct supervision of the Unit Chief, Infectious Hazards Management Unit, the incumbent will be responsible to support the Member States in the Americas in preparedness and response activities related to influenza, COVID-19, and other emerging pathogens at the human-animal interface. She/he will coordinate closely with other professionals in the PHE’s Unit of Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment as well as other PAHO Departments.


  1. Organize and facilitate joint consultations of public, animal, and wildlife health experts from the Member States and partner institutions to share experiences and map out national capacities for the surveillance and laboratory workup of influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and other potentially emerging zoonotic viruses;
  2. Develop guidance for public and animal health authorities in the Americas on best practices for the regular exchange and joint analysis of surveillance data related to influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory viruses (ORV);
  3. Survey national surveillance information systems to define a roadmap for the integration and interoperability of public health and animal systems;
  4. Review evidence on farm animal and wildlife species susceptible to SARS-CoV-2;
  5. Assess and map the risks in the Americas of SARS-CoV-2 transmission between humans and animals and of the establishment of SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in susceptible farm animals and wildlife species;
  6. Propose systems for the early detection and response to zoonotic influenza and SARS-CoV-2 transmission;
  7. Evaluate needs and, as necessary, support the planning and implementation of activities with countries outlined in the report of October 2017’s regional consultation on Strengthening Influenza Inter-Sectoral Surveillance and Response;
  8. Update regional guidelines on surveillance of yellow fever epizootics and facilitate related training at the country level;
  9. Support the development and revision of regional guidelines for the surveillance, early detection, and investigation of influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and ORV;
  10. Support the management and analysis of epidemiological and virologic (public health) surveillance data on influenza, COVID-19 and ORV received from the Member States;
  11. Develop a regional surveillance dashboard for public health events at the human-animal interface;
  12. Prepare progress reports and scientific briefs related to influenza/COVID-19 human-animal interface destinated to scientific publication and internal/external partners; and
  13. Perform other related activities as requested.

Education requirements (qualifications)

Essential: A university degree in veterinary medicine from a recognized institution.

Desirable: An advanced degree in public health, epidemiology, microbiology, infectious diseases, or a related field from a recognized university.

Experience requirements

Essential: At least five years of combined national and international experience in veterinary public health.

Desirable: Experience in designing and implementing surveillance systems or disease control programs. Knowledge of risk assessment methodologies. Research in epidemic-prone or emerging pathogens.


Very good knowledge of English or Spanish with a working knowledge of the other language. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an asset.


Once PAHO/HQ facilities reopen, the incumbent is expected to perform this position’s duties and responsibilities in Washington DC, USA. He/she should be available to travel and undertake missions within the Region.

Expected contract duration

12 months upon signature of the contract, extendable depending on performance and fund availability.

The application must include

  • Cover letter and most up to date CV

How to apply

Please submit your cover letter and most up-to-date CV which reflects work experience related to these terms of reference by 23:59 EST on 20 May 2022 to

This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same or lower level.