Research Promotion and Development at the Pan American Health Organization recognizes the importance of developing a new generation of public health leaders who will contribute to PAHO's mission. Internship opportunities are available every fall, spring, and summer for young and energetic individuals entering the public health field. Although these are unpaid positions, interns will gain valuable work experience as part of an international team that promotes research for health in the Americas. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to practice and hone their Spanish language skills.

Strong preference is given to internship candidates with an availability of 6 months.

Over the course of their internship, interns are required to complete the following in conjunction with their internship activities:

  • Case studies - Emphasize the importance of research in advancing and promoting health so as to lead to development. To see previous case studies, click here.
  • Research Interest Group (RIG) - This is an informal discussion space in which PAHO staff members can discuss challenges, best practices and novel ideas in research. The highlight of the RIG is a presentation by an external speaker whose attendance has been organized by the intern. Previous RIG activities can be viewed here.

Publications by former interns and research voluntaties

See all publications


 Research Communications Internship

We seek an intern to contribute to the communications work of the research team by reaching out to our different key audiences, collaborating with them in the implementation of research initiatives that the team is involved in.

The communications intern is a valuable assert and will be involved in improving the research strategy and strategically using the web and social media. The communications intern will be involved in the following projects:

  • Advance and manage our social media channels.
  • Contribute to the improvement of the communications strategy
  • Write case studies that illustrate the value of research (see examples here)
  • Contribute to user-friendly content on the website, including, but not limited to, the research newsletter and press releases.
  • Write for the scientific and/or general press on key aspects of research
  • Contribute to the work of PAHO with partners, such as the EQUATOR Network, for reporting guidelines, and COHRED for the HRWeb.

 Public Health Research Internship

We seek an intern to contribute to public health research on priority topics and to highlight its importance for human well-being and development.  The health research intern will be working on any of the following projects:

  • Participating in the elaboration of systematic reviews to inform policies and practice.
  • Conducting studies on trial registration and assessing the adherence to the International Clinical Trial Register Platform of the World Health Organization. This activity improves standards and observance of good practices.
  • Research policy implementation: participating in the data collection, mapping and preparation of the Health Research Web (HRWeb) that provides essential data about national health research systems in the Americas.
  • Working towards the implementation of PAHO's Policy on Research for Health (we suggest you get acquainted with it by accessing the documentation)
  • Knowledge Translation (evidence to policy and practice) especially through:
    • Evidence Informed Policy Network, a knowledge translation initiative aimed at strengthening national health research systems and the capacities to inform policies with scientific evidence in a systematic way
    • Enhancement of PAHO's Guideline Development process, for our technical cooperation documents to be developed through processes to ensure these are systematically informed by the best evidence

 Internship Eligibility Criteria

  • Minimum 20 years old.
  • Enrolled in a program as a graduate, or post graduate student, with a concentration in a field relevant to PAHO's work (i.e. Public Health, International Affairs, Latin American Studies, or a related health or social science area). If applying within six months from graduation applicant is still eligible.
  • The duration of an internship is a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of six months; longer stays are preferred
  • Strong writing, research, and organizational skills to support technical cooperation efforts. Prior research experience is a plus.
  • Ability to work independently and demonstrate initiative and flexibility.
  • Being fluent in English and Spanish will enable interns to excel at their work if working in Washington DC. Interns should speak the main language used in the office where they intern. Speaking other PAHO and local language will be an asset. PAHO languages are Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage.
  • Not have previously participated in PAHO/WHO's internship program at the same location.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or visa and work authorization if you are not a U.S. citizen. Applicants interested in interning at the PAHO Headquarters in Washington D.C. who are not authorized to work in the United States must be granted a G4 visa. Although obtaining a visa is normally the applicant's responsibility, the Area of Human Resources Management will provide a letter of support if necessary for visa documentation.
  • Not have any relatives as active staff working (consultants included) at PAHO (HQ, country offices, or Centers). Under the Staff regulations, relatives are defined as:
    • Subject to Staff Rule 110.7.3: The term "immediate family member" means the spouse, children, and siblings of the staff member and the children, parents and siblings of the staff member's spouse.
    • 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


To apply to one or both of these internships, please e-mail your CV and a cover letter stating the internship(s) you are applying for, why you would be a good candidate for that role, your dates of availability, level of language skills and a copy of your health insurance. Send all the required information to: Este endereço de email está sendo protegido de spambots. Você precisa do JavaScript ativado para vê-lo., Senior Research Advisor. Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Research Promotion and Development Unit - Department of Knowledge Management, Bioethics and Research. Tel: (202) 974-3135

There are currently no available internship positions for the summer of 2017. We are now accepting applications for late 2017 / early 2018.

Information Resources

A selection of resources for policy decision makers, health workers, practitioners, community workers and civil society involved in research for health.

 Contact us

Dr. Luis Gabriel Cuervo,
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