In early 2017, Seed’s Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning team surveyed alumni of GHSP’s first three cohorts to learn more about the motivations and factors that led them to serve, their challenges and support after completing service, their current work, and the impact of their GHSP experience. In total, we received responses from the 88 alumni that completed service in years 1-3, representing an 86% response rate. Selected findings are highlighted below.
58% of alumni indicated working often or always in underserved populations and/or in resource-limited settings domestically upon completion of their service.
Challenges faced upon return:
The most frequently-mentioned challenge that alumni faced upon their return was their readjustment to life and work in the United States (42%). For example, alumni reported challenges in resuming work with an excess of resources, reverse culture shock, feeling disconnected to their colleagues, and feeling difficulty in fitting back in to their previous roles.
Finding support with post-service challenges:
To deal with these challenges, alumni most often mentioned finding support in fellow GHSP colleagues and alumni (43%), as well as in family and friends (41%). A smaller number also found it helpful to share their experiences with others (16%).
Desire to be engaged in the future:
The desire for alumni engagement was clear, and mentioned by 44% of alumni when asked about additional ways Seed could support or engage them in the future. Suggestions from alumni on future engagement included:
- staying involved with the through service and support for future cohorts
- participating in peer support groups
- local, virtual, and conference-based alumni events and meetups
- staying connected through social media
- continuing to remain updated about progress at program sites
Bringing back essential learnings and skills:
Alumni identified several strengths gained from their GHSP experience, that they have incorporated into their work post-service:
- Teaching skills and experience (40%), were highlighted, specifically improvement in teaching skills through experience in the classroom that allowed alumni to become more effective and confident teachers in the U.S.
- Patience and flexibility (30%) – or as one alumnus put it, learning to “not sweat the small stuff.”
- Increased clinical skills and experience (29%), both general and in specialty-specific areas
- Global health knowledge and broadened perspective (24%)
Significant changes because of GHSP:
The most frequently reported was change in career as a result of GHSP (19%). The majority of these cite GHSP asthe reason they made a change and are now in their current job. Additional themes included the desire to work in global health (13%) and an increased commitment or desire to teach (12%).
Currently, Seed is administering a similar survey to alumni of GHSP’s fourth cohort. Seed knows that there is tremendous value in leveraging alumni experience and expertise to advance equity in healthcare around the world. We look forward to capturing more, actionable feedback from alumni and engaging them in our work through an alumni strategy, harnessing the passion and dedication of this community.
This blog is the final post in a series by Seed Global Health’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning team focused on the ways that we look to incorporate rigorous evaluation into future learning and our impact strategy.