Rebecca Gaal

Storyteller- Planetary Health
Location: Ventura, California
Nationality: American
Biography: Rebecca (Becky) Gaal is a photographer and creative strategist devoted to examining healthcare, environmental concerns and the inter-relationship between the two. She works on long-term and in-depth projects where she is able to watch the... read on
Grant Announcements News
Job Opportunity: The Planetary Health Alliance is looking for a Freelance Case Study Writer
rebecca gaal
Feb 1, 2018

Freelance Case Study Writer Position Description

The Planetary Health Alliance

The Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) is a consortium of over 95 academic, nongovernmental, and governmental partners from 26 countries committed to advancing the growth of a planetary health community of practice. As a field, planetary health is a policy-focused, transdisciplinary approach of applied research and practice aimed at understanding the human health impacts of Earth"™s rapidly changing natural systems. A primary goal of the PHA is to foster global planetary health educational efforts to equip the next generation of planetary health scholars to address critical questions in this emerging field.

The Project

The PHA is developing case studies to strengthen and expand the field of planetary health by shining a light on cross-sectoral solutions that optimize human health in the face of global environmental change. The PHA is seeking a professional writer to create a cohesive anthology of strong case studies that represents a breadth of environmental drivers, health dimensions, geographies and populations at risk, and, above all, the value of using a planetary health lens in securing robust improvements in health.

The ideal candidate will possess excellent writing skills, have a strong appreciation for and demonstrated grasp of the power of storytelling, and have a well-worn passport.

Planetary Health Case Studies

Each planetary health case study will demonstrate how human disruptions of natural systems (e.g. climate change, biodiversity loss, freshwater scarcity, wildlife population collapses, etc.) can lead to increased burden of disease, and show how a better understanding of these connections can lead to interventions or policies with positive health outcomes. Case study content has been identified through a Call for Planetary Health Case Studies that was published in The Lancet, as well as collaboration with relevant UNFCCC Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activity Awardees and outreach to Planetary Health Alliance members to identify diverse examples of planetary health in action. The complex and timely case studies include topics such as:

Land Use, Dam Building and Schistosomiasis in West Africa

This case study will explore the impact of agricultural land use and dam building on burden of schistosomiasis in West Africa, as well as how an ecological intervention reintroducing prawns downstream of the dam can combat the disease and provide a form of sustainable development for the region.

Cardiopulmonary Disease and Haze in South East Asia

This case study will explore the relationship between slash-and-burn agriculture and episodes of haze in South East Asia, focusing on the impact of haze on cardiopulmonary disease burden and the economic and political structures that enable annual occurrences.  

Each completed case study will be approximately 5,000 words in length and will include multimedia such as photographs and video clips to bring the narrative to life. The PHA has created a framework to guide the writing of these case studies.


  • Create a cohesive anthology of 15 strong case studies for planetary health education, following the case study framework designed by the PHA and based on cases identified by the PHA team

  • Travel to the sites of each case study to be included in the anthology for interviews, multi-media capture, and proper contextualization of writing

  • Conduct research and interviews to strengthen and enrich the case study narratives by contacting experts in each domain


  • Minimum of 5 years of professional English writing experience in communications, journalism or related field

  • Demonstrated ability to build relationships, establish rapport and trust to engage individuals, with cultural and relational sensitivity

  • Ability to "˜think on your feet"™ and come up with creative and practical solutions to challenges

  • Track record of working independently and productively

  • An eye for detail, grammar and consistency

  • Highly creative, process-driven and self-motivated

  • Ability to think critically about writing "voice" to relate to a target audience

  • Experience conducting interviews and primary research

  • Ability to collaborate effectively with Brunel University and PHA team members, even while in remote settings through responsive use of email, text and phone

  • Previous experience working in remote and low income country settings

  • Familiarity with photography and other media arts is strongly preferred

  • Familiarity with languages beyond English is a plus though not a requirement


Self-set, flexible hours but with expectation that the writer will meet mutually agreed upon milestones and deadlines for the completion of the 15 case studies over the course of 12 months.


Position will function as independent consultant with a total payment of up to GBP£53,000 for the completion of the 15 case studies, distributed incrementally as case studies are completed within the 12-month timeframe. Associated travel (all domestic and international flights and other transport) and relevant lodging costs will be covered. International travel and evacuation insurance will be covered. A per diem while traveling will not be provided.

To be considered for this position, please send the following to

  • Resume

  • Cover letter

  • Name and contact information for 3 references who can speak to your writing and ability to work independently yet collaboratively

  • Three to five writing samples, including a creative piece that demonstrates a strong sense of narrative and a thoroughly researched article

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until March 15th and the successful applicant will begin at the soonest mutually agreed upon date.

Planetary Health Alliance
The Planetary Health Alliance is a consortium of over 70 dedicated universities, NGOs, government entities, research institutes, and other partners around the world committed to advancing planetary health.


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