Career in public health – The Experience of Dr. Hailu Dufera, MD, MPhil, DrPH’24 at Harvard University

Career in public health – The Experience of Dr. Hailu Dufera, MD, MPhil, DrPH’24 at Harvard University, March 13 2023





Dr. Hailu Dufera was born and raised in the rural part of Ethiopia where the public health challenges are much more evident. After completing his secondary education he joined medical school at Jimma university and graduated in 2014 G.C. After his graduation from med school, as any medical graduate, Dr Hailu took induction training which is administered by MOH, at which time, he applied to join the ministry and took an inteview. Dr Hailu was able to pass the interview but was not able to join at that time due to the lack of available posts.

Dr Hailu started getting clarity for his strong passion in public health after, he went on to Practice as a general practitioner at Shanan Gibe general hospital in Jimma. During that one year stay Dr. Hailu participated in several pubic health roles. Then following a one year service at Shanan Gibe general hospital, Dr Hailu got an opportunity to serve at the ministry of health.

After joining MOH, Dr Hailu realized that having clinical training alone will not prepare a person well for a carrier in public health. This created a strong urge inside Dr Hailu to study pubic health. Therefore he started applying for the scholarship opportunities that came to MOH. At one instance, Holding a sum total of 2 years and one month work experience, Dr Hailu applied for a project that was intended for public health servants. Several applicants for that project were professionals with far more experience than Dr Hailu. But still he passed for an interview session holding the last position at the bottom of the list. The Interviewers of that Interview session was from a Harvard professor and another professor from Norway. However later on it was decided that a priority should be given for candidates in a leadership role, and Dr Hailu was informed that he wasn’t chosen to be part of that project. The young hopeful Dr Hailu was disappointed since in spite of having a rather good interview session with the interviewers, those who were actually chosen for the project were people who were not even in the interview list.

Following this temporary set back, Dr Hailu pursued public health on his own at jimma university for more than a year; and he also joined Addis Ababa University school of commerce for a weekend and night time program in Project management. But due to the nature of his new job at Alert hospital he was not able to complete his studies. However after having some setbacks, a good news came for Dr Hailu from unexpected source. The Harvard professor who interviewed him before,  contacted him directly and informed him of their interest to give him an opportunity to be part of that year’s project. The project was a 2 years program funded by Melinda gates foundation. The project had 4 months attachment from Harvard university but was mainly held at the University of Bergen in Norway. And he successfully completed his masters in Global Health at the University of Bergen.

Hailu Dhufera, a Dr.PH candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was also awarded the 2022 Tessa Jowell Fellowship by Harvard Chan School Dean, Michelle Williams, and Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program Executive Director, Michael Sinclair.

This is just a brief introduction on Dr, Haiilu’s Journey. You can find more on his Career in public health on the detailed interview below and by utilizing the links in the contact information section.


Detailed interview on Dr Hailu’s Journey



Watch on Youtube


Contact information


For related videos on personal experiences of Ethiopian Medical doctors who took a chance and followed their studies abroad, Join Dr Kirubel Tesfaye on Youtube 

Connect with Dr. Hailu Dufera on LInked in on

Subscribe to Dr. Hailu Dufera’s Youtube channel



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