Find the snowflake a Public Health job
April 2, 2013 10:37 PM   Subscribe

How should my friend search for a job? African-born U.S. citizen, 10 years of nursing experience in the U.S. (fully certified), Public Health masters degree, experience with research, Experience with refugees, sex workers, AIDs, and basic research
posted by jander03 to Work & Money (11 answers total)
Response by poster: To add to the question:

What are good search engines or organizations to search within?
What are some places that we might not think of intuitively?

Also, this is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
posted by jander03 at 10:45 PM on April 2, 2013

Best answer: Is he/she interested in a government setting? One place to consider would be to look at the website of their local county's Health & Human Services clinic. I used to work at one, and a nurse with a masters in public health who has worked with refugees and aids patients seems like an ideal candidate for that environment. Your friend has qualifications and experience that are valuable for the public health field, so hopefully they can find something if their local county's budget isn't under a freeze (like mine was, although I'm not a medical professional).
posted by timespacewheredoifit at 11:06 PM on April 2, 2013

Best answer: Typing "Public Health" and "San Francisco" in returns 1600 hits. Searching on nurse returns over 4000. Seems like at least a couple of those jobs ought to be viable leads.
posted by COD at 4:44 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: I tend to use and I actually saw a recent opening in AIDS research on these sites.
posted by Young Kullervo at 5:23 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: Try Emory's Public Health Employment Connection listings. Your friend sounds very qualified!
posted by k96sc01 at 6:44 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: Your friend sounds very well qualified. The biggest issue will likely be that the public health sector is very affected by the government budget climate; currently there are hiring freezes going on at all levels of government and reduction in grant funding is similarly impacting the nonprofit sector.

I would suggest looking for job listings with the state and local governments and local health-related nonprofits (perhaps specifically focused on refugee health and/or HIV/AIDS). Other potential avenues would be nearby schools of public health or local companies that do contract work with public health agencies.

If your friend is interested in working in public health at the Federal level, the website is Most Federal public health jobs are concentrated in the DC area and Atlanta (where CDC is headquartered) but that doesn't mean there might not be field openings in California.

Another potential avenue, if your friend is interested, is the US Public Health Service. ( The USPHS (also called the Commissioned Corps) is a uniformed service (not armed) that responds to health emergencies under the leadership of the Surgeon General. Nursing is one of the careers that qualifies you to join, as I understand it.
posted by oblique red at 8:06 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: Another option might take advantage of her possible fluency in another language. She could thus converse with refugees in their own language. She might contact not-for-profit organizations serving immigrant populations for leads. She will undoubtedly be able to find a volunteer opportunity that will give her entree to numerous organizations that might later offer employment.

In my experience as a nurse also with a masters in Public Health and 15 years of research experience, jobs combining both credentials are very scarce, and nursing pays considerably more than public health. Public health programs are financed by grants, usually competitively bid, and salaries are suppressed because of the need to fulfill the grant's aims within the budgets. Benefits offered by non-profits are traditionally good, and might make up for some of the reduction compared to some other professions, such as a contract clinical research coordinator, but not in comparison to a hospital or health system. Nurses are generally both well paid and have good benefits.

Having a nursing credential is no doubt an advantage to her clients, but one that will be difficult to turn into an increased salary. I offer this observation from intensive job-search experience.
posted by citygirl at 8:06 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: Having working in public health nursing in San Francisco, I can offer a few ideas and a good news/bad news report. Good news is that the Bay Area has many clinical jobs that your friend would be qualified for and I think with their experience, the jobs would be super interested in hiring him/her. The bad news is that there are MANY people with sufficient experience (because clinical jobs don't need an MPH and administrative public health jobs don't need the clinical RN background, therefore the pool of potential employees is very large) and right now there is a real funding crunch. Having said that, here are some ideas.

San Francisco proper has 3 big options that come to mind: clinical work at San Francisco General or the county clinics (jobs through city website), more administrative work at the Department of Public Health (jobs also through city website), or work at one of UCSF sites/projects (jobs through the UCSF website). There is also the AIDS foundation and many small non-profits, but my impression was that the small clinical projects either in the drug user/sex worker/gay/refugee/HIV communities are grants funded and don't regularly advertise or hire external people (but I don't know that for sure).

The Bay Area is a big place and commuting is really difficult, so I can offer some big generalizations. Oakland has several of the communities you refer to (HIV, refugees, sex workers), but is much less financially endowed than San Francisco. Check out the county website and some non-profits. San Jose has many of the same things going on. Also San Jose benefits from Stanford being nearby, so looking through Stanford's job site may be helpful.

I am guessing from your question that your friend is new to the Bay Area because I would expect they would have contacts or already be familiar with the job scene. If they are newly relocated, I think that the best thing is to research non-profits and start to volunteer. The city and county system in San Francisco pays very well, but is difficult to break into from the outside. You really have to know people inside the system. In the past, Ward 86 (the HIV clinic at San Francisco General) has accepted volunteers (although this is for clinic assistance not nursing), and may be a place to start to make contacts in both systems (many staff at Ward 86 are UCSF employees).
posted by artdesk at 8:12 AM on April 3, 2013

Best answer: Came back to add another idea. If your friend has language skills or experience in Africa, both UCSF and Stanford have Global Health centers that are coordinating research and clinical exchange between their universities and other countries. I know that at UCSF, many departments are trying to make these connections and may be open to hiring your friend as a research/clinical coordinator, and may even have the ability to create a job for him/her.

The centers have websites and also doing a PubMed search of both the university and the country name or surrounding countries they are familiar with may reveal papers that will have researchers' names and an email contact. The centers will also know which researchers are working in which countries and may be able to facilitate connections, especially if your friend presents themselves less as a job-seeker and more as an academic/researcher looking to volunteer or help a project.

I hope they have good luck finding a job.
posted by artdesk at 8:52 AM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the advice!

She loved the suggestions. She also remains daunted by the task. Sounds like it's a competitive, budget-tight market out there, even for someone with her unique experiences.
She could probably use a morale booster!
posted by jander03 at 11:18 AM on April 3, 2013

Response by poster: Also - how awesome is AskMe that a person can ask a question before going to sleep and wake up to answers with this level of depth and quality!
posted by jander03 at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Help keep a wannabe autodidact on track!   |   Freshly grated parmesan cheese - turns blue in a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.