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Specialist, Ethics Review, PAHOERC

Washington D.C.

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Grade: Junior level - P-2, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Social Affairs
    • Ombudsman and Ethics
  • Closing Date: Closed


This requisition is for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

PAHO’s Ethics Review Committee (PAHOERC) conducts ethics reviews of research with human subjects. As specified by its standard operating procedures, PAHOERC’s duties also include building capacity in research ethics and advocating for ethical research. Housed by the Regional Program on Bioethics at the Unit of Science and Knowledge for Impact (SK) in the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH), PAHOERC consists of an interdisciplinary group of professionals from different areas of the Organization, selected observer entities and a Secretariat. PAHOERC activities are often done in tandem with the Regional Program on Bioethics, which provides technical cooperation on research ethics and other areas of bioethics. The incumbent for this position will work directly with the Secretary responsible for the management of PAHOERC. He/she will be a member of the Secretariat and as such actively support the Secretary in ethics review processes, which involves reviewing documents critically on the basis of ethics guidelines and regulations, facilitating and moderating the exchanges among the members of the Committee, serving as liaison between the members of the Committee and research teams in headquarters and Member States, communicating directly with research teams about ethics review processes and modifications in submitted protocols as agreed by the Committee, providing training and assistance on ethics of research with human subjects and ethics review processes, and devising and implementing strategies aimed at ensuring that PAHOERC’s Standard Operating Procedures are being followed.


Under the general supervision of the Unit Chief, Science and Knowledge for Impact (EIH/SK) and the direct supervision of the Bioethics Advisor (EIH/SK), the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following assigned duties:

a)Support the Secretary of PAHOERC in ethics review processes, which includes: reviewing documentation of proposals submitted to PAHOERC, conducting preliminary review of research proposals submitted, responding to inquiries, liaising between the committee and the investigators, communicating deficiencies in protocols to investigators to ensure that they are addressed adequately prior to review, communicating with committee members about submitted research proposals, facilitating the screening of proposals, reviewing protocols to confirm that the observations raised by the Committee are adequately addressed, issuing and distributing the appropriate documents in preparation for meetings, attending all committee meetings, drafting minutes and decision letters, and monitoring proposals approved by PAHOERC;

b)Manage PAHOERC research ethics review processes at PAHO using the ProEthos online system;

c)Provide technical support and training on ethics of research with human participants and ethics review processes and the use of the ProEthos system to new PAHOERC members, investigators and PAHO staff on a regular basis;

d)Develop tools to facilitate ethics review processes and adherence to the ethics review requirement and PAHOERC’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), and collaborate in researching, analyzing and organizing information to prepare relevant documents and tools;

e)Coordinate PAHOERC activities, including internal and external meetings and training activities concerning the ethics review requirements and its processes;

f)Organize and maintain PAHOERC’s institutional memory, filing of documents, and preparing annual report on PAHOERC’s activities;

g)Support the implementation of the ProEthos online system for ethics review of research with human participants, providing support to those responsible for the management of research committees (including at WHO and Regional Offices) and liaising with BIREME and IT teams;

h)Support the continuous assessment and improvement of the ProEthos online system, liaising with software programmers, and testing and implementing revisions of the system;

i)Assist PAHOERC’s Secretariat in the coordination of activities between the Regional Bioethics Program and other PAHO Technical Units;

j)Coordinate with WHO’s Ethics Review Committee as needed;

k)Perform other related duties, as assigned.



Essential: A bachelor’s degree in humanities, a social or health science, law or in any other discipline related to the functions of the post, plus training on research ethics from a recognized university.

Desirable: Training on bioethics, research management, research methodology, and biostatistics would be an asset.

In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position.WHO, only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: PAHO will also use the databases of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and College Navigator, found on the website of the National Centre for Educational Statistics, to support the validation process.


Essential: Five years of combined national and international work experience in ethics review of research with human participants. Management of a research ethics committee using an online system for the review process.

Desirable: Experience conducting research ethics training, software use training, and implementing online systems for ethics review would be an asset. Experience in user experience development support and website management is highly desirable.


PAHO Competencies:

·Overall attitude at work: Maintains integrity and takes a clear ethical approach and stance; demonstrates commitment to the Organization’s mandate and promotes the values of the Organization in daily work and behavior; is accountable for work carried out in line with own role and responsibilities; is respectful towards, and trusted by, colleagues and counterparts.

·Teamwork: Collaborate and cooperate with others. - Works collaboratively with team members and counterparts to achieve results; encourages cooperation and builds rapport; helps others when asked; accepts joint responsibility for the teams’ successes and shortcomings. Identifies conflicts in a timely manner and addresses them as necessary; understands issues from the perspective of others; does not interpret/ attribute conflicts to cultural, geographical or gender issues.

·Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences: Relate well to diversity in others and capitalize on such diversity - Treats all people with dignity and respect. Relates well to people with different cultures, gender, orientations, backgrounds and/or positions; examines own behavior to avoid stereotypical responses; considers issues from the perspective of others and values their diversity.

·Communication: Express oneself clearly when speaking/Write effectively/Listen/Shares knowledge - Quality and quantity of communication targeted at audience.Listens attentively and does not interrupt other speakers.Adapts communication style and written content to ensure they are appropriately and accurately understood by the audience (e.g., power-point presentations, communication strategies, implementation plans).Shares information openly with colleagues and transfers knowledge, as needed.

·Knowing and managing yourself: Manages stress/Invite feedback/Continuously learn - Remains productive even in an environment where information or direction is not available, and when facing challenges; recovers quickly from setbacks, where necessary. Manages stress positively; remains positive and productive even under pressure; does not transfer stress to others. Seeks feedback to improve knowledge and performance; shows self- awareness when seeking and receiving feedback; uses feedback to improve own performance.Seeks informal and/or formal learning opportunities for personal and professional development; systematically learns new competencies and skills useful for job; takes advantage of learning opportunities to fill competencies and skill gaps.

·Producing Results: Deliver quality results/Take responsibility - Produces high-quality results and workable solutions that meet clients’ needs. Works independently to produce new results and sets own timelines effectively and efficiently.Shows awareness of own role and clarifies roles of team members in relation to project’s expected results. Makes proposals for improving processes as required and takes responsibility for own work and/or actions, as necessary.Demonstrates positive attitude in working on new projects and initiatives. Demonstrates accountability for own success, as well as for errors; learns from experience.

·Moving forward in a changing environment: Propose change/Adapt to change - Suggests and articulates effective and efficient proposals for change as needed when new circumstances arise.Quickly and effectively adapts own work approach in response to new demands and changing priorities. Is open to new ideas, approaches and working methods; adjusts own approach to embrace change initiatives.

Technical Expertise:

-Knowledge of ethics of research with human participants.

-Practical knowledge of ethics review and review processes for research with human participants.

-Technical expertise and skills with online systems for ethics review.

-Expertise in planning and conducting research ethics training activities and the development of training material.

-Understanding of the regional normative landscape for research ethics.

-Strong professional oral and writing skills, including the development of reports, oral presentations, and technical documents for consideration at the highest levels of the Organization.

-Knowledge of research methodology.

-Excellent organizational skills and strict attention to details.

-Ability to maintain confidentiality and awareness of how to handle and maintain documents of a sensitive nature.

-Ability to work harmoniously in a multicultural and multi-ethnic work environment.


Very good knowledge of English or Spanish with a working knowledge of the other language. Knowledge of Portuguese would be an asset.

IT Skills:

Demonstrated ability to effectively use current technology and software, spreadsheets and presentations, as well as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and management information systems. Other IT skills and knowledge of software programs such as Microsoft Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, PowerPoint, Teams, SharePoint, Word, Visio and Project are considered essential.


Annual Salary: (Net of taxes)

USD $50,377.00 post adjustment

Post Adjustment:70.2% of the above figure(s).This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.


This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level.

Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to PAHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and e-Manual.

For information on PAHO please visit:

PAHO/WHO is an ethical organization that maintains high standards of integrity and accountability. People joining PAHO are required to maintain these standards both in their professional work and personal activities.

PAHO/WHO also promotes a work environment that is free from harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and other types of abusive behavior. PAHO conducts background checks and will not hire anyone who has a substantiated history of abusive conduct.

PAHO/WHO personnel interact frequently with people in the communities we serve. To protect these people, PAHO has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. People who commit serious wrongdoing will be terminated and may also face criminal prosecution.

PAHO/WHO is committed to workforce diversity. PAHO/WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.

PAHO/WHO offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance).Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy.

Candidates appointed to an international post with PAHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.

All applicants are required to complete an on-line profile to be considered for this post.

Candidates will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. A written test and/or interview will be held for this post.The post description is the official documentation for organization purposes.

This vacancy is now closed.
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