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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

March 2020

Global health career day attracts diverse crowd

Leaders from business, academia, nonprofits, and government shared advice with students and scientists during a Feb. 7 networking event.

Job seekers, from undergraduates to mid-career professionals, gathered Feb. 7 on the campus of RTI International in Research Triangle Park for the fourth annual Triangle Global Health Career Day.

The Triangle Global Health Consortium (TGHC), whose membership is composed of some 30 universities, businesses, and other nonprofits, hosted the event. NIEHS became the first federal member in 2016 and has worked to integrate environmental health into the consortium’s global health focus.

“This event is a premier opportunity for students as well as aspirational professionals to find careers in global health,” said TGHC Executive Director Jacob Traverse, who added that more than 200 people attended this year’s event — about a 14% increase over last year. “Enthusiasm was high.”

Jacob Traverse stands at podium with RTI International sign “NIEHS has been a huge supporter of TGHC,” said Traverse. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Interest in NIEHS

Trisha Castranio, program manager for the NIEHS Global Environmental Health program, represents the institute on the TGHC program committee. She and NIEHS Health Science Policy Analyst Kimberly Thigpen Tart, J.D., fielded questions and shared information about NIEHS internship and employment opportunities in the conference exhibit hall.

Trisha Castranio Castranio answered attendees’ questions at the NIEHS information table. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

“It was exciting to see so many people looking for an opportunity to work in global health,” said Castranio. “Folks came from diverse backgrounds and were looking for info about careers, more so than just looking for jobs.”

Thigpen Tart noted that she spoke with several medical professionals interested in career changes to environmental health. “Meeting people who are passionate about science and environmental health is really affirming of the work we do at NIEHS,” she said.

Audience engaged in the panel discussions

Castranio moderated the morning panel “Careers in Global Health” and expressed satisfaction with how it went.

“There was plenty of engagement in the Q&A, and lots of folks came up afterwards to speak to panel members,” she said. “The panel was a great example of diversity in careers, experience, pathways, and sectors.”

Stephanie Watson-Grant, Dr.P.H., director of field operations for MEASURE Evaluation, noted that job seekers in the international arena have a tricky career path to navigate. “International relations is everything and nothing,” she said. “It’s very broad, and you have to find your own way.”

Career day participants also heard from Phillip Graham, Dr.P.H., who conducts community-based research and evaluation at RTI International. “Understand what you’re not good at, then create partnerships that overcome your deficits,” he told attendees.

Phillip Graham, Dr.P.H., from RTI, holds microphone Graham is senior director of the RTI International Center on Social Determinants, Risk Behaviors, and Prevention Science. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Other career day sessions addressed related topics.

  • Leadership Perspectives on the Future Health Workforce (see related sidebar).
  • Career Development and Talent Sourcing.

Partnering for global health

In addition to the career event and an annual conference in the fall, TGHC provides an online career center with job listings, webinars, mentorship programs, and thought leadership events in which NIEHS staff participate.

The institute supports the consortium through sponsoring its annual conference, participating in its mentor programs, providing program planning help and panelists, and reviewing workshop abstracts.

(John Yewell is a contract writer for the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)


Bevin Blake stands at table “I’ve gotten some insights into how to market myself,” said Blake. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Zach Stewart seated in a chair Stewart came to NIEHS with an interest in nutritional epidemiology. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Trisha Castranio and Phillip Graham, Dr.P.H. laugh together Castranio and Graham shared a light moment during their panel discussion. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Miaofei Xu, Ph.D. listens “NIEHS has helped me a lot,” said Xu. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Nihal Gulseren Cakmakci, Ph.D. “I came to love North Carolina,” said Cakmakci. “After doing my Ph.D. at UNC [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill], I only applied to one place: NIEHS.” (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
Kimberly Thigpen Tart, J.D. smiles, while seated at table “Young scientists remain interested in a career in federal service, which makes me especially hopeful,” said Thigpen Tart. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
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