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Population, Family and Reproductive Health

Alyssa Sharkey, PhD '08

Alyssa SharkeyGraduation Year: 2008
Focus in Program: Child health with a methods concentration in health services research and evaluation.
Current Position: Maternal and Child Health Specialist, acting Regional Advisor for Health, in UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia.

In this position I serve as the health expert adviser to UNICEF’s regional and country offices, government and NGO partners, and UN system partners in South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives) on strategic planning, approaches, best practices and knowledge on maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health (MNCH) related issues to support program planning, implementation, management and capacity building of stakeholders to achieve concrete and sustainable results.

What was your favorite academic experience? 

I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with student groups such as the Health and Human Rights group. I also greatly appreciated the exposure I had to a broad range of core public health courses in epidemiology and evaluation and learning from excellent faculty.

What was the topic of your thesis? 

I conducted a qualitative assessment to better understand the circumstances surrounding infant deaths in an urban township and rural community of South Africa. My thesis was titled, “The health and social context of infant death: Reflections from South Africa.”

How has your Doctoral Degree contributed to your current line of work? 

My work entails and interesting mix of program implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation, and research (particularly implementation research). Most of my UNICEF colleagues have been doing program management and implementation for the better part of their careers. So my skill set is a bit unique within the organization and I am able to provide technical assistance across a broad range of our maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health programming efforts.