Τhe Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health, Prolepsis, was established in 1990. Our mission is to respond to major public health needs of Greece and Europe by conducting rigorous academic research and translating it into education, advocacy and humanitarian projects. This mission is rooted in the belief that health equality is a necessary pre-requisite for broader social justice and social inclusion.

The Institute designs and implements initiatives, both at national and European level, aiming to:

•         conduct research on important issues related to health and well-being, with an emphasis on epidemiology and preventive medicine,

•         promote health education and health awareness, and

•         create networks for interdisciplinary and international cooperation on public health issues.

The IOP Director’s Intern will be joining a dynamic multidisciplinary team of physicians, public health specialists, psychologists, dieticians, statisticians, communication experts and business administration staff. The position will offer substantive work experience, working on different stages of public health projects in collaboration with other European organizations, as well as networking opportunities through meetings with Greek high level policy makers and decision makers.

The Director’s Intern will be involved in the Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition Program, DIATROFI. In light of the economic crisis, this program provides a small healthy meal on a daily basis to thousands of students of schools located in vulnerable areas of Greece, while at the same time it encourages healthy nutrition habits. Since 2012, the program has offered over 14 million meals to over 110.550 students across Greece.

In addition, the Director’s Intern will contribute to the preparation of grant/ research proposals, as well as participate in the implementation of European co-funded projects. More particularly, Prolepsis Institute implements a number of European Projects. The “H-COM” project - Health Communication Training for Health Professionals - has designed and piloted a training program to improve health communication among Health Care professionals. The INHERIT project works on identifying ways of living, moving and consuming that protect the environment and promote health and health equity. The MigHealthcare project will strengthen Community Based Care to minimize health inequalities and improve the integration of vulnerable migrants and refugees into local communities. The AGROSH+ project targets Occupational Health and Safety for the European Agriculture sector stimulating growth in rural areas through capacity building for providers (and beneficiaries) of occupational medicine and OSH services. 

The Director’s Intern would need to review current international developments and best practices with regard to the above mentioned public health issues. Main responsibilities will include:

Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition Program - DIATROFI:

•         supporting data analysis and program evaluation

•         contributing in communication strategies and fund raising actions

•         editing of scientific articles

European Projects:

•         supporting the implementation of the following EU Programs: H-COM - Health Communication Training for Health Professionals,  INHERIT - INter-sectorial Health Environment Research for InnovaTions; MigHealthcare project - Strengthen Community Based Care to minimize health inequalities and improve the integration of vulnerable migrants and refugees into local communities; AGROSH+ “OSH+ for the European Agriculture sector - Stimulating growth in rural areas through capacity building for providers (and beneficiaries) of occupational medicine and OSH services”

•          conducting literature research

•         contributing in the development of educational modules and actions

•         contributing in preparation of grant/ research proposals

Humanitarian actions for refugees/ asylum seekers:

•         supporting the preparation of grant proposals

•         supporting the applied actions

The ideal candidate should be a native English speaker with strong analytical, research and scientific writing skills. The Intern should have extensive knowledge of MS Office applications (familiarity with statistical software, such as SPSS, desirable). An interest in public health and public service will be highly appreciated.

2017 Reflection: 

Working at Prolepsis has not only introduced me to the public health sector, but immersed me in it. Having never been to Greece, I didn’t know what to expect my first week, but each and every day at work has been exciting and meaningful. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time; having worked on a multitude of projects related to food insecurity, school feeding programs, risk communication, malpractice litigation, dietary patterns, and much more. I found myself being able to contribute to furthering not only the mission of Prolepsis in promoting health across Greece, but also helping establish frameworks and guidance for public health endeavors across the European Union, which is something I could have never imagined doing until now. 
Besides the diversity of the projects that Prolepsis is involved in, the work culture and spirit of collaboration is also very nurturing and inspiring. I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know my colleagues and I’ve learned so much from them through getting to work with many of them on various projects. I’ve also been able to visit sites around Greece, such as schools that DIATROFI, one of Prolepsis’ food nutrition programs, is involved in, and also shadow weekly at a nearby hospitals. In a span of eight weeks, I’ve written 3 brief research papers and 1 editorial that will be published in an EU paper series that is involved in combating epidemics and pandemics, added onto extensive literature reviews regarding food insecurity, health related quality of life, and school feeding programs, and also writing an extensive review paper on the deficiencies of surgeon support with regards to malpractice litigation and inadvertent postoperative complications. The writing, research, collaboration, and creative skills I’ve honed or picked up during my time at Prolepsis will most definitely serve me well back at Harvard, and I believe that any future intern will find their time at Prolepsis incredibly rewarding and inspiring. 

2016 Intern Reflection:

After three weeks at Prolepsis, I could confidently say this has been one of the most integrative and welcoming internship experiences I could have asked for. From my first day, I was given tasks that ranged from literature reviews and introductory research to drafting and proofreading research papers in the process of being published. Prolepsis is a research institute that aims to use its findings to develop sustainable and socially impactful public health programming, working both locally and in partnership with countries across Europe. One of the largest projects at Prolepsis is the DIATROFI Program in Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition, which provides school meals to vulnerable children around Greece while also instituting programming and awareness campaigns to increase overall healthy nutrition habits of students and their families. I have had the opportunity to visit some of the schools at which this program has been implemented, helped draft and edit publications on the program's implementation and success, reviewed best practices and areas of improvement, and helped with collecting and organizing survey data used to evaluate the program. 

The opportunities at Prolepsis are diverse for students interested in public health, health literacy, quantitative and qualitative research, medicine, fundraising, marketing, or those interested in better understanding how to run a successful nonprofit. An internship at Prolepsis is truly what you make it out to be, and the more you invest of yourself into working here, the greater your time at Prolepsis will be. One of the best aspects of being an intern at Prolepsis is that you are not merely assigned tasks that need to be done, but instead are welcomed to find the areas within Prolepsis that most interest you and get involved in the projects that you are most passionate about. I would highly recommend this internship and believe any intern can have an incredibly meaningful and beneficial experience working with Prolepsis.

Zainub Dhanani '17

2015 Intern Reflection:

Put simply, Prolepsis has, in every respect, provided two-fold return in understanding, team-building and experience for every unit of energy I have expended. Immersion and dynamism fuel the organization; providing any intern the opportunity to be involved in their fields of interest while genuinely contributing to Prolepsis’s continuous forward motion. In keystone programs, I have been exposed to each level of function- for DIATROFI, the Food Aid and Promotion of Healthy Nutrition Program, that has involved site visits to schools for which the organization provides meals, witnessing children leap in enthusiasm in reaction to nutrition education material and providing feedback for further improvement of program materials. Further, I reworked research papers for DIATROFI and dug into supply-provider chains, health benefits and economic multipliers while independently conducting cost-benefit analyses of the program.

This level of engagement is the norm, not an exception- I conducted site visits for an international intervention on the ageing population and learnt about e-learning platforms being developed for occupational physicians in this field. As someone who fundamentally supports the collaboration of public and private sectors in promoting nutrition and education equality, I was awed by the opportunity to contribute to and even jointly write proposals for the same. The culture of Prolepsis is one that fuels involvement by tapping into personal passions- each week I am given the opportunity to select projects of my interest while working within the Institutional frame. Thus, Fridays have found me everywhere from philanthropic conferences to operating rooms of a local hospital. As I now pursue medical research and prepare policy briefs, I can say with confidence that any engaged intern’s time with Prolepsis will be meaningful, instructive and profoundly gratifying.

Rhea Malik ‘17

Athens, Greece
International, Public Health, Research