Support Public Health Research Development in Mongolia

Activity/project background

Partner: National Center for Public Health of Mongolia (NCPH) (Government)

The National Center for Public Health in Mongolia (NCPH) is a governmental health services organization with a 90-year history focused on strengthening community health. NCPH is mandated by the Ministry of Health to identify health hazards, implement preventive measures, and safeguard public health and safety. One of NCPH's key objectives is to enhance its institutional research capacity for hazard assessment and disease burden evaluation.

The research training program has the following objectives: 1) to provide an opportunity for NCPH trainees to learn how to study and review English language-based public health research methodologies, 2) to discuss selected peer-reviewed published articles that facilitate discussion and review of quantitative and qualitative public health research methodologies, incorporating data analysis techniques such as biostatistical analysis to assess, predict, and communicate health risk factors effectively; and 3) to discuss selected peer-reviewed published articles on epidemiology-based analytical tools for health risks, such as environmental exposure assessments, and evidence-based public health protection programs.

The NCPH is seeking a Virtual Service Pilot Participant (VSPP) to enhance institutional research capacity of staff on a range of public health topics including, but not limited to, environmental public health surveillance, nutrition, maternal and infant health, dental care, and behavioral health.

The organization has not previously collaborated with Peace Corps. They understand that the role of a VSPP is different than a two-year Volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Co-design a public health research virtual training program on any of the following suggested topics: public health (i.e., maternal infant care, nutrition, dental and behavioral health), health impact assessment, environmental epidemiology, biostatistical analysis, burden of disease, and science to inform policy. The VSPP will co-identify a peer-reviewed journal article to review with trainees. The VSPP has the flexibility to select articles from a range of relevant topics relevant to capacity building in both basic and advanced research methodology (1-2 hours/week online discussions with counterpart)
• Co-develop a presentation describing the review and systematic study of published journal articles covering the following topics: research methods, findings and outcomes, limitations and constraints and applicability to the local context
• Co- facilitate (approximately 12-14) training sessions (1.5 hours per session) that occur biweekly for approximately 25-35 trainees with backgrounds in education and working experience in medical sciences, such as public health and environmental surveillance
• Two weeks in advance of the training session, the VSPP and counterpart will spend 1 hour dividing the trainees into groups of 2 to 3 people. The VSPP will assign each group a section of the article for a 5-minute discussion to summarize the contents. Summary discussions are based on the article components, such as data collection methodology, data analysis methodology, results, limitations and constraints, and relevance to the local context

VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 9-12 hours per training session, which will occur once every two weeks. There will be no training during U.S. and Mongolian holidays.

Online collaboration will generally occur between 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Mongolian time. Scheduling is flexible; for convenience, specific times will be co-determined during orientation.

Host Country Partners will have access to Zoom, Google Meet, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and email for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Master’s degree in public health, medical sciences, environmental science, environmental health, environmental engineering, biostatistics, or related field

Experience:
• 2 years of practical experience in public health, medical sciences, environmental health, environmental engineering, biostatistics, or related field
• 3 years of experience in public health research
• Experience teaching or training adults

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually.

Desired qualifications

Education: Doctorate or Medical Doctor’s level or higher in public health, medical sciences, environmental science, environmental health, environmental engineering, biostatistics, or related field

Experience:
• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• 5 years of experience in public health research
• Experience with environmental public health surveillance programming
• Experience with environmental epidemiological investigations
• Experience with health impact assessments

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.


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