Working With Us

The Global Health Unit enjoys hosting a range of individuals on a variety of different NHS development programmes.

Below shares past experiences of placements and details on how to get involved with the Unit.

Please note the Global Health Unit doesn’t deliver global health projects overseas nor does it fund or facilitate overseas placements.

If you are interested in exploring volunteering opportunities please visit our Volunteering Organisations page, reach out to contacts shown on our Health Partnership map or speak to your local NHS Global Citizenship Lead Champion.


Public Health Registrar in Training

I joined the Global Health Coordination Unit as part of my Public Health Registrar placement with the Scottish Government. It was a perfect fit for me because I have a strong passion for global health. I was the Lead for the Quality Improvement in Global Health Partnerships Programme which aims to produce a framework designed to promote and support international health partnerships between Malawi, Scotland, and Zambia to be effective, ethical and sustainable.

I had many highlights during my placement. One such example is when I played a key role in organising our first Quality Improvement Tripartite Health Partnership visit in Scotland for our Malawian and Zambia Partners. This included site visits at Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Lanarkshire Twinning Project in Blantyre as well as a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mr Humza Yousaf.

My placement has been an extremely enjoyable and rewarding experience because I have learnt so much about what works well and does not work so well when trying to establish effective global health partnerships.

Dr Kalonde Kasengele, NHS Lanarkshire

Public Health Specialist Registrar in Training

I joined the Global Health Co-ordination Unit (GHCU) in September 2019 whilst on the UK Specialty Training Programme for Public Health.

When I initially started I was asked to develop the Active Global Citizenship concept, a collaboration between the GHCU and Scotdec, the aim of which was to support staff working in NHS Scotland to understand the connections between local decisions and global health, and engage them to recognise the potential power this could create within the system to address inequity, poverty, and climate change.  The resulting output was a series of free downloadable PowerPoint slides and facilitation notes on key topics of global citizenship, and a series of postcards on the Sustainable Development Goals, with related case studies from throughout NHS Scotland.

A second major work stream that I had the opportunity to contribute to was developing the tri-partite Quality Improvement in Health Partnerships relationship between Malawi, Scotland and Zambia governments, facilitated by the Quality of Care Unit in WHO.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of writing briefings for Ministers, stakeholder mapping and engagement, collaborative discussions to design the programme, and arranging and participating in round table meetings.

The GHCU is a brilliant team to be part of.  It has an impressive remit of work to deliver on and to get involved in, and aside from my main work, I was also able to spend time reviewing the lead champions’ network, take part in the organising of the GC annual conferences, speak at a wide variety of events and webinars, write an opinion piece for the Scotsman, and contribute to the development of the Storybook.  I learnt a huge amount during these experiences and developed both personally and professionally, whilst feeling incredibly fortunate to have been well supported throughout by the team and wider network of people involved in global citizenship.

Emily Broadis, NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow

This year I have been one of the Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellows. I have been hosted by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer to the Scottish Government, and through this I was afforded the opportunity to spend time with the NHS Scotland Global Citizenship Co-ordination Unit. Global Citizenship was a big-picture theme I hadn’t had much exposure to in my clinical role of GP training. Getting to spend time working with the programme team helped me extend my understanding and awareness of global citizenship in action. These experiences ranged from meeting delegates from Malawi and Zambia for discussions on quality improvement, to recording podcasts with some of the inspiring champions of Global Citizenship within NHS Scotland.

Regular input from the programme team, and exposure to the senior-level advisory board for NHS Scotland, allowed me to form a clear picture of where acting as a global citizen fits into the everyday routine of delivering community healthcare. Examples of this encompassed activity occurring at local levels, all the way to the national and international stage. A consistent and passionate enthusiasm from those involved in this work has been restorative to be around. I hope to be able to stay in touch with this area of work as I move towards the completion of my GP training.

Patrick Farrell, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

NHS Management Trainee

I joined the Global Citizenship Programme team in June 2022 for my NHS Scotland Management Training Scheme elective placement. Global citizenship has always interested me and since I started working for the NHS 2 years ago, I wanted to understand how Global citizenship could relate to the healthcare context. During my time with the team I worked on a project to build stronger connections between Scottish Government and NHS around Active Global Citizenship. I have gained a deeper personal understanding of GC and what it means in the context of NHS. I have enjoyed working with such a great team on this placement and I am grateful for their support.

Joanna McKee, NHS Lothian

Postgraduate Student in Global Health

I was an MSc student at the University of Edinburgh studying Global Health Policy (2021-2022) and decided to apply to do a placement-based dissertation with the Global Health Citizenship Unit because, as an NHS employee myself, I am very interested in what we can do and learn as global citizens through international collaboration. I also wanted to gain practical experience undertaking research.

This was the first experience I had undertaking research outside of academia, and I was certainly nervous, but I felt supported and engaged throughout. The paper I wrote as a result of my work was entitled A Critical Analysis of the Methodological Challenges in Capturing the Impact of the NHS Scotland Global Citizenship Programme. As part of my experience, I was invited to participate in meetings and strategy days, which gave me an invaluable insight into the way the Unit operates and the priorities that the Programme holds. I was also able to undertake qualitative online interviews with key stakeholders.

Overall, I am very grateful to my supervisors and the whole team, including the Global Citizenship Lead Champions all over Scotland, who were happy to help and connected me with individuals and organisations that they work with. I have gained confidence in my own research skills and experience of undertaking research with a government body.

Charley Jones, University of Edinburgh

How to get involved 

If you participate in an NHS development or training programme and would like to explore how to undertake a short placement in the Global Health Unit as part of that please contact us on

For information on vacancies in the Scottish Government please visit Jobs and Vacancies.