Call for Experts: Technical Advisory Group on Risk Communication and Community Engagement in the WHO European Region

Serial number: 2022/May/60

Advisory group name: Technical advisory group on risk communication and community engagement in the WHO European Region

Deadline for submission of applications: 11:59 p.m. CET on Sunday, June 19, 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking for experts to serve on its technical advisory group on risk communication and community engagement in the WHO European Region. This “call for experts” provides information on the advisory group in question, the profiles of experts sought, the expression of interest process and the selection process.

Background

The WHO European Region stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and includes 53 countries – see the full list of these countries. The WHO Action Plan to improve public health preparedness and response in the WHO European Region 2018–2023 commits the Regional Office for Europe to continuously update and assess the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) support it provides to Member States to ensure emergency preparedness and response interventions.

The RCCE as defined by the WHO covers a wide range of activities. These range from building the capacity of health authorities to speak to journalists to working with civil society organizations at the grassroots level on community empowerment projects. Our understanding of what constitutes best practice and how to measure the impact of all these diverse activities is informed both by field experience and by contributions from academics and experts working across a range of of different disciplines.

The Technical Advisory Group (“TAG”) will advise the WHO Regional Office for Europe unit on: 1) the current state of RCCE research, analysis and innovation in best practices and; 2) how this could be applied to the design, implementation and evaluation of RCCE capacity building strategies, plans, orientations, projects, tools, campaigns and initiatives in the specific context of the European Region

Functions of the RCCE Technical Advisory Group in the WHO European Region

In its capacity as an advisory body to WHO, the TAG on RCCE in the WHO European Region will have the following functions:

  1. Provide independent advice and review of scientific, technical, best practice and strategic aspects of RCCE actions, campaigns, guidance, tools, support services and programs being developed or implemented by WHO in the European Region;
  2. Provide independent advice on appropriate technical methods and strategies for evaluating WHO interventions, campaigns, policies, tools, services and programs in the European Region;
  3. Recommend priorities for RCCE-related research, provision of support services/tools or other interventions to the WHO Regional Office for Europe;
  4. Advise the WHO Regional Office for Europe on current “state of the art” in RCCE research, analysis and innovation in best practice and recommend how this could be applied by WHO in the context of the European Region to interventions, campaigns, policies and programmes.

Operations of the RCCE Technical Advisory Group in the WHO European Region

In most cases, the RCCE TAG in the WHO European Region will hold one-hour online meetings every four to six weeks to review evidence and advise on ongoing RCCE interventions developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and its subregional centres. When WHO is responding to an acute emergency, online meetings may take place more frequently than that.

At least once a year, the TAG will hold a face-to-face meeting to discuss its annual work plan and medium- and long-term priority work. This meeting can be held at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark, at its Health and Humanitarian Emergency Preparedness Center in Istanbul, Turkey or at other locations in the European Region of WHO.

The working language of the group will be English.

Who can express their interest?

The TAG on RCCE in the WHO European Region will be multidisciplinary, with members who possess a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to RCCE. Approximately fifteen (15) members can be selected.

WHO welcomes expressions of interest from:

  • Academics, researchers, consultants and practitioners with expertise and a history of research (in particular applied and/or rapid research), innovation and/or operational and field experience, in all or part of the following fields:
    • Risk communication and crisis communication, especially when applied to health emergencies;
    • Community engagement and empowerment in the context of health emergency preparedness and response
    • Measure and analyze society’s trust in government, and health authorities in particular, including identifying key factors that can establish, maintain or erode that trust.
    • Detection, monitoring and analysis of misinformation and rumours, including how to manage and, if necessary, respond to such misinformation and rumours.
    • Social science research, analysis and advice relevant to the RCCE. This may include, but is not limited to: anthropology, risk communication, community engagement, history, political science, public opinion research, public relations, psychology, science politics, social psychology, sociology
    • Measurement and evaluation of communication and/or community engagement interventions, particularly in the context of the response to acute health emergencies
    • Development of the public health system and capacity building, particularly in the context of the response to health emergencies and/or RCCE.
    • Applied research to guide or evaluate RCCE during health emergencies, including but not limited to the design and piloting of innovative rapid research/data collection techniques.
    • Translate research findings, data, and other types of social science evidence into information for public health action by decision makers. Experience in this area in the context of an emergency response will be particularly relevant.

    Submit your expression of interest

    To register your interest in being considered for appointment to this Technical Advisory Group, please submit the following documents by 23:59 Central European Time on Sunday 19 June 2022 to stathopouloun@who.int using the subject line “Expression of Interest for the Advisory Group on RCCE in the WHO European Region”:

    Obligatory

    • A motivation letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you meet the selection criteria. Please note that, if selected, membership will be on a personal basis. Therefore, do not use your employer’s letterhead or other identification;
    • Your curriculum vitae;
    • A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO experts, available at https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest.

    Optional (you can submit one or both if you wish)

    • A list of your publications. This may include contributions to gray literature, such as national or international guidance or assessments, as well as peer-reviewed publications.
    • A brief overview of your operational and field experience in designing and implementing RCCE interventions in response to health emergencies and/or in assisting health authorities to build their RCCE capacity.

    After submission, your Expression of Interest will be reviewed by WHO. Due to a large number of expected interests, only those selected will be notified.

    Important information on selection processes and conditions of appointment

    Members of WHO Advisory Groups (AGs) must be free from any real, potential or apparent conflict of interest. To this end, candidates are required to complete the WHO Declaration of Interests for WHO Experts, and selection as a member of an GA depends, among other things, on the determination by WHO that there is no conflict of interest or that any conflict identified could be appropriately managed (in addition to WHO’s assessment of the experience, expertise and motivation of a candidate and other criteria).

    All members of the GA will serve in their capacity as individual experts and will not represent any government, industry or commercial entity, research, academic or civil society organization, or any other body, entity, institution or organization. They are expected to fully comply with the WHO Expert Code of Conduct. GA members will be required to sign and return a completed confidentiality agreement before the start of the first meeting.

    At any time during the selection process, telephone interviews may be scheduled between a candidate and the WHO Secretariat to allow WHO to ask questions relating to the candidate’s experience and expertise and/or Assess whether the candidate meets the membership criteria for the GA concerned. .

    Selection of GA members will be made by WHO at its sole discretion, taking into account the following (non-exclusive) criteria: relevant technical expertise; experience in international and national political work; communication skills; and ability to work constructively with people from different cultural backgrounds and orientations.

    If selected by WHO, proposed members will receive an invitation letter and a memorandum of understanding. Appointment as a member of an GA will be subject to the submission by the proposed member to WHO of the countersigned copy of these two documents.

    WHO reserves the right to accept or reject any expressions of interest, to cancel the open call process and to reject all expressions of interest at any time without incurring any liability to the candidate(s) concerned. and without any obligation to inform the applicant(s) concerned of the reasons for the action of OMS. WHO may also decide, at any time, not to proceed with the creation of the AG, to dissolve an existing TAG or to modify the work of the AG.

    Under no circumstances will WHO be obligated to reveal or discuss with an applicant how an Expression of Interest was assessed, or provide any other information relating to the assessment/selection process or state the reasons for which a member has not been chosen.
    WHO may publish the names and short biographies of selected individuals on the WHO Internet.

    Members of the GA will not be compensated for their services in connection with the GA or otherwise. Travel and accommodation costs for GA members to attend GA meetings will be covered by WHO in accordance with its applicable policies, rules and procedures.

    The appointment will be time-limited as indicated in the appointment letter.

    If you have any questions regarding this “call for experts”, please write to stathopouloun@who.int well before the applicable deadline.

Mary I. Bruner