Alumni Spotlight: Pablo Villalobos, DrPH ’18

Pablo Villalobos, DrPH ’18

With 85 graduates since its inception in 2014, the DrPH Program has developed an illustrious, talented group of public health professionals who have taken their DrPH degree and have become public health leaders.

We recently reached out to Pablo Villalobos, DrPH ’18, to find out where his public health career has taken him and the current work he is doing!

  • Where are you currently located?

Pablo: After graduation, I moved back to Chile. I’m currently living in Santiago but, thanks to teleworking, collaborating with people in different places. 

  • Where are you currently working and a brief description of your job?

Pablo: Currently, I’m doing a lot of things. First, I work at the Chilean Ministry of Health in Chile as an advisor, mostly helping teams at the ministry in their strategic and health planning. In this role, one of the relevant products in these years has been the elaboration of national health strategies plans (cancer, older people, mental health, rehabilitation) in which the ministry defines goals, indicators, activities, and budget for the next 10 years. This effort was aligned with the elaboration of the National Health Strategy 2021-2030 in Chile.

Second, I work at the Universidad de Santiago as researcher and, recently, supporting its recently launched Master in Public Health program. Finally, I work as an independent consultant with several organizations, including the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, and the Inter American Development Bank, mostly based on the topic I developed in my DELTA (now known as the Doctoral Project): long-term care.

  • The 4 pillars of the DrPH Program are leadership, management, communication, and innovative thinking. Which of the pillars (if any) do you use most in your new position and how did the program prepare you for it?

Pablo: I think all pillars are relevant for the day-to-day tasks I face. Leadership is much needed to keep meeting goals and improving processes, particularly when working with multidisciplinary teams. Management is always useful when working with other people, particularly when involved in multiple projects. Communication is crucial for presenting ideas and moving research into action. And innovative-thinking helps in solving unexpected and planned issues. It is hard to pick just one, particularly since they tend to complement each other.

  • If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change?

Pablo: It’s hard to say. So far, the experience post-graduation has been positive, in terms of the possibilities and tools given by the DrPH Program. I’m pretty satisfied with the path chosen so far and I think the program has allowed me to make my career decisions in the past three years. One of the most salient features of this path is the possibility of doing different things: working in public policy, academia, and being able to carry out personal projects (including more time to spend with my family). Today, I have the chance to work on the topic I developed during my DELTA (aging and long-term care) but I’ve been taking advantage of the broad scope of public health, working and learning about mental health, adolescent health, leadership, qualitative research, among others. That’s the perfect fit for me.

  • If you are in a management position, what would you look for if you were hiring new graduates from the DrPH Program? 

Pablo: In my actual position, I think the most important feature when looking for potential collaborators would be the ability to work with professionals from different disciplines. Everyday, I face different challenges that are impossible for one person to solve, and we need (increasingly often) consult with other colleagues outside the health sector on public health-related matters. In line with that creativity for solving unexpected problems is a must. I think both skills are key to any professional working in a dynamic field as public health.

  • Is there any work/document/article that you are currently working on that you’d like to promote? Our current students would love to find out what our alumni are currently working on. 

Pablo: I’ve been doing my research on aging and long-term care for the past years but recently, also writing a lot about COVID-19 in Chile and the regions of the Americas. A list of my publications can be found here:

During 2021, I edited a book on the challenges of long-term care in different countries ( I’m also part of a group researching the impact of COVID-19 on women, children and adolescents in Latin America (ISLAC project) (information available at:

As part of my work promoting research and public policies on long-term care, I participate in the WHO’s Global Network on Long-Term Care (, the Millenium Institute for Caregiving Research (, and the Institute of Disability, Inclusion, and Care (  

If you would like to connect with Pablo Villalobos, please visit his LinkedIn profile here.