Jul 27 2012

Legal issues surrounding medical tourism.

Published by under Global Health

Little is said in response to the question of what happens when something goes wrong during a medical tourism experience. While some foreign court systems are similar to the U.S. court system, the redress for medical malpractice is not similar at all. In many of the top medical tourism destinations medical malpractice laws are either not enforced or non-existent. On the other hand, U.S. patients that attempt to sue foreign providers in a U.S. court will also struggle in overcoming obstacles pertaining to service of process, personal jurisdiction, choice of forum, and the enforcement of judgments.

The first step for the medical tourist that has experienced an injury due to a foreign provider’s negligence is to serve the provider with notice of the lawsuit.  For litigating a matter in a U.S. court proper service of process on a foreign defendant is extremely important. Rule 4(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the international service of process. According Rule 4(f)(1) an individual may be served at a place not within any judicial district of the United States by an internationally agreed means of service that is reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those authorized by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents.

The first inquiry in the international service of process is whether the country where the foreign provider is to be served is a signatory party of the Hague Convention. If the country where the foreign provider is to be served is a signatory party of The Hague Convention then U.S. litigations it is mandatory that the methods set forth in the Convention are used. If service is provided by a method not provided for in the Convention then the service will be considered ineffective which could lead to a dismissal of the case. The principal method of service provided in the Convention is the transmission of documents through the Central Authority. Every signatory party to the Convention must designate a Central Authority.

If a country is not a signatory party of the Hague Convention, Rule 4(f)(2) governs the service of process. Rule 4(f)(2) states that if there is no internationally agreed means a method that is reasonable calculated to give notice as (a) prescribed by the foreign country’s law for service in that country in an action in its courts of general jurisdiction (b) as the foreign authority directs in response to a letter rogatory or letter of request or (c) delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the individual personally or using any form of mail that the clerk addresses and sends to the individual and that requires a signed receipt; unless it is prohibited by the foreign country’s laws. According to this rule the medical tourist may mail the notice to the foreign provider as long as it is not prohibited by the foreign country’s law and the country is not a signatory party to the Hague Convention. After successfully securing service of process on the foreign provider the medical tourist can then gather all-important evidence to prove their case.

The medical tourist will also have to overcome the personal jurisdiction obstacle. U.S. courts are reluctant to assert personal jurisdiction over a physician who neither reside not practice in the state where the court sits. Unfortunately U.S. courts have yet to resolve the personal jurisdiction issue over a foreign provider that has injured a U.S. medical tourist. In assessing a personal jurisdiction claim against a foreign defendant, U.S. courts usually apply the long-arm statute of the forum state or the federal requirements of the Due Process Clause. Many states have long-arm statutes that permit their courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants who transact business in the state or who regularly solicit business in the state. Under the federal Due Process Clause analysis, “minimum contacts” must exist between the foreign provider and the forum. Also, the extension of jurisdiction must not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. if a foreign provider purposefully directs activity to the forum state or “purposefully avails” himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum state, a U.S. court may assert personal jurisdiction. One way that foreign provider may purposefully avail himself to a U.S. forum is via the Internet. If the foreign providers website only provides information and have no interactive content then they would not constitute the purposeful availment sufficient to establish jurisdiction. However, if the website is interactive and solicits personal information or leads to personal contact with the injured medical tourist, this may be sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction.

If the medical tourist is successful at getting past the service of process and personal jurisdiction issues, it is highly likely that the foreign provider with make a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens. Forum non conveniens allows a court to decline to exercise jurisdiction and dismiss a case where the case would be more appropriately brought in a foreign jurisdiction. The party moving to dismiss based on forum non conveniens bears the burden of showing that there is an adequate alternative forum and that the balance of private and public interest factors favor dismissal.

When the medical tourist has successfully won his claim against the foreign provider after overcoming the service of process, personal jurisdiction, and forum non conveniens obstacles, he  must attempt to have the foreign country enforce the judgment against the provider. If the foreign provider is not in the U.S., there is little that the U.S. court system can do to ensure that the provider pays the tourist. Therefore the medical tourist must look to the foreign providers country to have it enforce the judgment against the provider.

In the U.S., the New York Convention governs the recognition and enforcement of most foreign arbitral awards. The U.S. ratified the New York Convention with reservation that it would apply the Convention on the basis of reciprocity to the recognition and enforcement of only those made with another Contracting state. Although the New York Convention governs the enforcement of foreign judgments in the U.S there is no single convention that governs the international enforcement of judgments from courts. Also, every country is not a part of the New York Convention. Nonetheless, today most courts continue strictly to interpret their requirements for judgment enforcements. These courts follow the view that, in the absence of a treaty, a foreign nation’s judgment will not be enforced unless local law requirements are clearly met.

Although medical tourism has it perks, it also has its downfalls. In the event that something goes wrong many medical tourist are left with little legal recourse. It is imperative that all medical tourists think things thorough before traveling across the world for a medical procedure. It is important to consult with an attorney and discuss what is will happen in the event that things do go awry. Planning ahead will decrease the chances of being faced with the obstacles mentioned above leaving the medical tourism experience a pleasant one.



Sources:  Khoury, A., Beware of International Service of Process. 2010. http://www.martindale.com/international-law/article_Awad-Khoury-LLP_1137040.htm. Accessed July 2012.

Cueto, Santiago A., 7 Steps to Effectuate International Service of Process under the Hague Service Convention. International Litigation. http://www.internationalbusinesslawadvisor.com/2010/02/articles/international-litigation/7-steps-to-effectuate-international-service-of-process-under-the-hague-service-convention/. Accessed July 2012


Mirrer-Singer, P., Medical Malpractice Overseas: The Legal Uncertainty Surrounding Medical Tourism. Law and Contemporary Problems Vol, 70;211; 214.2007. http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1428&context=lcp&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dmedical%2520malpractice%2520overseas%2520the%2520legal%2520uncertainty%2520surrounding%2520medical%2520tourism%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D1%26ved%3D0CEQQFjAA%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fscholarship.law.duke.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1428%2526context%253Dlcp%26ei%3Dv5kEUMOVEsqqrQGj87TRCA%26usg%3DAFQjCNFeaTaWcQSSV9Cksbf8qIbNewoHDQ#search=%22medical%20malpractice%20overseas%20legal%20uncertainty%20surrounding%20medical%20tourism%22 . Accessed June 2012.

Cortez, N. Recalibrating the Legal Risks of Cross-Border Health Care. Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 4, 10. 2010. http://www.tseed.com/aslme/conference/data/papers/044.pdf accessed June 2012.

Howzie, K., Medical Tourism: Symptom or Cure?. 41 Ga. L. Rev. 1013, 1036 (2007). https://www.lexis.com/research/retrieve?_m=099d7d2ff5bd6e64abf418fc38a06973&csvc=le&cform=byCitation&_fmtstr=FULL&docnum=1&_startdoc=1&wchp=dGLbVzk-zSkAW&_md5=17e181dd7b50b3f4a0ca9c823611cdd3. Accessed July 2012.



No responses yet

Jul 26 2012

A Legal Look Back in Time at the Arms Control and Disarmament Act of 1961 in Preparation for the Future of Nuclear Disarmament

Kevin Krauss
Global Law Externship
Widener Law
Blog 4

A Legal Look Back in Time at the Arms Control and Disarmament Act of 1961 in Preparation for the Future of Nuclear Disarmament

            As a perpetual student and lover of history, naturally, law has always been an interest of mine even prior to law school. After all, what is law other than the codified norms learned from the lessons of the past? However, this summer I have gotten a chance to delve deeper than I ever thought into both of these fields. I am in a very fortunate and unique situation where the research paper that I am writing (and subsequently about to turn in) will be relied upon for the legal disarmament advocacy performed by the LCNP and GSI. My task: find a way (and the constitutional legal authority to implement that way) that the President could successfully progress nuclear disarmament, at a time when it is needed most, even when the Congress is at a political standstill. Sounds easy, right?

           Treaties, under Article 2 §2 of the U.S. Constitution, must receive the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate. Understandably, in a congressional climate at the one we have now, this can prove arduous. The President is also authorized, per various U.S. Supreme Court precedents, to institute binding Executive Agreements between the U.S. and other nations without requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. However, due to the Arms Control and Disarmament Act §33 of 1961, the Congress has preemptively restricted the President from completing these types of agreements in the field of nuclear disarmament. The ACDA §33 has since been abolished, restructured and absorbed into the State Department in 1999, but the limitation still exists and the Senate has grown accustomed to inserting it into their treaty consent Resolutions. Obviously, this creates a tough situation for my proposed topic.

        Delving deep into archived and micro-film-imaged Public Laws of 1961 has brought something very interesting to light:

        The preemptive restraint of §33 actually conflicts with Customary International Law adhered to by the U.S. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article 18, requires that after signing the treaty and prior to entry into force, the signatories have an obligation not to take any action that would defeat the object or purpose of the treaty. In order to submit a treaty to the Senate for consent, it must be signed by the parties first. Inappositely to this, the ACDA §33 requires that no binding obligation be made prior to authorization by the Senate. How could this be? Even in order to submit the treaty to the Senate for consent, there is inherently a binding obligation created. Technically, the US has been in conflict with its own laws since the ACDA was first enacted in 1961; yet, binding treaties and agreements have certainly taken place and have provided a significant legal arms control regime.

       As an issue that does not seem to have had much discussion over the years, perhaps it has been simply looked past in the effective management of a government in cooperation with other governments? Nevertheless, in the portion of my paper where I have addressed this topic, I suggest that the §33 limitation continue to be applied in a relaxed fashion. After all, not only would a very strict adherence to §33 prove difficult for nonbinding reciprocal actions (of which are the types suggested as the thesis of my paper), but in theory it would prevent all future arms control treaties entirely and grind the nuclear disarmament effort to a halt!

No responses yet

Jul 26 2012

Last day of my internships

Published by under Global Health

In the last days of my internship, I am reminded of my first couple of weeks at the WHO. I was lucky enough to attend the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA) were 194 WHO Member States meet annually for six days to discuss and come to agreement on resolutions and matters for the WHO. This year there were nearly 3000 delegates that meet to adopt 21 resolutions and three decisions on pressing health issues, WHO reform, and the reappointment of the Director General Margaret Chan.

The WHA is annually held in Geneva, Switzerland and it is a decision-making body of the WHO.

It is amazing to sit in an audience with people from around the world and hear the points of view of the member states on different topics some health and then WHO reform.  the reform specifically includes agenda, improving accountability, and enhanced governance. The reform topics are part of the policies that the different departments will work towards to implement currently. I have been lucky enough to see how the implementation of a policy gets started and implemented so I feel my time has come full circle to a thorough understanding of the process.

My experience as an intern at the WHO has been enriched by attending the WHA. Since attending, I have seen how the policies adapted at the WHA by the member states are being put into action within the organization. It also gave me an idea of what will happen to the policies that I worked on while I was here in the future.

WHA was the first of many experiences that my WHO intern badge got me a front row seat to the inner workings of the WHO and occasionally other United Nation’s organizations. I am grateful for the open door legal education that my department and the organizations gave me to learn about International Organizations, UN, WHO, and employment law.

No responses yet

Jul 17 2012

International Labour Union Administrative Tribunal Judgments for the WHO

Published by under Global Health

I feel very privileged to have obtain another firsthand UN international law experience by attending the 113th session of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Administrative Tribunal.

The ILO Tribunal is located at headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. I was able to take a nice walk across the street to the building where the judgments were being read. The room was filled with lawyer, plaintiffs, and different UN organization representatives. It was a great experience since French and English are the languages of the UN organizations some of the judgments were read only in French and others in English. The damages awarded ranged from dismissal to reinstatement of employee, monetary damages, or even some for mental anguish damages. It was a great experience to see in person how the judgments are given and how the organizations react to hearing the judgment.

The body reviews complaints from serving and former officials of the International Labour Office of an international organization that recognizes its jurisdiction, like the WHO. The Tribunal permits international organizations approved by the ILO’s Governing Body that recognize the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to consider complaints alleging nonobservance, in substance or in form, of the terms of appointment of officials and the provision of the Staff Regulations of those organization.

The Tribunal is composed of seven judges who must be different nationalities who are appointed at the International Labour Conference on a recommendation of the Governing Body of the ILO for renewable period of three years. The tribunal meets twice a year for three weeks. In order for the case to be reviewed, it must have legal consequences and exhaustion of internal appeals and procedures. The Tribunal according to Article V has the right to decline a request for an oral hearing.

After the tribunal is over, you are able to pick up copies of all the judgments in French or English. It was interesting to listen and speak with the lawyers in the department about the different judgments and speculate on how it could affect the organizations in the future. Time will show how the ILO tribunal case law will influence the policies and procedures of the WHO.

No responses yet

Jul 16 2012

Medical Malpractice in the Medical Tourism World

Published by under Global Health

When patients opt to travel to a medical tourism destination they are typically more concerned with the medical risks and errors that may be involved. But, unfortunately these patients often overlook the legal risks that they may bear if something goes wrong. With the increased use of disclaimers, waivers, and other contractual devices patients are often unaware that there is very little legal recourse options available to them. It is also difficult for medical tourism patients to accurately appraise the legal risks involved because it unclear whether foreign patients can recover in their home courts for medical malpractice committed overseas.

Thailand is one of the medical tourism destinations that make it extremely difficult for Thai patients and foreign patients to file medical malpractice lawsuits in the country. Although Thailand is a well-established travel destination that attracts a large number of patients medical malpractice suits are very much frowned upon. Based on Buddhist principles like karma, Thais rarely pursue formal recourse because they believe that an assertion of legal rights may ultimately prolong conflict and contribute to suffering, misfortune, and distress. There are no statutes that specifically address medical malpractice in Thailand because it is a civil code country.However patients may seek a legal course of action under the “wrongful act” provision in the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code.

Once a patient decides to file a medical malpractice claim they will be faced with a myriad of obstacles. The first obstacle is obtaining the patients onw medical records. In Thailand patients are not allowed to access their own medical records to file a medical malpractice suit. This makes it extremely difficult for any patient to prove their case. Because of the lack of medical malpractice jurisprudence in Thai courts, cases typically settle due to being caught up in court procedure.

For the foreign patient, the Thai legal recourse system may be a very unrealistic option. On top of the obstacles that the Thai patient is faced with the foreign patient is also forced to deal with the very complicated Thai court system. In the Thai court system judges, instead of juries, are utilized. Everything including oral and documentary evidence must be translated into the Thai language. This may deem I very difficult for the foreign patient to understand and follow what is going on in court. In the case where the foreign patient is able to get a U.S. court to assert personal jurisdiction over a Thai provider, the foreign patient will continue to have difficulty enforcing a U.S. judgment in Thailand.

No responses yet

Jul 16 2012

Preparing for the Future by Researching the Past: Reykjavik Summit, 1986

Kevin Krauss

Global Law Externship

Widener Law

Blog 3



Preparing For the Future by Researching the Past: Reykjavik Summit, 1986


**The views espoused here belong strictly to the author of this blog post and do not necessarily reflect the views of GSI and/or Jonathan Granoff.  They are merely my personal reflections following a legal assignment.**


Recently, I was asked to help brief the President of the Global Security Institute, Jonathan Granoff, on an article introduction he is working on.  The article will be an introduction to a series of writings on Ronald Reagan and his role in nuclear disarmament.  Many people either were too young to appreciate the gravity of the Cold War when it was at its height of tension, or simply may not have been aware, but Ronald Reagan had a very large role in the nuclear disarmament effort.  Just a few months ago, and having been born in 1984, I was one of these people.

Two of my Professors at Widener Law, Adjunct- Professors James Ranney and Jonathan Granoff, brought the issue into focus for me.  Professor Ranney enlightened the class one day with a quote by Ronald Reagan: “What’s so great about a world that can be blown up in 30 seconds?”  This quote takes a minute to sink in…just a matter of seconds and an unimaginable level of destruction and havoc could be wrought upon the world, rendering the Earth uninhabitable.  A frightening proposition!  Equally shocking to myself at the time was the fact that Ronald Reagan was the one to have espoused such a desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Well, when I was asked to research this topic, I was intrigued and excited to start.  What the assignment entailed was to sift through hundreds of pages of negotiation transcripts of the 1986 Reykjavik Summit, between the United States and the USSR (lead by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev, respectively).  The Summit was extraordinarily historic in that the two countries came as close as they have ever been to abolishing nuclear weapons.  A legal agreement was actually on the table and was ready to be signed, and yet the Summit ended with no agreement.  I was directed to pinpoint the reasons why the Summit negotiations broke down and further, analyze why.

The most interesting point I realized was that even in a basic contract negotiation, the hidden agendas, alliances and loyalties germane to international legal issues can derail mutual assent from coming to fruition.  The two nations had a chance to legally and effectively eliminate nuclear weapons from their arsenals within 10-years (i.e., 2006) – an accomplishment that would have benefited all humankind – and yet the negotiations were little more than an exercise in futility.  In reviewing the declassified documents during, prior to and following the Summit, it became clear, rather quickly, that the nations were never willing to meet completely in the middle.

The sticking point was the Strategic Defense Initiative (a.k.a. “SDI” or Star Wars).  SDI was a plan to transition the US from an offensive nuclear policy of deterrence to a defensive policy of deterrence.  However, SDI was referred to as Star Wars because it was based, inter alia, on placing nuclear missile defense in outer space.  The US wanted to move the two countries to this policy because it would, presumably lead the US to a superior position once again – the Russians simply did not have the financial wherewithal to implement the technology, even if the US offered to share it with them.  The Russians knew this and so they insisted that the testing of SDI be limited, and that the elimination of nuclear weapons would be tied in as a package deal with the testing limitations.

This political and legal posturing set the Summit up for failure before it even began.  The US had already committed an exorbitant amount of funding into the program and was not planning on a retraction from this commitment.  Perhaps, other factors included the impatience of non-nuclear weapons countries demanding to see the performance of the legally binding obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to “pursue negotiations in good faith” towards nuclear disarmament.  Whether the Summit was a measure of political posturing or an honest effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, that we may never know – at the end of the Summit, the two leaders left the building with remorseful comments.

Personally, what I took away from this assignment was two things: 1) that maybe Ronald Reagan’s push for a nuclear weapons free world was good-intentioned, but his tactics at the very least left a little to be desired, if not in bad faith; and 2) that a thorough reading of the legislative history of an agreement can always provide some helpful insight to the current state of affairs.

I just hope that the research performed here can help me to craft a persuasive argument that could be helpful in future disarmament efforts.  (I am also secretly hoping that some of the material on Reykjavik will be an answer to a Jeopardy question, should I ever make it on to the show!)

No responses yet

Jul 03 2012

The Legal Structure of GSI and LCNP

Published by under Global Health

The Legal Structures and Mandates of the two International Legal Disarmament Host Organizations: LCNP and GSI.

Kevin Krauss – Blog 2

The two organizations that I am externing with: the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, and the Global Security Institute, are both very unique organizations in their own ways. They are both Civil Society non-governmental organizations aimed at the global disarmament and eventual elimination of nuclear arms. In this regard, since international law is often a field that crosscuts across many areas, both organizations often deal with other areas as well. Both organizations have focused their direction towards the application of international humanitarian law as applied to nuclear weapons (international humanitarian law, or IHL for short, is the collection of international legal norms known commonly as the laws of war). Further, the organizations do not deal strictly with nuclear weaponry, either. Just recently, I was tasked with briefing Jonathan Granoff, President of GSI, in preparation for a major ABA broadcast interview about the United State’s susceptibility to terrorist attack by all types of weapons, including chemical and biological. In addition, the Lawyers Committee is involved in other areas of law that may relate to nuclear policy, such as the prevention of war and humanitarian issues resultant.

The Lawyers Committee is the only American organization of American lawyers focused on nuclear policy. They are the United States chapter of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA). IALANA is a broad-ranging organization with representation reaching in many regions.

The Global Security Institute, however, is not a chapter of another organization, but they are affiliated with quite a few other organizations in the field in a way that integrates their views into every aspect of the nuclear policy debate. For example, their partners include: the Middle Powers Initiative, a group of “middle power” countries that are beginning to exert more of a political sway in international relations and wish to influence US and global policy in the US and abroad; the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament, which is a group consisting of the diplomats and representatives of many different nations who are interested in a nuclear weapons free world; the Bipartisan Security Group, which consists largely of United States Congressional representatives, of both political parties, united by the desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons; and of course the affiliation with the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy.

Although the GSI and the LCNP are not officially connected to each other, their offices in NYC are in close proximity and they consult each other daily on a myriad of issues. Further, on that note, my supervisors are both on the Board of Directors of the other organization. I like to think that my externships with the two of them may even bring them closer together.

My role in both organizations has been reserved for the legal aspects of their work. Although, I would certainly be available to both organizations for any task they would like to assign me, thankfully, it has so far been structured around legal issues. For example, two excellent assignments have been the aforementioned legal briefing in preparation of the ABA broadcast, and I am currently preparing a report based on the legalities and negotiations of the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev U.S.-Soviet Reykjavik Summit in Iceland, where the two countries nearly came within pen-to-paper distance of signing an agreement that would have completely eliminated nuclear weapons from their arsenals over ten years! As we all know, that was unfortunately not to be the case, though the assignments have still been highly entertaining and educational.

No responses yet

Jul 02 2012

Medical Tourism Training, LLC

Published by under Global Health

My global law externship is with the company Medical Tourism Training, LLC. The offices of Medical Tourism Training, LLC are located in Brookline, Massachusetts near Boston. The President of Medical Tourism Training, LLC is Attorney Elizabeth Ziemba. Ms. Ziemba’s background consists of working in the public health, law, and business arenas. She has worked as a consultant to various medical tourism businesses, nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies, focusing on developing and implementing marketing and market research.

The other members of the Medical Tourism Training, LLC team include Ruth Rietveld-Kirwan, David P. Kirwan, Irving Stackpole, Pamela Frank, Kari Heistad, and Vian Saleh. This team is compromised of an extensive network of healthcare business and training professionals each with complementary skills and specializations.

Medical Tourism Training, LLC provides on-line and in-person training programs that are research based and drawn on international standards and best-business practices. Online training classes that are available are Introduction to Medical Tourism, Basic Medical Tourism, Email etiquette, and Building an Outstanding International Patient Department.  Each course has a sample or preview that is available before a customer purchases the course.

Working under President Elizabeth Ziemba, I am responsible for conducting research and providing information to help with the development of a new training course by the Medical Tourism Training, LLC team.

No responses yet

Jul 02 2012

The Legal Structure of the WHO

This is a brief overview of the legal structure of the World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations (UN) systems.   It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

WHO is a specialized agency for global health within the United Nations (UN) system that embodies the highest aspirations of the peoples of the world.  WHO’s primary objective is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.

The relationship with the UN is determined in the provisions of the Charter of the UN, the Constitution of WHO adopted in 1946 and a formal agreement which provides reciprocity between the two organizations, the exchange of information, and the adoption of common administrative practices.  However the WHO is a separate international organization from the UN.

The WHO governance is structured with three bodies The World Health Assembly (WHA), Executive Board, and Secretariat.  The WHA is the supreme governing body comprised of 194 member states that meet once a year.  The WHA main function is determined by the policies of the Organization.  The Executive Board (EB) consists of 34 people who are technically qualified in the field of health and are designated by member states.  The EB main function is to give effect to the decisions and policies of the WHA and submits a program of work to the WHA for consideration and approval.  Lastly, the Secretariat comprised the Direct-General and the staff.  The constitution provides that the Director-General subject to the authority of the executive board is the chief technical and administrative officer of the Organization.

I am currently working in the Human Resource Management, Policy and Administration of Justice department (HPJ).  The unit is responsible for Policy analysis and development, Liaison with Common System, Staff Rules and Regulations – HR e-Manual, Administration of Justice and HR statistics, reports, data analysis and quality.  There are lawyers from around that world that perform these functions as well as appeals, grievances, and outside activity inquiries.

No responses yet

Jun 19 2012

An overview of the WHO and my incredible first weeks as an intern in Geneva

The WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations (UN) systems.   It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

The WHO has its headquarter operations in Geneva, Switzerland and 6 Regional Offices for: Africa (AFRO), Americas (AMRO), Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), Europe (EURO), South-East  Asia (SEARO), Western Pacific (WPRO).

I am privileged to have my office located on the top floor of the WHO headquarters with an amazing view of Geneva, Switzerland.  My main responsibilities are to support the office of Human Resources in the area of policy development to contribute to the formulation of the Global Policy on Rewards, Recognition and Addressing Underperformance and the Ethics Compilations.  Additionally, I assist in research and drafting tasks, as well as review legal and HRD policy documents.  I draft technical reports, attend focus groups and video-conferences.  I research international law and policy to be able to incorporate the correct legal requirements into the new policies and procedures.  My research on employment law contains the precedent from the ILO tribunal, international civil servants, and other UN agencies laws.  Furthermore, I am learning how the appeals process and outside activities work within the organization.

Even though my internship is in the HR department, I try to attend as many events, training, and seminars as possible to better understand how the WHO operates and educate myself on social health.  The WHO has given me ample access to anything I would need to learn and grow in my internship.  I had the privilege of attending the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.   There I got to see the diplomatic process of a 194 members states develop policies and negotiate to an agreement on a large amount of topics.   I have also attended and participated in a focus group with the Assistant Director General and even meet the Director General.  Additionally, my badge and status as an intern gives me the amazing opportunity to visit all of the UN agencies.  I look forward to many more exceptional opportunities that my WHO internship and badge affords me to have.


2 responses so far

Next »