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MSD Fellowship for Global Health

Our mission to save and improve lives underpins the idea behind the MSD Fellowship for Global Health.



The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is a three-month, field-based corporate pro bono program designed to leverage the skills and talents of our employees worldwide. The company continually seeks innovative ways to increase access to health around the world while also growing and developing our talent. The MSD Fellowship for Global Health is one way that we can accomplish both objectives.

Teams of highly skilled Fellows, who are passionate about our company’s mission to save and improve lives around the world, are assigned to Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) partners to help build their capacity and provide increased access to health services and education in the communities they serve. In turn, the Fellows bring back experiences that contribute to our company’s future success and our ability to deliver innovative health solutions to patients and customers around the world.

The program focuses on three areas of impact:

  • Strengthening the capacity and reach of NGO partners with technical and human capital support
  • Providing rich professional-development experiences for our selected employees
  • Applying key learnings across the company

From 2012 to 2019, 220 Fellows from 37 countries have worked with 35 NGO partners.

Group photo of the 2019 Fellows during their Onboarding Session in Johannesburg, South Africa, before their assignments began
The 2019 Fellows spent a week together at the pre-assignment Onboarding Session in Johannesburg, South Africa
Twitter promo calling out the hashtag #RTCfellows for those who want to follow their progress

Twenty-nine employees from 11 countries served as part of the 2018 MSD Fellowship for Global Health. These Fellows worked side by side with eight NGO partners in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, India and the U.S. for three months to improve health care delivery for people in the greatest need.

Photo of Fellows Lisa Archibald, Roger Ongosi, and Maki Kanesaka, who worked with NGO partner Purdue University and the Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy for three months to develop a strategy for establishing a model drug formulation and manufacturing center in Tanzania to help address unmet medical needs in the region.
Fellows Lisa Archibald, Roger Ongosi and Maki Kanesaka worked with NGO partner Purdue University and the Kilimanjaro School of Pharmacy for three months to develop a strategy for establishing a model drug formulation and manufacturing center in Tanzania to help address unmet medical needs in the region.

Employee development

The MSD Fellowship for Global Health works in collaboration with our Human Resources department to integrate diverse skill sets, experience and points of view into each team to increase the level of creativity and innovation, yielding sustainable results for the NGO partners. The Fellow selection process, preparation activities, manager support and reintegration activities all align with our objectives to attract, develop and retain the best and brightest talent.

“This was an incredibly rich learning experience. New opportunities were constantly carved out and the unforeseen challenges really have equipped me with an open mind. I have returned to MSD with a sense of pride and a feeling that I can work to a level I did not know I could prior to embarking on the Fellowship.”

– 2018 RTC Fellow

We’ve made significant progress in aligning the program with the geographic diversity of the company, specifically incorporating a greater proportion of colleagues from outside the United States.

In 2018, 45 percent of Fellows came from company locations outside the United States, an increase of 23 percent since 2013. Additionally, half of the 16 Fellows who currently reside in the U.S. have an international background.

Our annual survey of Fellows and NGO partners demonstrates the program’s significant benefits and improvements, as well as measurable benefits for our company’s business and reputation.

External recognition
The Fellowship was recognized by several external organizations in 2018 including:

“This program is a good example of private sector engagement to share knowledge and experience with the public sector. We are looking forward to continuing this fruitful collaboration with you for the transformation of public health supply chain in Africa.”

– 2018 NGO partner

We remain committed to the continued expansion of the program’s global reach.

Our partners

The NGO partners vary year to year. However, partner organizations must have proven expertise and success in implementing programs that improve access to health, strengthen health systems and/or support the advancement of research and development capabilities. Program guidelines prohibit projects that focus on the research and/or development of specific compounds or biological agents for the treatment and prevention of disease.

Become a Fellowship partner
The 2020 application period is now open! To apply, please carefully review the documents below and submit project proposal(s) by 12:00PM US EST on January 6, 2020.


NGO partners reporting extraordinary or substantial capacity gains 85% 100% 100% 100% 100%
NGO partners reporting that they are extremely or very likely to implement the Fellows’ recommendations1 NA NA 100% 90% 88%
Fellows reporting that the experience helped them better connect (or reconnect) with the purpose of their global health work at MSD to a significant or extraordinary degree 81% 96% 96% 100% 100%
Fellows who say they will apply learnings from the program to their role at MSD NA NA 93% 93% 85%
Note: This table shows annual survey data from the Fellows and NGO partners to gauge the success of the program and understand its impact. The survey is sent to each Fellow and NGO partner at the end of the assignment.
NA: Not Available.
1 New question introduced in the 2016 impact survey.
Merck Fellowship for Global Health: Global Participation chart