Internship in Data Science, Machine Learning, and Public Health

Role description: The intern will work with our staff to apply data analysis and predictive modeling to some of the most urgent problems currently facing the public health and development sector.  Example projects that the intern may contribute to include the Maternal Health Access Project, which is aimed at uncovering the reasons for disparities in maternal health outcomes in the United States and providing solutions for improved access to care, and the Remote Sensing for Reproductive, Maternal, and Child Health initiative, which leverages machine learning and remote sensing data to provide small scale estimates of critical health outcomes in data-poor settings.

Desired qualifications:

  • Excellent data analytic skills

  • Experience with geospatial data and analysis

  • Proficiency with data mining, data validation, data cleaning, integrating multiple data sets, and ability to dealing with missing data

  • Proficiency in applying and interpreting statistical methods, including regression, factor analysis, discriminant analysis, etc.

  • Experience/familiarity with field data collection, survey design, field experiments (i.e. RCTs), in-depth interviews, focus groups, and other research methods

  • Strong skills in statistical packages such as R, SAS, SPSS, STATA, etc

  • Ability to synthesize, distill and present insights using powerful visual formats & clear/concise written format

  • Ability to work independently and within a team

  • Entrepreneurial mindset, self-motivating, and ability to propose new ideas and think out of the box

  • Flexible and adaptive mindset; ability to work different cultural environments

  • Proficiency in programming languages (e.g., Python) preferred

About Surgo Foundation: Surgo is focused on bringing the latest innovations around behavior, tech, and data to global development.  We are a privately-funded action tank obsessed with thinking about people as customers instead of passive beneficiaries. We develop a deep understanding of behavior and systems that is driven by a new type of data that can transform how development programs are designed and delivered.  We incubate, test, and scale solutions so others don’t have to.

With a laser focus on uncovering the ‘why’, we partner with organizations and governments to help unlock some of their biggest challenges. Our model is to supplement existing programs with our funds, expertise, and tools. Surgo works on major global issues from maternal health in India to housing in the US. Our multidisciplinary team includes development experts, data scientists, behavioral scientists, and technologists who are skilled in collecting and interpreting data on why people behave the way they do and how complex systems work, and in developing scalable tools. We are a small but diverse team with big plans.  

Initiative examples: Surgo Foundation is working on several large-scale development programs. Examples include the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (RMNCH) program in the state of Uttar Pradesh (~200 million population), India in partnership with the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the tuberculosis program in Chennai, India in partnership with the Chennai Municipal Corporate. Our programs include a Causal Machine Learning Initiative for Precision Public Health and Big-behavioral data from resource poor settings.  This initiative is testing the applicability and feasibility of applying machine learning approaches to analyze large public health data sets from Uttar Pradesh, India.

Position details:

Location:  Washington, DC

Reporting: Intern will be assigned to work with one or more project leads at Surgo Foundation and will be responsible for communicating with our partner organizations in India

Time: Minimum 8 weeks required during summer (exact start time flexible); 40 hours/week

Compensation: Modest stipend will be paid and travel expenses will be covered


Application deadline: ASAP = Applications Accepted on a Rolling Basis

Interested applicants, please send your 1) resume/CV and 2) brief cover letter to Dr. Sema Sgaier, Executive Director, Surgo Foundation:

Short-listed applicants will be interviewed