Dignitas International (DI) is a medical and research organization dedicated to improving health care for people facing a high burden of disease and unequal access to services. DI delivers and supports frontline medical care in Southern Malawi, and with First Nations communities in Canada. DI also researches ways to improve how health care is delivered, to make it more effective and accessible. Finally, DI shares their findings broadly and advocates for better health care policy and practice for underserved populations. By coupling the frontline experience of their clinicians with the expertise of their scientists, DI generates, pilots and scales up sustainable models of care that address barriers and gaps in health services and policy.
DI has country offices in Canada (Headquarters), USA and Malawi.
- Research and knowledge translation
- Infectious diseases
- Non-infectious diseases
- Indigenous health
- Maternal and child health
Dignitas International Projects
Medical program: Strengthening First Nations-led health care in Sioux Lookout, Ontario
In Canada, Community Health Workers (CHWs) are on the frontline delivering community-based care in Indigenous communities. CHWs are highly valued because the services they provide are appropriate to the health and cultural needs of the community. 2017 marked the end of a three-year CHW Diabetes Pilot Program developed to support First Nations-led health care solutions among four communities in the Sioux Lookout Area of Northern Ontario. By training and empowering CHWs to play an active role in patient care, community members living with type 2 diabetes receive targeted support and better continuity of care to manage their condition and prevent traumatic diabetes complications.
Research: The STAMP trial
While tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of AIDS-related deaths worldwide, current TB testing methods using sputum samples are time-consuming, difficult for HIV+ patients to produce, and expensive. The STAMP trial conducted by DI and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Malawi and South Africa found positive health and cost outcomes for a new bedside urine-based test that can diagnose TB within 30 minutes. As a result of STAMP, urine-based TB screening in HIV+ in-patients may eventually become the global standard of care in high TB and HIV settings. The STAMP study was published in the July 2018 issue of The Lancet.
Knowledge translation: Stopping preventable deaths through technology
In resource-limited settings, governments must find affordable and user-friendly solutions to optimize health care delivery. While medical reference materials are important to ensure protocol adherence across the country, updating, printing and distributing them is a challenge for Malawi’s Ministry of Health. This problem presented an opportunity for DI to develop a mobile application for Malawi’s HIV Clinical Guidelines. Moving away from traditional printing and putting updated guidelines into the hands of health practitioners means that health care workers have real-time knowledge at their fingertips. They can search easily, receive automatic updates, and bookmark important content. This free app is revolutionizing how technology can improve health care delivery in low-income countries.
- Generous medical benefits and holiday package
- Diversity in hiring
- Flexibility with working from home
- Ability to travel to Zomba, Malawi and/or Sioux Lookout, Ontario (dependent on role)
Meet Some Team Members
Katie is Dignitas International’s Indigenous Health Program Manager. In her role, Katie is accountable for the planning and implementation of DI’s Indigenous Health Partners Program, which includes a portfolio of program, research and knowledge translation initiatives. She leads the program team and associated project activity, in addition to managing key partnerships and collaborations. Katie has 10 years of experience working in global health, and has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management, and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Development. With DI, Katie most enjoys the fun, passionate and committed staff. She always feels there is also a lot of opportunity to develop, advance and/or enhance professional skills at Dignitas.
Catherine is the Digital Marketing Officer at DI. With this, she plays a key role on Dignitas’ development and communications team and is responsible for supporting digital communications as well as the organization’s donor database. She also provides strategic logistical support to the CEO. Catherine has 4 years of work experience and has earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree from Queen’s University and a graduate certificate in International Development from Humber College. Because DI is a small organization, Catherine most enjoys the opportunity to work across departments, as it creates a fantastic learning environment for people to develop skills & experience.
Josh is the Ideas to Impact (i2i) Lab Director. As i2i Lab Director, he provides both strategic direction and day-to-day operational management to Dignitas’ i2i Lab. The i2i Lab Director provides direction in the identification and selection of i2i Lab projects, and serves as supervisor and coach to i2i fellows working within the i2i Lab. He also identifies and builds the academic, strategic and financial partnerships necessary for the i2i Lab’s success. Josh has over 10 years of work experience and earned as Masters degree in Public Health. When asked what he enjoys most about working at DI, the answer is simple: the team. In particular, Josh enjoys working with such a committed and energized group to support health system improvements globally.
- Actions driven by integrity
- Strive for excellence in all aspects of DI work
- Approach is rooted in the principle of equity
- Embrace innovation & learning
- Collaboration & partnership are critical to achieving DI’s mission
How to get involved with Dignitas International
How often does Dignitas International hire people?
Approximately 1 per quarter (locally in Canada). However, DI hires more frequently globally.
Currently, they are working with 1-3 volunteers (locally in Canada).
At this time, DI does not offer internship opportunities. However, their Ideas to Impact (i2i) Lab hosts 6-18 month fellowship opportunities for those with specific innovative global health pilot projects. Information about fellowships will always be available at their i2i Lab website.
Top Things Dignitas International Looks For
Dignitas International looks for people who:
- Values-driven: Demonstrate Dignitas’ core values of integrity, excellence, equity, innovation & learning, collaboration & partnership
- Passion for and commitment to global health
- Resilient, motivated, with a ‘can do’ attitude
Advice for Candidates
In your cover letter, make sure to let DI know the experience that you have, which are relevant to the skills and qualifications on the job advertisement. DI staff like to hear about how a role with Dignitas fits into your long-term plans. DI staff members often review applications and short-list candidates on a regular basis, so sending in your application sooner rather than later is recommended!