Director, Health Emergency Information & Risk Assessment

Geneva | Geneva


The mission of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme (The Programme) is to build the capacity of Member States to manage health emergency risks and, when national capacities are overwhelmed, to lead and coordinate the international health response to contain outbreaks and to provide effective relief and recovery to affected populations.

The Health Emergency Information & Risk Assessment Department, within the Programme, is responsible for providing timely and authoritative situation analysis, risk assessment and response monitoring available for all major health threats, events and emergencies. This includes detecting, verifying and assessing the risk of potential and ongoing health emergencies; establishing data collection mechanisms and monitoring ongoing health emergency operations; providing data management, analytics and reporting platform to produce and disseminate timely emergency health information products.

Purpose of the position:

The Director provides global leadership in tracking, analysing and reporting information on all health hazards within the new WHO Health Emergencies Programme. The incumbent demonstrates expertise that creates recognition of the Organization as the authority, source of innovation and effective hub of the global community in outbreaks and emergencies health information management. Through coordinated, transparent and collaborative development, design and implementation of health information management approaches, the incumbent positions the Organization to provide significant impact and builds the foundation for WHO to engage as a trusted partner in outbreaks and health emergencies, providing unique and valued capacities.

The incumbent will be deployed to emergency operations when required.

Organizational context:

The Director will report to the Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, with second level supervision by the Director- General.

Assignments will be generated by the incumbent, with guidance on policy aspects and strategic direction provided by the Executive Director of the Programme (EXD). The incumbent will independently set and guide the strategy for all activities of the department exercising full judgement in adapting or modifying relevant WHO guidelines and lead the development of new guidelines to meet particular requirements or changing circumstances.

The incumbent will provide strong leadership and collaborate with HQ, WHO Regional and Country Office counterparts in the development and application of global, regional and country level policies and positions.

The incumbent is a member of the Programme's Senior Management Team; has direct contact with WHO Assistants to the Director General (ADGs), Directors of Programme Management (DPMs), WHO Representatives at country level, Regional Advisers, HQ and Regional Offices Directors and senior-level technical staff to coordinate and manage relevant activities; Health Cluster partners and other Cluster leads and Coordinators, senior staff of donor agencies; other policy staff and technical staff in partner agencies (both within and outside the UN system), and senior staff of ministries of health and related ministries involved in emergency risk management and response.

Description of duties:

The incumbent is assigned all or part of the following duties which are performed according to the needs and agenda.

  1. Lead and direct the department and ensure global coordination, and oversight of department's work programme promoting an environment of professional inquisitiveness, anticipating new challenges and seeking solutions and evaluating their effectiveness, demonstrating to stakeholders and collaborators a commitment to excellence.

  2. Oversee the effective functioning of WHO and inter-agency data and information networks for tracking, analysing and reporting on all health hazards associated with outbreaks and emergencies, across the risk management cycle.

  3. Direct and implement the information network providing leadership in strategic planning, execution and coordination of the information network and implementation of protocols for data gathering and analysis ensuring the provision of evidence for the impact of interventions during outbreaks and emergencies.

  4. Oversee the investigation of the origins of outbreaks and emergencies with a view to their prevention in future and for risk assessment and assess resources needed to contain and resolve outbreaks and emergencies.

  5. Establish international standards and consensus for data collection and data sharing, including surveillance methods, monitoring and evaluation techniques, and mechanisms for the dissemination and communication of information.

  6. Ensure that performance standards described in the WHO Emergency Response Framework are respected with regards to the critical function of health information in emergency response.

  7. Direct training courses and capacity building exercises for data collection and analysis and the communication of quantitative information and provide expert advice on methods for the collection and analysis of data and information throughout the organization and beyond.

  8. In collaboration with the WHO IT department, link databases and information networks throughout the WHO system and beyond (including the Humanitarian Data Exchange), by adopting and adapting contemporary information technology platforms.

  9. Ensure correct and timely communication of data and results to governments, donors, scientists, research institutions and the media, extending the programmatic reach of the Organization and building collaborative networks.

  10. Build awareness with recipient and donor communities of the importance of information management as part of outbreak and emergency risk management.

  11. Provide thought leadership and input on responsible and long-term investment to support information management in emergencies.

  12. Have the overall responsibility for the Department's activities as well as budgetary and human resources-related issues. Manage the financial resources of the Department developing and monitoring the budget in accordance with policy and procedures, preparing annual budget forecast and reviewing budget adjustments.

  13. Represent WHO on all aspects of data and information for outbreaks and emergencies and, as required, represent the Executive Director of the Programme inside and outside the Organization.

  14. Perform other related duties including replacing and backstopping as required by the Executive Director of the Programme.



Essential: Advanced degree in epidemiology, biostatistics or health information management or related field.

Desirable: Specialized training in field epidemiology.

Specialized training in emergency/humanitarian response.

Training in leadership or management.

In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and these will be reviewed individually.


Demonstrated exceptional leadership and team management skills in international and multi-cultural settings, including the proven capacity to lead and deliver on deadlines during periods of intense stress and activity; demonstrated ability to provide independent leadership in such periods with capacity to organize, monitor and synthesize information quickly and concisely.

Proven ability to successfully coordinate, manage and lead projects, and build partnerships, across agencies and organizational departments in the context of health emergencies.

Proven ability to successfully interact and negotiate with senior national and international authorities on the implementation of health emergencies strategies and programmes.

Excellent interpersonal and communications skills both writing and editing.

Strong strategic thinking, with the ability to quickly comprehend strategic and tactical objectives and to formulate comprehensive plans to address challenges/risks.

Thorough knowledge of epidemiology of infectious diseases and other global health security threats and of issues and practices for the prevention and control of disease.

Sound knowledge of principles and procedures on international emergency risk management and humanitarian response.

Other skills:

Advanced computer skills related to epidemiology and data management.

WHO competencies:

Promoting WHO's position in health leadership

Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond

Producing results

Ensuring the effective use of resources

Moving forward in a changing environment


Essential: At least 15 years of proven experience in information management in the context of international public health programmes, including at least 5 years of experience in providing authoritative advice and guidance to expert groups and senior officials, and at least 5 years of management experience in recognized senior leadership positions with direct responsibility for managing both human and financial resources.

Proven experience in policy and strategy formulation. Demonstrated experience in coordinating large scale projects with high political impact in developing countries. Proven experience in information management for acute and protracted public health emergency response efforts, including infectious disease outbreaks.


Relevant work experience in WHO or UN agencies; experience working in relevant non-governmental or humanitarian organizations.

Field experience in public health programmes or emergency response programmes in developing countries.

Please apply online on the WHO e-recruitment platform:

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
  • Organization: WHO
  • Location: Geneva | Geneva
  • Grade: Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Health service
    • Health service
    • Health service
    • Health service
    • Health service
  • Closing Date: 2016-10-15

Similar Jobs

Senior Improvement Advisor for Infectious Diseases for USAID ASSIST

URC - University Research Company

Senior Health Crisis Response Advisor

URC - University Research Company

External Contractor for LAMIKA Program Final Evaluation

Red Cross - American

Associate General Counsel

Habitat for Humanity

Senior Director, New Business Development

MSH - Management Sciences for Health

Director - Agriculture and Commodities

WTO - World Trade Organization

Chief of Party (Project Director)

MSH - Management Sciences for Health

Institutional Development Specialist

Pact World