Global Health Practicum Spotlight: Maternal and Child Survival

Tamah Kamlem, an MPH candidate in global health policy, completed his practicum with John Snow Inc., (JSI) a public health consulting firm. He started in the Washington, D.C., office as an intern, stayed on for his practicum and then was offered the opportunity to continue his work post-practicum. Kamlem said that JSI has provided him with the support system needed to succeed.

Kamlem was born in Cameroon and lived across Africa and traveled around Europe, so he already had extensive international experience. He decided to do a domestic practicum in which his role was connected to what was going on in the field. His specific project was the Maternal and Child Survivor Program. This program, which targets USAID priority countries, supports maternal, newborn, and childhood health interventions and immunizations. Other facets of the program include nutrition, family planning and reproductive health.

Kamlem looked at policies and data management regarding immunizations in order to develop information about what's happening in these countries. Kamlem said that the practicum helped him become a better public health official because of how much his professional network grew. The connections he made were so meaningful that he knows it’s going to help with future employment.

“When you do a really good job, it’s hard for an organization to let you go,” said Kamlem, who also shared that it's important to be able to communicate well with others, especially in a field such as public health that's all about teamwork. 

His advice to future students is to seek out practicum options early. This can help with job opportunities down the road. Additionally, Kamlem said to be conscious of the direction of your goals and career.