Skip to main content

Job Posting: Executive Director, Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC)

Resource type: News

Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) is an Atlantic grantee through the Population Health programme. 

Position Description

Search for the 
Executive Director 
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) 
Oakland, CA

Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (“MEDICC”), a highly regarded non-profit organization working to enhance cooperation among the US, Cuban and global health communities, seeks a dynamic, visionary and globally focused Executive Director to lead the organization’s initiatives and be the chief architect for its current growth strategy.

Worldwide 1.3 billion people live without basic health care; that number continues to grow. MEDICC highlights Cuba’s powerful example – a poor country able to support an excellent healthcare system for all its citizens – to US and global audiences as a guide for achieving more equitable healthcare delivery. Conversely, Cuban medical practices can be strengthened by other nations’ experience in medicine and medical research and education. MEDICC strives to encourage, facilitate and take an active role in the information exchange, talent sharing, and the garnering of communication amongst the various parties involved. In so doing, MEDICC hopes to contribute to improving global health and achieving the birthright of health for all worldwide.

Since 1997, MEDICC has provided a unique health bridge between the United States and Cuba, striving to improve health outcomes and equity on the global platform. MEDICC achieves this by illustrating the Cuban experience to US and worldwide audiences in order to inform global debate, policies, and practices for health care and public health. Through its early programs bringing senior medical students from the US for electives with Cuban family doctors, to its acclaimed documentary !Salud!, publication of the Medline-indexed journal MEDICC Review which is read in 90 countries, and facilitation of regular visits to Cuba by high-level US population health experts, clinicians and policymakers, MEDICC has generated an unrivalled record of dialogue and exchange of ideas with Cuban health professionals and decision makers. More recently, MEDICC has worked with leaders in US medically underserved communities, enabling them to assess and apply insights from Cuba’s community-based primary health care approach.

The ideal candidate will have a clear understanding of and commitment to community-engaged health equity in the US and globally. S/he will have an appreciation for the political and global environment surrounding the nation of Cuba with some particular clarity on US-Cuban relations. Candidates with a track record of fundraising success, on an organizational and one-one-one level, are highly preferred. An understanding of the US governmental agencies and challenges vis-à-vis student, information, and equipment exchange with Cuban is a plus. A background in non-profit management, experience working with a Board of Trustees and leading a highly motivated staff will support success at MEDICC.

Vital to MEDICC’s ability to continue to achieve its far reaching impact, the incoming Executive Director must have a proven track record of successfully taking an organization to its next level of sustained philanthropic support. In partnership with the Board, s/he will be expected to devise and implement a comprehensive fundraising strategy that ensures all existing programs are adequately funded and actively identify ways to expand MEDICC’s reach by generating new sources of revenue from foundations, individuals, partnerships, and by maximizing funding opportunities through collaboration with other organizations, if possible. S/he must be willing to travel to Cuba as needed. Spanish language capability and familiarity with Latin America will be desired assets.


Founded in 1997, Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) is a non-profit organization working to enhance cooperation among US, Cuban and global health communities aimed at better health outcomes and equity. MEDICC is committed to the belief that health care – especially for underserved populations – can be informed by Cuba’s singular universal health system and its evolving health policies, practice, research and education. Moreover, the US and other nations’ experience in medicine and medical research can inform practices in Cuba and the developing world. Above all, MEDICC believes that such cooperation is urgently needed to radically improve global health and achieve the birthright of health for all worldwide.

MEDICC has consistently served as a multiplier, brokering unprecedented relationships and partnerships, triggering impact well beyond its nine-person full-time staff. As a result, MEDICC is the only US organization in the field that has earned both the respect and confidence of Cuban health professionals and authorities.


Since its inception, MEDICC has created several programs to facilitate information exchange with the Cuban medical system. Today, six distinct programs endure as the most successful endeavors in executing the organization’s mission:

Visit Cuba with MEDICC: MEDICC creates custom-tailored visits to Cuba for health and health equity organizations, professional associations, and groups whose work in the US will benefit from a mutual educational exchange in Cuba. The travel is fully authorized by the US Treasury Department, involves face-to-face meetings with Cuban health professionals accompanied by specialized medical translators and is supported, in-person, by a MEDICC representative throughout the trip.

Community Partnerships for Health Equity: Cuba has continually emphasized prevention, health promotion and integration of clinical medicine with public health initiatives. MEDICC has facilitated such community based programs in South Los Angeles and Oakland, California and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Participants of this program explore Cuba together and their experience and research informs innovation and action back home to help make health promotion and quality care a right in their own communities.

Medical Literature for Cuban Professionals: Access to current medical literature is vital to the work of Cuba’s health professionals, but it is hindered by scarce financial resources, the US embargo, and the narrow bandwidth of the island’s Internet connection. In response, MEDICC established its Medical Literature Program in 2004 to provide resources for the National Medical Library in Havana, provincial medical schools, specialized institutes, and for the health system as a whole. To date, over 10,000 textbooks and online medical journals have reached some 180,000 Cuban health workers and students.

Latin American Medical School (ELAM): Cuba’s ELAM provides scholarships to over 10,000 low-income students from Africa, Asia and the Americas (including the USA) who make a commitment to work in underserved communities at home. MEDICC supports ELAM with thousands of textbooks, access to online journals, and initiatives for students from Haiti, the indigenous Garifuna regions of Honduras, and South Africa. In Haiti, MEDICC works with Global Links and the Pan American Health Organization to provide vital materials for Haitian and other ELAM graduates who are working to build a sustainable public health system.

Support for US Students and Graduates of ELAM: ELAM has enrolled nearly 200 US students on full scholarships. Coming from low-income families, these diverse, smart, and committed young people pledge to return home to practice in underserved communities. MEDICC offers fellowships for US Board Exams and preparation, identifies mentors to guide students into residency, offers summer opportunities in public hospitals and community clinics in the US, provides outreach to primary care residency programs and publishes a quarterly newsletter with resources and relevant policy updates for students and graduates.

Equitable Health Care in Haiti: MEDICC has partnered with Global Links and the Pan American Health Organization to send vital supplies to public hospitals and health centers where Haitian and other graduates of the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) are working to bring sustainable health care to all in Haiti.

In addition to these programs, MEDICC publishes the MEDICC Review which is the only English language journal on Cuban health and medicine and has evolved into a quarterly peer-reviewed journal with a 50-member editorial board from 17 countries, averaging 20,000 online monthly article-reads by readers in 90+ countries. With support from Atlantic Philanthropy, MEDICC also produced the award-winning documentary ¡Salud!, a film which has been adopted in university curricula from South Africa’s University of the Western Cape to Harvard Medical School.


The incoming Executive Director will serve as the chief architect of MEDICC’s next stage of growth and impact. In addition to overall responsibility for the strategic, programmatic, financial, and physical operations of the organization, the next Executive Director will advance MEDICC’s mission by raising its profile at local, state, and national levels, and will identify and establish strategic partnerships, as appropriate. In addition, the incoming Executive Director will effectively manage the budget, increase revenue streams, and retain, attract, and lead a talented and specialized staff.

The challenges and responsibilities in which the Executive Director of MEDICC will engage in the first 12-16 months of his/her tenure include:

Strategic Planning and Leadership

The Executive Director will articulate and implement a strategic vision and concrete plan for the future of MEDICC, while being nimble in responding to the changing landscape on the issues that impact health outcomes and equity. The new Executive Director will maintain a deep commitment to and appreciation for the powerful impact of sound programs, partnerships, and collaborations that inform the field and extend MEDICC’s reach and impact.

In concert with the Board and staff, the Executive Director will chart MEDICC’s exciting course forward in order to fulfill its ambitious vision, which is currently laid out in a new strategic plan. As the primary liaison with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will work with the Board to build on and execute a strategic and operational vision of MEDICC that is aligned with its mission and core values, and articulate a plan for building the organization’s long-term capacity. Specifically, s/he will promote board engagement in critical thinking, strategic planning, resource/financial development, and overall organizational wellness.

Operations and Finance

The Executive Director will work actively with the Board, Director of Finance, and senior staff to ensure that critical resources are in place to support MEDICC’s vision and strategy, and to continue to generate eminent publications, collaborations, solutions, and capacity building training and support.

The Executive Director will oversee a $1.4 million overall budget and will act in a fiscally astute, disciplined, and conservative manner to maintain the organization’s commitment to financial stability through sound fiscal leadership, while identifying additional ways to broaden revenue streams. S/he will understand and convey to staff the importance of efficient and seamless operations management in a mission-driven environment and will work with the Director of Finance and Board Finance Committee to create a long-range financial and development plan that ensures continued fiscal health and supports future programs, collaborations, outreach, and training/capacity-building projects. S/he will oversee all regulatory reporting, contractual obligations and donor restrictions, and will maintain appropriate internal policies and procedures to ensure such compliance.


The Executive Director will work to nurture existing relationships while cultivating new markets, alliances, and sources of revenue that will enhance MEDICC’s stability, strengthen programs and partnerships, and increase and diversify the overall funding base. S/he will make certain that existing programs are adequately funded, and will work to expand MEDICC’s reach by generating new sources of revenue from foundations, individuals, partnerships, and by maximizing funding opportunities through collaboration with other organizations, if possible.

Organizational Leadership

The Executive Director will utilize professional savvy, administrative expertise, and outstanding communication skills to identify areas for operational improvement. S/he will be a champion and guide to the staff, working to ensure each individual is adequately supported to perform at the highest level. S/he will lead all aspects of hiring, separation, ongoing training and professional development, and will foster a culture that embraces teamwork, seamless communication, accountability, integrity, and high levels of morale.

External Spokesperson

The Executive Director will be a powerful public presence, actively raising awareness and advocating on health outcomes and equity. S/he will be a thought leader, advancing the work of MEDICC and ensuring depth of expertise and knowledge in the field. As chief spokesperson, s/he will develop opportunities to expand MEDICC’s profile through broad and diverse engagement with professional associations, academic institutions, advocacy organizations, prospective partners, public officials, policymakers, the media, and the public-at-large. S/he will serve as a compelling spokesperson, promoting MEDICC’s mission, programs and services, and ensuring that MEDICC is consistently presented in a strong, positive image to key stakeholders and the general public.


The successful candidate will be an entrepreneurial, proactive, charismatic, and nimble leader who possesses both the vision to inspire and the skills to lead an organization into its next phase of growth. S/he will have senior-level management experience in the non-profit, advocacy or academic arenas, preferably related to health equity and development. Moreover, s/he must have a clear understanding of and commitment to community-engaged health equity in the US and globally, and ideally a health professions’ background.

S/he will utilize extraordinary communication skills and personal savvy to effectively lead and direct MEDICC’s activities while ensuring all initiatives are consistent with mission and organizational priorities. S/he will be highly organized and self-motivated with the ability to multi-task and meet multiple deadlines and will have a tenacious commitment to improving health outcomes and equity.

While no one person may embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • A deep understanding of and unwavering commitment to improving health outcomes and equity;
  • Sophisticated and seasoned leadership skills developed through a minimum of six to eight years of executive level experience in the non-profit, advocacy or academic arenas combined with solid strategic thinking and the ability to lead in a manner that embodies respect, teamwork, and collaboration from a diversified and dedicated staff;
  • A strategic and comprehensive approach to planning and decision making; the ability to back assertions with facts and data; the ability to manage time and plan effectively while balancing multiple tasks and demands simultaneously; a proven ability to analyze and understand programmatic strengths and weaknesses and to develop and initiate policy and procedure that can move the programs forward;
  • Ability to lead programs and organizations with balanced compassion and a practical, strategic business sense; demonstrated budget development experience and the proven ability to interpret, forecast, and manage financial statements;
  • Professional savvy and an ability to see the potential for partnerships and joint program development and connections with other organizations committed to health outcomes and equity;
  • A track record and passion for nonprofit fundraising and development with grant writing experience and a commitment to maintaining current funders, a passion for cultivating new donors, an ability to generate new revenue streams and a strong history of successfully taking organizations to the next level of sustained philanthropic support.
  • The ability to be a team builder who is participatory and inclusive in style when appropriate as well as a decision maker who is able to successfully implement strategic priorities; a willingness to roll up one’s sleeves to accomplish any task;
  • Exceptional oral, written, listening, and interpersonal communications skills. A desire and demonstrated ability to work with and be advised by others including community partners, organization leaders, state and local agencies, among others;
  • Enthusiasm, focus, drive, and a good sense of humor;
  • Advanced degree in Management, Education, Public Administration, Public Health, Social Work, Family Policy or a related field.
  • Spanish language capability and familiarity with Latin America will be desired assets


More information about Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba may be found at:

Due to the pace of this search, candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, but by no later than May 1st, 2013.

Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba is an equal opportunity employer.

>TO APPLY, visit Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group’s job posting 


Related Resources




MEDDIC, Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba