Mental Health Advisor

Application deadline closed.

Job Description

Médecins sans Frontières Suisse


Context & Mission

Médecins Sans Frontières is an independent, international medical and humanitarian organization that provides care to people in need, people affected by natural or man-made disasters, and victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and without regard to race, religion, creed or political affiliation (MSF Charter). The development of technical and/or strategic solutions adapted to complex medical challenges faced in the field, or to fulfill chosen medical ambitions, is under the responsibility of a Medical Department. Collaborative work between the two departments is considered a cornerstone for the organisation to improve the general quality of its projects and the level of care for patients.

The Medical Department’s role is key in the following key areas:

  • Being at the vanguard of evolving trends, new challenges and technologies in the field of medical practice and science and linked with external clinical, academic and research institutions.
  • Providing technical capacities to fulfil the medical ambitions of the 2020-2025 OCG Strategic Plan, in particular those in relation to the Operational Policy, innovation and research.
  • Addressing the field support needs in their response to medical and public health challenges, with the required flexibility and adaptation of priorities when facing emergencies or difficult conflict situations.
  • Creating a better integrated work between Operations and the Medical department through collaborative work platforms, focusing on precise medical operational challenges, selection of standards and improvement of practices.

The role of the Medical Department also includes, in relation with other involved Departments, a critical role on knowledge transmission to field medical staff through adapted trainings and fast access to key reference documents/tools, as well as recruitment strategies.

Through delegation from the Medical Leader and based on the roadmap established for the period, the Medical Advisor develops medico-operational solutions requiring specific medical skills and/or in-depth investment, answering to recognized needs set in the medical ambitions. In that perspective, he/she is proactively monitoring emerging scientific and medical issues that might shape OCG medical practices and ambitions.


The Medical Advisor is responsible and accountable for achievements of the objectives for their domain of expertise and to this aim:

  • Support to the medical responsible of cells (RMPs) with regards to complex technical issues linked to their domain, and with strategic and programmatic advice:
    • Answers questions and provides feedback on proposals, reports and relevant documents needing specific technical input (PoA e.g.)
    • Involvement in project definition regarding technical medical issues
    • Participation in assessments and surveys whenever the Medical Advisor technical input is needed
    • Development of proposals for medico-operational strategies on critical challenges
    • Follows up on data and reports on their thematic activities provided by the field and the cell
    • Technical field visits
  • Respond to complex and technical issues requiring expertise or/and development:
    • Support the field by answering direct clinical questions, if identified as the best medical expert in the provided list of technical expertise.
    • Promote the use of Telemedicine in their medical domain.
    • Adapt or develop solutions (e.g. protocols, simplified algorithms, syndrome approach, training modules, minimum standards, innovative tools, guidelines checklists and kits as appropriate) that are timely, relevant, contextual, concerted, consolidated and consistent.
    • Translate medical operational requests in projects: provide analysis and advice to improve the requirements, term of references, objectives, deliverables, planning, implementation phases, contributors (HQ, regional, partnerships), definition, project committee and risks definition.
    • Lead or animate thematic forums/collaborative platforms and medical seminars, and contribute to transversal projects and fundraising initiatives.
    • Whenever developing tools field-proof them to be more consistent to OCG field reality
    • Write medical report on all achievements for their projects and domain of expertise
  • Strengthen the skills and competencies of MSF staff through capacity building in their domain:
    • On-line access for the field to all fundamental documents (knowledge management)
    • Contribution to definition, design, validation, implementation and/or evaluation of specific training(s) in collaboration with the Learning&Development Unit.
    • Support to the definition of job profiles and competencies
    • Briefing and debriefing if appropriate
  • Develop the expertise related to their medical area and integrate external knowledge into MSF practices:
    • Develop good synergies and collaborations through the coordination and animation of partnerships, the maintenance of networks, internal (Working Groups, etc.) or external to MSF; including experts, medical societies, research and scientific institutes and universities.
    • Identify new cutting-edge topics in the medical humanitarian context to update OCG’s health and medical ambitions.
    • Overview and analyze their own domain through capitalization of the medical experiences;
    • Selection, compilation and classification of relevant documentation as part of the OCG Knowledge Management.
    • Ensure technical surveillance and adapt external knowledge to MSF contexts.
    • Enable and contribute to high level advocacy in order to enhance the chosen agendas e.g. Access Campaign
  • Support the implementation of innovation and operational research projects
    • Properly identify MSF added-value compared with existing resources and expertise in their medical domain, to initiate development and research projects
    • Participate to the project’s objectives and protocols. Define, analyze, capitalize, document, develop the internal appropriation, publish and disseminate OCG medical experience
    • Promote medical policies and the different strategies related to it:
    • Exchange, provide and receive technical support and advice to and by the different departments or field experts to complement their area of domain.
    • Participate in design, writing, review of publications submitted by field teams

Specificity of the MH Advisor position:

  • Contributes to the maintenance and further development of MSF-CH in the field of mental health care integrated into medical activities according to the Operational Plan and the Department’s policy:
    • As a member of the Department, contributes to its reflections and constant information, and leads operational research.
    • In collaboration with the desk and the medical referent by topic, works on the definition and design of MH interventions, ensures their supervision (monitoring, evaluation, field visits) and reflects on their reorientation.
    • Defines monitoring tools as well as follow-up of MH support activities in accordance with the context.
    • Implements outcome measures and evaluates MH projects.
    • Carries out regular technical/orientation field visits according to local political context.
    • Participates in the Heads of Mission and Medical Coordinators’ Week and other weeks, if required.
    • Briefs the medical staff leaving for the field and debriefs those returning from the field.
    • Works closely with the psychiatric advisor regarding integration of psychiatric care into OCG projects.
    • Answers questions from the field.
  • Conducts partnerships:
    • By participating actively in intersectional working groups (Mental Health Working Group, others as needed).
    • Participates as a trainer in the Intersectional MH Course and other training initiatives.
    • By organizing meetings/debates within and external to the section.
  • Drafts technical documents
    • Develops/updates evaluation tools and monitoring tools for MH activities.
    • Regularly updates protocols and technical documentation, in particular on Kompass and for the operational library.
    • Drafts articles for the general public, at the request of the Communication Department.
    • Drafts scientific articles linked to field results.
  • Human resources capacity building
    • Ensures the briefing/debriefing of the medical staff going to/coming back from the field.
    • Participates actively in the Heads of Mission and Medical Coordinators’ annual meeting.
    • Participates in the medical/operational training organized by the Training Unit.
    • Works with the HR Department on the development and maintenance of the pool of psychologists/psychiatrists.
    • Supports projects/missions on recruiting/onboarding locally hired staff (LHS) in the cases of MHAM and MH Supervisor positions.
    • Works with the training unit for MH trainings
    • Technically oversees/supports the work of the MH Flyings (MESO and Dakar Medical Platform).
  • Communication:
    • Validates the technical content of medical information submitted by the Communication Department.
    • Participates in the design, writing and review of medical articles submitted by field teams.
    • Participates un communications products or events as relevant.
  • Development of the Department
    • Participates in the development of the Chronic Conditions Team and Department’s roadmaps and plan of action.
    • Participates in the identification of innovative medical challenges for MSF.

Your Profile


  • Medical or Paramedical degree is mandatory (psychiatry or psychology).
  • Specialization/experience in the related medical area.
  • Public/International/Epidemiologic/Tropical Medicine/MHPSS health degree is an asset.


  • Field and/or HQ experience with MSF or medical organization.
  • Knowledge of recent developments in the field of humanitarian relief, international public health and MHPSS.
  • Experience with field research in resource poor settings is an asset.
  • Proven affinity with advocacy.

Skills/ Technical competencies

  • Medical project management
  • Understanding of medical humanitarian work with regards to the medical-technical and the political dimensions.
  • Ability to analyze medical and structural issues.
  • Excellent writing skills.


  • Fluent in English (oral and written);
  • Very good working knowledge of French
  • Other languages are a plus (e.g., Spanish, Arabic)

Personal Abilities

  • Good analytical and synthesis skills
  • Results, innovation and quality oriented
  • Problem solving and service oriented
  • Strong interpersonal skills, team spirit, networking and communication skills
  • Able to travel 3-4 times per year for project visits

Terms of Employment

  • Full-time position 100% (40h/week)
  • Open-ended contract
  • Working place: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Ideal start date: May 2nd, 2023
  • Gross annual salary (for 100%): from CHF 101’172.- to CHF 115’332.- (salary commensurate with equivalent experience and internal salary grid)
  • Paid vacation: 25 days per year, prorate temporis, plus any Swiss public holidays falling within the contract period.
  • Pension plan: pension contribution covered 3/4 by MSF, 1/4 by staff member
  • Relocation package if moving from a different country to Switzerland.

How to apply

Candidates submit their application following the requirements:  CV 2 p. max. – letter of motivation 1p. max. – in French or English.

Deadline for application is March 3rd, 2024.

We reserve the right to close the position early if we consider the number and quality of applications received to be sufficient.


The applications will be treated confidentially.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Only applications submitted on our recruitment platforms will be considered.

Please note that we do not wish to use the services of recruitment or placement agencies.

At MSF, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our staff members. We strive to create workplaces where teams of people with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, perspectives, ideas and experiences work together for the social mission of MSF to create better outcomes for our patients and the communities we work with.

We welcome applications from individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities, background, religions, beliefs, ability status, and all other diversity characteristics.

MSF does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo reference checks.