The Public Health Institute (PHI) is seeking to recruit a Research Program Director to serve as Executive Director and Principal Investigator to lead a new Center that brings together several existing PHI programs working to advance research, policy, and community engagement strategies in the area of in the areas of environmental health, climate change, public health surveillance and tracking, and readiness and response.
The ideal candidate shall bring a vision to positively impact public health, with an emphasis on environmental health data and with a collaborative approach to project development that emphasizes strong, respectful partnership with impacted communities. They should have expertise in environmental health data and research, experience working directly with communities and the ability to bring new community, non-governmental and governmental partnerships to the program and build on existing collaborations. The candidate will ideally have expertise and interest in more than one of the current program strategic priorities including Healthy Air, Water, and Homes; Community Empowerment; Climate Change and and Resilience; and Health Equity and Environmental Justice.
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated connections with community groups and other collaborators, including academic, nongovernmental and government partners and funders. They should have a collaborative management style, with a commitment to mentorship, staff growth, and principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This is a long-term full-time position with initial funding for one year, and the expectation that the candidate will collaborate with the Center staff and PHI to secure ongoing future funding for this position and for the program as a whole. Position would be flexible with regards to accommodating other part-time commitments such as academic appointments.
The Research Program Director III (RPD III) will serve as the Executive Director and Principal Investigator responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction, executive leadership, and management for PHI programs including Tracking California, a long-established PHI program with multiple existing projects focused on environmental health data surveillance, community-engaged research, and translating data-to-action, and the Achieving Resilient Communities project that works to support proactive, localized efforts to build resilience in the communities most impacted by wildfires, heat, drought, harmful algal blooms, and flooding.
The RPD III provides overall leadership and scientific oversight of a longstanding and interdisciplinary team—with expertise in environmental health surveillance, health communications, policy, and community engaged research—to plan and implement activities related to the mission of the Center and PHI. Responsibilities include establishing program strategies; supervising senior program staff; developing and maintaining partnerships with state and federal agencies, foundations, and other donors; and highlighting relevant initiatives and policy priorities through media appearances, national conferences, and presentations.
The RPD III works to enhance and strengthen PHI’s portfolio of U.S. domestic and global programs in the areas of environmental health, climate change, public health surveillance and tracking, and works to promote program sustainability through resource development and multi-year grant proposals. The RPD III will promote synergistic planning, program expansion, and new business and funding opportunities at a state, national and global level and will actively work to facilitate coordination with other PHI PI/PDs and program colleagues to promote integration of new initiatives and projects with other parts of the PHI organization whenever possible.
The RPD III is also responsible for building partnerships that may focus on cross-disciplinary collaborations, translational research, fundraising, and/or specific environmental health topic(s). Additionally, the RPD III works to ensure that health and environmental data necessary for this program and all its projects is secured on an ongoing basis. This includes collaborating with the Program Director of the Rare Diseases Surveillance Program (a subprogram of Tracking California) to obtain Medicaid and Genetic Screening data.
The RPD III is credentialed as a Principal Investigator at PHI. This position reports to PHI’s Chief Programs, Policy, and Government Relations Officer.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following:
Responsible for overall management of the PHI Center, leading a diverse staff team of research scientists, health educators and other project, policy, and administrative staff.
Serve as Principal Investigator of several current PHI projects including the National Environmental Public Health Tracking (NEPHT) cooperative agreement with the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ensure project, the Achieving Resilient Communities (ARC) Project, and the Climate Health Adaptation and Resilience Mobilizing (CHARM) Lake County project. In each project, support the staff team in implementing the grant’s scope of work and ensuring all contract deliverables are met..
Collaborate and coordinate with other PHI programs in business development, research collaboration, and mentorship of staff.
Provide vision and strategic counsel for work within PHI on priority public health and environmental health issues such as air pollution, pesticides, water contamination, and climate change health impacts and collaborate with other PHI programs to expand PHI’s work in these areas.
Manage and implement a comprehensive strategy to identify and secure additional funding sources, writing research proposals and developing grant applications that will ensure a strong and robust research portfolio.
Conceptualize, propose, conduct, and coordinate epidemiologic research projects that support Tracking California objectives to move data to action.
Oversee and support the implementation of research and interventions that value and support deep and authentic engagement of community and engage with local community partners to provide information and understand their concerns.
As appropriate, manage IRB submissions, ensure protection of human subjects, and oversee data collection and analysis.
Provide scientific mentorship to research scientists, research associates, interns, and support staff, ensuring adequate training is available, encouraging development of research proposals, and dissemination of results and presentations for professional meetings.
Lead development of manuscripts for publication; participate in the national and statewide dialogue on environmental health as appropriate. Support staff in publishing their work.
Disseminate results of data analyses, including authoring professional manuscripts, presenting at professional conferences, and working with PHI Communications to disseminate findings to the media and the public.
Promote data utilization and consult with internal and external researchers, government representatives, and community groups who wish to use Tracking California data for research, surveillance and/or advocacy.
Serve as a media spokesperson on behalf of PHI on topic areas included but not limited to environmental health and the public health implications for the climate crisis.
Establish and maintain relationships with a wide variety of key stakeholders and organizations including CDC, U.S. EPA, California state agencies such as Cal/EPA, other U.S. state partners, and other groups to chart the future of environmental health surveillance and research.
Serve on relevant state and national committees.
Supervise, lead, and mentor (shared) program staff; recruit, train, and manage new staff and ensure that employee annual performance reviews are completed on time in accordance with PHI procedures.
Provide support and mentorship to other program staff to develop into a PI role on projects, and lead recruitment of other researchers to collaborate as Principal Investigators. Work to promote racial diversity in program leadership.
Assure and hold Center staff accountable for ethical, legal, and scientific integrity in all program activities, including knowledge of and adherence to all federal and state laws.
Oversight of program budget, in consultation and collaboration with program staff and the PHI G&C specialist and monitor and meet all post-award reporting requirements.
Perform other duties as assigned.
* Draft position description subject to final grading and posting by PHI human resources.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
Experienced public health or environmental health professional with at least 10 years of relevant research experience including 7 years of experience managing surveillance, data collection, and complex research studies.
Demonstrated leadership skills in vision setting, innovation, and program building.
Effective communication skills in dealing with clients, partners, and other public health professionals with ability to build personal relationships with staff, donor partners, government leaders, and nongovernmental, academic, and community partners at all levels, and to approach any communications and engagement with humility and respect.
Experience in the successful creative business development including preparation of concept and proposal development with proven track record successfully securing research funding and demonstrated knowledge of local, state, federal and private sector grant making.
Experience in managing programs, staff, and cross-functional team efforts with ability to lead a diverse, committed, and professional (mostly remote) staff team.
Strong initiative and self-motivation, with a commitment to teamwork and effectiveness within participatory management environment that supports excellence, collaboration, and a healthy work-life balance.
Experience and ability to serve as the responsible authority for research grants including federal and state research grants.
Experience with environmental health surveillance and knowledge and experience in environmental epidemiology, including study design, research methods, and data analysis.
Experience in writing and submitting human subject protocols.
Proven track record in successful publication of peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Demonstrated ability to build partnerships and attract research talent.
Knowledge and experience in at least one environmental epidemiology sub-specialty, such as air pollution or drinking water epidemiology is desirable.
Knowledge of informatics, health information exchange, meaningful use, and technological developments in the health care and public health arenas is desirable.
Demonstrated experience in deep and authentic engagement of community, including through community-based participatory research (CBPR). This may include investing time and creating space for reflective thought, establishing trust, and problem solving within community stakeholders, and convening community partners to allow for evaluation, iteration, and refinement of community engagement activities and equity planning.
Demonstrated experience and commitment to equity-centered environmental health analyses and research methods.
Strong commitment to stated program values with deep understanding of core social and economic constructs and how they impact health, including health, gender, and racial equity, economic justice, environmental justice and climate change, social determinants of health, and the root causes of institutional and structural racism.
Demonstrated commitment to centering Black voices and voices of indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) within public health or environmental health research, and ability to include lived experience and perspectives in dismantling Anti-Blackness and other forms of racism in public health research and translation of research.
High degree of flexibility and adaptability with ability to solve complex problems.
Ability to vision and collaborate on securing the future of California’s environmental health tracking system and knowledge of U.S. and international public health environment.
Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written as well as negotiation and administrative abilities.
For more than 55 years, the Public Health Institute (PHI) has accelerated the impact of public health. PHI and its programs improve health, equity and wellness by discovering new research, strengthening key partnerships and programs, and advancing sound public health policies. Our hundreds of programs have impacted millions of people, creating an architecture that will continue to impact communities for generations to come.
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