Networking and volunteering: A key to building a global health career


Who are you, where are you from, and what is your role in GHNGN?
My name is Andreea Badache and I am a health researcher from Romania. I started working with GHNGN in November 2015 as a Social Media writer and in December 2016 I became a part of the Board, as Projects and Partnerships Manager.


How did you learn about the GHNGN?
I found out about GHNGN during the World Forum in Den Haag, in the Netherlands from Joceline, the previous Projects and Partnerships Manager at GHNGN. She told me about the network and I became very enthusiastic. I went on the GHNGN website right away and applied for the only open position at the time (social media writer).


What is your current job/study position?
Currently, I am doing a 5-month traineeship at the European Commission (EC), Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Italy, working on Healthcare Quality for Breast Cancer Services across EU Countries. At the same time, I am actively bringing my passion and enthusiasm to the work of GHNGN by maintaining, developing and creating new projects and partnerships that can benefit young professionals throughout the world together with my super team of GH enthusiasts.


What career path did you follow (bachelor, MSc, PhD…)?
My academic background is diverse. I have a BSc in Physiotherapy from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania  After my bachelors I decided to move to Belgium, to pursue an MSc in Rehabilitation Sciences from KU Leuven.  I felt I needed to know more about health economics, how health systems work, how health innovations impact healthcare and the well-being of people so I decided to do another MSc in Healthcare Policy, Innovation, and Management in the Netherlands, at Maastricht University from which I graduated in 2017. In August 2018, I will start my Ph.D. in Successful Aging in Sweden at Orebro University and in October,  a long-distance master in Statistics at University of Hasselt, Belgium.

Additionally, I have been involved in volunteer work since I was in my first year of bachelors. When I was 20 I created my first NGO “Miscarea Sportiva a Studentilor Transilvaneni”  with a group of other students, which promotes physical activity among students. I was the student president of Physiotherapy department and later on, I became the student chancellor of the Physical Education and Sports Faculty,  which meant that I had to represent our faculty’s interests in the main student board of the University. During my studies abroad I continued to be actively involved in the student affairs, by representing our interests in front of the faculty administration

I have also done clinical work as a physiotherapist in various departments (neurorehabilitation, geriatrics, cardiovascular rehabilitation, musculoskeletal and gynaecology) in Romania and Belgium.

I have continued to expand my horizons by going to Mexico where I was working on Global Health Diplomacy at the National Institute of Public Health. Afterward, I did an internship at the regional office of WHO in Washington DC (PAHO/WHO) for 5 months. When I came back, I got involved with some health startups and I participated in a mentorship program (MultiPod Mentoring), of which, I became part of the steering committee.


What is your secret when it comes to applications? (How have you found your jobs?)
I cannot stress enough the role of networking!! I have found out about various openings through people I have met in various conferences, internships, work, etc. Also, you may find a position in unexpected places, such as a Facebook group, so keep all options open. For my current position, I found the opening on a Facebook group (Jobs EPH). I found the Ph.D. position that matched my interests on

There are various routes to get a position:

  • It can be through your network (sometimes this is the fastest and easiest way)
  • Research on the internet, find your dream job and apply (with a bit of luck and a well-written CV + motivation you can land your dream job)
  • On LinkedIn, update and ask advice from people on how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out. You will be surprised how easily you can be contacted by talent hunters and get job offers.
  • Don’t be afraid and send emails to organizations you are interested in and ask if they have anything available (many times the jobs are not advertised)
  • Be prepared for rejections and don’t get disappointed, but instead find the motivation to keep pursuing what you want.

Don’t forget to PAY IT FORWARD! Help other young professionals find their way, share information and stay connected. There is a place for everyone in Global Health.


How does your current job/studies help you fulfill your ultimate goal/motivate you?
Every career step I take is bringing me closer to my ultimate goal, to contribute to people’s health throughout the world. For me, the best way to do that is by working in an international health organization or research institute. I think it is important to know that everything you do now, will impact your career in 10 years. Most young professionals forget that and jump into the first job that is being offered, even if they do not like it. I would advise everyone to carefully consider what they really want and where they see themselves in the future and then take all the necessary steps that bring you closer to your ultimate goal. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to talk to other people and ask about their experiences.

My current job gives me a unique perspective on the tremendous work that the European Commission is doing to improve the quality of healthcare services in all its member states, despite the differences and variability between healthcare systems ( The work I am doing is focused on research, which prepares me better for the Ph.D. studies that will be starting in August but also brings me closer to my goal of working in an International organization after I complete my Ph.D. education.


Are you interested in something other than what you currently do?
I have vast interests but they are closely related to non-communicable diseases, physical activity, health systems, aging, equality, and disability. I always try to stay close to these areas and then look at these issues from multiple angles.


What is global health for you?
To me, GH means that every person, no matter where they come from, how old they are, what sexual orientation they have, gender or race can and have equal access to healthcare services and information regarding their health needs and how they can improve it.


What do you think your work as a GH professional brings to the global picture of GH?
At the moment, the work that I am doing is helping improve the quality of breast cancer services throughout Europe. During my Ph.D., I will investigate how older people are spending their last years of life in Sweden and Spain, what are the factors that are influencing these outcomes and what health interventions can enhance the likelihood of spending the last years of life in good health. In addition, I hope that my work at GHNGN can help other young professionals find their way in GH.


What would you suggest a student who wants to work in GH?
Don’t forget that you can work in GH with any kind of degree! It is a field that is open to everyone who wants to make a change! Be ready to meet people who will challenge your way of thinking, be ready to open your horizons, to disagree, to work in multidisciplinary teams, to fail and start all over again. Be open to learn and be aware that there is always room for improvement. Everyone can try and make the world a healthier place for all or at least contribute to it.

I would also suggest to start volunteering early in your career, do internships and find what you like and then focus on it.



Andrea Badache is a trainee at the European Commission-Joint Research Centre in Italy, and projects and partnerships manager at GHNGN. Her interests in Global Health are ageing, disability, non-communicable diseases and improving the quality of healthcare services.

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