Prolepsis

 

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.

Moreover, the Director’s Intern will be involved in the pilot program "Friendship at Every Age", aiming at combating in people 65+ years old. The program is being implemented in collaboration with the large international organization "Petits Frères des Pauvres" (https://www.petitsfreresdespauvres.fr/), which has been implementing this program with great success since 1946. Today the organization operates in 10 countries having a network of partnerships in Europe and the US. Greece is the 11th country to join this network through the Prolepsis Institute.

In particular, the program actions aim at supporting people 65+ years old by initiating and supporting long-term relationships with volunteers. Specifically, people 65+ years old, who participate in the program are connected to volunteers: (a) frequent individual visits and telephone communication, and (b)  support, in order to get in touch with other people and enjoy moments of joy and companionship.

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 interns will contribute to the implementation of the EU VET CARE project and specifically support the team that will develop the training curriculum for health professionals who work with migrant/refugee children. The iHeal project looks at Up-Skilling Elders in Digital Health Literacy to prevent marginalization and exclusion and the interns will support the implementation team by developing part of the training material and its adaptation to an online e-learning platform. In addition the interns will support with the implementation of two new projects that Prolepsis is currently starting. The ADD Free Training project is titled - Preventing Smoking, Alcohol and Internet addictions among children and adolescents: a family oriented training approach for adult learners and educators and will develop training for parents and educators against addictions. Interns will support with reviews of the existing situation and identification of innovative training practices in the EU. The project titled ‘Hands-on nutrition training for pediatric primary health care practitioners: a novel combination of culinary and applied nutritional education to promote healthy eating habits in childhood’ – Dr PEDCHEF will provide culinary education to pediatricians so as to equip them with much needed skills to support their patients with nutrition related issues. 

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

Pilot program "Friendship at Every Age":

  • Individual visits to elderly people, who live alone and speak English fluently
  • Contributing in communication strategies and fund-raising actions

European Projects:

  • Supporting the implementation of the following EU Programs:
    • EU VET CARE  Strengthening capacities for better health care to refugee and migrant children, 
    • iHeal - Up-Skilling Elders in Digital Health Literacy to prevent marginalization and exclusion
    • The ADD Free Training - Preventing Smoking, Alcohol and Internet addictions among children and adolescents: a family oriented training approach for adult learners and educators
    • Dr PEDCHEF - ‘Hands-on nutrition training for pediatric primary health care practitioners: a novel combination of culinary and applied nutritional education to promote healthy eating habits in childhood’
  • Conducting literature research
  • Contributing in the development of training modules and training activities including e-learning
  • 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.

2019 Reflection:

I am halfway into my internship at Prolepsis and I absolutely love my experience and have learned so much! I have shadowed at a Greek hospital, visited schools serviced by Prolepsis’ nutrition program and areas affected by the Attica wildfires, revised grant proposals, and researched possible projects to implement in a new program targeting the elderly loneliness epidemic. Along with all of this, I have been writing an introduction to a paper about migrant healthcare in the EU, analyzing data and writing a report about Roma integration in Greek schools, and conducting comparative analysis between different EU countries to understand the needs of health professionals working with unaccompanied minors and refugees. I am learning about the role of non-profits in the public health sector, refugee health issues in the EU, ways to tackle public health issues, and the situation of Roma in Greece, observing the impact of projects implemented by the very dedicated team at Prolepsis, and gaining many analytical, writing, organizational, and collaboration skills.

One of the best things that I have been exposed is the humble, effective, and passionate leadership and mentorship of the Prolepsis team. I don’t need to speak or understand Greek to see the passion, collaboration, and humility with which the staff run this amazing and impactful non-profit. Also, I have to tell you how much I absolutely love Athens. You will find beaches, mountains to hike, a vibrant city center, rich ancient history, gorgeous homey areas just to walk around, all sorts of clubs to join (hiking, sailing, water polo, to name a few), welcoming people, and very importantly fantastic food. The city has great vibes and it’s very common to sit at a café with friends and talk for hours in the midst of lively streets. Working at Prolepsis has exposed me to many public health issues and effective leadership and allowed me to explore Athens, and I cannot wait to see what the next part of my internship holds!

Maya AlMoussa '22

2018 Reflection:

I am writing four weeks into my internship with Prolepsis, and I could not be more excited about what the following month will bring. All of my coworkers at Prolepsis have been welcoming from my first day, and I have enjoyed getting to know them throughout the last month. In my time at Prolepsis, I have been able to work in a wide range of topic areas relating to Greek and EU public health issues, including health care communication, food insecurity and nutrition, and migrant health care inequity. I have led the construction of a proposal for EU funding to combat the migrant health crisis, worked on presentations to be presented at transnational conferences, and led a literature review for publishing assessing health care related quality of life for surgical patients. While I have been given sincere guidance from a highly experienced group of coworkers, I have also been afforded a great deal of independence to push forward diverse projects.

I highly recommend an internship at Prolepsis to anyone interested in public health or health care fields. I have received indispensable experience in how public health research and advocacy truly works. One of the unique opportunities an internship at Prolepsis affords is the opportunity to work within a different institutional framework than the one found in the US. Though there are far more similarities between American and Greek health care than differences, I have been exposed to nuanced differences between the two regarding problems the health care system faces, dynamics of relevant stakeholders, and cultural and social contexts. Lastly, I would be remiss if I were not to mention that living in Athens should be a consideration for potential interns. I have loved being immersed in the beautiful city of Athens and experiencing the culture, sightseeing, and—of course—amazing food Greece has to offer. An internship at Prolepsis is an excellent use of your time because, as you learn and grow, you will also be furthering work that could have a serious impact in the promotion of health across Greece and the EU.

Max Weiss '20

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. 

Athens, Greece