Advisor, Alcohol and Psychoactive Drugs, Washington, United States

Organization: World Health Organization (WHO)

Country: United States

City: Washington

Office: Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization

Grade: P-4

Closing date: Friday, 24 February 2023

Advisor, Alcohol and Psychoactive Drugs

( 2300839 )

Grade : P4

Contractual Arrangement : Fixed-term appointment

Contract Duration (Years, Months, Days) : Two years, first year probationary period.

Job Posting: Jan 27, 2023, 9:50:06 PM

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

The Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health (NMH) Department promotes, coordinates, and implements technical cooperation activities, directed to the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, mental, neurological and substance abuse disorders, related risk factors and disabilities that are evidence-based and appropriate for the political and sociocultural context in which they are implemented. It raises political and public awareness and understanding of the burden of the most common noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and mental disorders, related risk factors and conditions and leads multi-sector and multi-stakeholder strategic and collaborative efforts aimed at strengthening Member States‘ capacity to promote and protect health through public policies, programs, and services. This will reduce risks and disease burden and contribute to improving the physical, mental, and social well-being of the population.


Under the general supervision of the Director, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health (NMH), and the direct supervision of Unit Chief, Mental Health and Substance Use (NMH/MH), the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following assigned duties:

Provide technical and strategic advice and programmatic direction to Member States for the development of projects and activities, at the highest level of expertise, in the field of prevention and control of alcohol and psychoactive substances;
Represent the Organization at the different levels in the Region in the development of projects and norms in prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug use disorders;
Cooperate with Member States in the definition and implementation of policies, plans and programs for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol and psychoactive drug related problems;
Develop appropriate systems for the management of information concerning alcohol and psychoactive drug problems, and integrating this information into existing health surveillance information systems;
Design and carry out epidemiological and operational studies on prevention, control and treatment of alcohol and psychoactive drugs problems, in cooperation with national authorities;
Promote inter-country cooperation in the fields of program development and training, and education on alcohol and drug dependence through the identification of centers of excellence and the organization of a network of such centers oriented toward collaborative work;
Promote the financing of regional and country projects and assist the governments in the identification of projects, preparation of proposals, and conduct of evaluative activities of said projects;
Prepare and write proposals to mobilize international and national resources and voluntary contributions in support of regional and national programs;
Administer programs on promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of alcohol and psychoactive drug problems in which the Organization has been designated executing agency;
Coordinate the activities related to communication, health promotion and health education implemented with partners and advance the use of state-of-the-art technology to achieve expected goals;
Organize and participate in seminars and meetings on alcohol and psychoactive drugs in order to analyze specific problems and facilitate the exchange of scientific information on these subjects;
Cooperate in the establishment and development of coordinating mechanisms among Ministries of Health, Education, Interior and Social Security to promote the effective utilization of resources in the field;
Cooperate with countries in the promotion, design, and organization of education and training programs in the area of alcohol and psychoactive drugs including collaboration with Universities, Ministries of Health and Social Security; advising the countries in the establishment of continuing education programs and the introduction of this topic in the curricula and work plan of health care workers;
Coordinate with WHO Collaborating Centers, UNDC, CICAD, NGO’s, national and international agencies in the development of activities promoting prevention and control of alcohol and psychoactive drugs;
Collaborate in the planning and implementation of MH strategies in the context of national and international policies and programs for equitable health development;
Contribute to strengthening program linkages and cross-area program activities and projects;
When called upon to directly supervise staff, establish clear work objectives, conduct timely and effective performance appraisals, provide coaching and feedback, and support staff development opportunities;
Supervise staff under his/her supervision.


Education :

Essential: A university degree in a health-related profession with a specialization in psychiatry or mental health or alcohol and psychoactive drugs policy and a master’s degree in mental health, public health, alcohol and psychoactive drugs policy or field related to the functions of the post, from a recognized institution.

Desirable: A doctoral degree 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.

Experience :

Essential: Nine years of combined national and international experience in the planning, management and implementation of alcohol and psychoactive drugs policies, services and programs. Experience should include alcohol and psychoactive drugs policy formulation and implementation, restructuring of services and health management with a particular focus on alcohol and psychoactive drugs.


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.

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences : Relate well to diversity in others and capitalize on such diversity - Relates well to diversity in others and capitalizes 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.

Teamwork : Collaborate and cooperate with others - Works collaboratively with team members and counterparts to achieve and build rapport; helps others when asked; accepts joint responsibility for the team’s successes and shortcomings.

Communication : Write effectively/Share knowledge - Writes down ideas in a clear, structured, logical and credible way; drafts and supports the development of guidelines, policies and procedures. Shares relevant information openly and ensures that the shared information is understood; considers knowledge sharing as a constructive working method and demonstrates awareness of the Organization.

Producing Results : Work efficiently and independently/Deliver quality results - Monitors own and others‘ work in a systematic and effective way, ensuring required resources and outputs. Aligns projects with Organization’s mission and objectives. Consistently solves own and team’s problems effectively as needed. Proactively engages in projects and initiatives, accepting demanding goals, in line with Organizational Strategies and Program of Work. Demonstrates accountability for work of team and sets an example, while explicitly articulating lessons learnt for own and team’s benefit.

Ensuring effective use of resources : Strategize and set clear objectives/Monitor progress and use resources well - Sets specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely objectives for own team and/or the Organization; systematically analyses and anticipates priority projects for own team and allocates necessary resources to achieve them; identifies the cross-Organizational resources needed for large- scale projects in line with key Organizational objectives. Anticipates foreseeable changes and adapts own and team’s projects in the face of unforeseen circumstances and/ or challenges; creates measures and criteria to monitor progress of overall projects against key Organizational objectives; creates cost-effective solutions for the Organization.

Building and promoting partnerships across the Organization and beyond : Develop networks and partnerships and encourage collaboration - Builds and negotiates strategic partnerships and alliances with a wide range of key stakeholders to ensure Organizational results and success. Creates innovative opportunities for promoting synergies inside and outside the Organization to improve Organizational success

Technical Expertise:

Expertise in the scientific and administrative procedures applicable to the development of public health policies for the prevention of alcohol and psychoactive drug problems

Expertise in the development and evaluation of cost-effective interventions to the management of alcohol and drug use disorders.

Expertise in the area of alcohol and psychoactive drugs policy development and issues related to the implementation of community services and programs for alcohol and psychoactive drug problems .

Technical expertise in the area of health promotion, local participatory planning and evaluation methodologies, especially working with multiple sectors, and government, community and academic institutions.

Technical expertise in the development and application of technology for health.

Extensive technical expertise of public health aspects of alcohol and psychoactive drugs .

Demonstrated ability to work in multicultural, multilingual and multi-disciplinary settings; leadership and team-building capabilities.

Knowledge of international and bilateral organizations, specifically for mobilization of resources; and skills in leading multicountry project activities.

Strong interpersonal skills, diplomacy and tact to effectively communicate with senior level officials, multiple stakeholders and professionals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

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


Very good knowledge of English or Spanish with working knowledge of the other language. Knowledge of French and/or 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, and Word are considered essential.


Annual Salary : (Net of taxes)

USD $77,326.00+ post adjustment

Post Adjustment : 60.2% 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.

Link to the organization’s job posting: