Career Story: Director Of International Relations For A Large Healthcare System

Director Of International Relations For A Large Healthcare System

Job Title: Director Of International Government & Corporate Relations

Type of Company: Large Academic Healthcare Organization comprised of 5 tertiary medical centers, several acute care community hospitals, primary care and other health care provider organizations across a full continuum of services

Education: BA, Political Science, Wellesley College

Previous Experience: I worked in international medical outreach and exchange for Johns Hopkins hospital.

Job Tasks: I work for a very large healthcare system that includes some of the world's top hospitals. We work with other governments, hospitals and healthcare organizations around the world to help them develop the quality of their healthcare services in their own countries so people everywhere can get better care and so people do not have to travel to the US to see a very good doctor. I work with representatives from other governments -- sometimes a Minister of Health or one of his aides, sometimes a person who's attached to an embassy, sometimes individual doctors and sometimes university professors -- who would like to find ways to collaborate with our healthcare system. We help train their doctors at our hospitals, sometimes we send doctors over to another country to perform surgeries or see patients. We use telemedicine to connect doctors to other doctors so they can communicate and learn from each other. Sometimes I organize an official visit for a dignitary from another country who would like to get first hand experience of the US healthcare systems.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I do work that I know helps people. I am very happy when I learn that a child who is sick in Italy or Argentina or Kuwait has been cured of a serious illness because we have helped them. I get to travel to interesting places and have learned to work in different cultures. I meet many interesting people and learn a lot every day. I also get to work with very smart people whom I admire in my own organization.

The worst part of my job is that there is too much to do and not enough time or manpower to get it done. Sometimes it is very frustrating to work with people of different cultures because they have different value systems and we don't always agree on how we should conduct business. Like every job, the exciting part is always balanced out by the hard work you have to do behind the scenes. For every "exciting moment" there are ten "hard work" moments.

Job Tips:
1. Learn as many languages as you can. Today Chinese, Arabic and Spanish are the most important languages to know.

2. Study other countries and cultures and try to understand their politics and what motivates people to do things.

3. Good writing skills are essential and may be the most important skill for almost any job. Good speaking and presentation skills are also important.

Additional Thoughts: Do something you love and feel passionate about. Study and learn what you are talking about--don't fake it. People always know if you are faking it. Try to remember that even if people don't do things the way you do, they almost certainly have an interesting story to tell and have a reason for what they do.

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