Position Description

Technical Officer, Strategic Data Analysis
Location United States
# of openings 1
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Vital Strategies, headquartered in New York City, is an international public health organization. Our programs strengthen public health systems and address the world’s leading causes of illness, injury and death. We currently work in 73 countries, supporting data-driven decision making in government, advancing evidence-based public health policies and mounting strategic communication campaigns. Vital Strategies’ priorities are driven by the greatest potential to improve and save lives. They include non-communicable disease prevention, cardiovascular health promotion, tobacco control, road safety, obesity prevention, epidemic prevention, environmental health, vital statistics systems building and Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment research. Our programs are concentrated in low- and middle-income countries and cities in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. Please visit our website at www.vitalstrategies.org to find out more about our work.

Vital Strategies is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Technical Officer – Strategic Data Analysis seconded to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), located in Lansing, MI.


This position is funded through September 30, 2021 with possibility of extension if the Overdose Prevention Program grant is renewed.


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) plays a critical leadership role in the state’s response to the drug overdose epidemic, including through public health data management and analysis.


This position will work as a Vital Strategies employee, on secondment to MDHHS, to help ensure that the state’s response to the opioid epidemic maximizes the use of data to 1) inform strategic priorities, 2) develop, track and evaluate performance metrics to measure progress, and 3) inform and target specific response projects to be as effective as possible. The position will develop a deep understanding of the projects and workstreams in the state’s opioid crisis response and available sources of data on opioid use, overdose, treatment access and utilization, and recovery. Michigan’s opioid strategy focuses on harm reduction, medication-assisted treatment access, acute overdose response, overdose surveillance, and racial disparities in overdose, among other areas. The position will help develop performance metrics to track strategy implementation progress and to evaluate the impact of strategies on the goal reducing overdoses. The staff member should have exceptional ability to identify how public health data can be analyzed to provide actionable information to inform on-the-ground response work. The staff member should be creative and flexible, including ability to synthesize insights from multiple data sources, including public health surveillance data, administrative data, and other external sources of data.


Specific Duties

The Secondee shall conduct work as if the Secondee were a full-time employee of the MDHHS and shall have the following duties:

  • Prepare outcome metrics and regular data dashboard to track progress toward goals in drug overdose prevention and harm reduction strategy. Use multiple sources of data, including both departmental data sources and external data sources, to identify and predict barriers to success and areas where improvement is needed.
  • Ensure analytical rigor of data analyses and interpretation and work closely with MDHHS partners to align analytic methods with best practices.  Depending on Secondee professional background, work with epidemiologists and other analytical staff to conduct basic data analyses with close guidance from epidemiology team.
  • Use data to understand how overdose prevention strategies affect racial disparities in overdose, substance use, and access barriers for prevention and harm reduction resources; support MDHHS in using data to identify strategies to advance health equity.
  • Create actionable intelligence to guide targeted overdose prevention and response efforts.
  • Support development of analytic products, such as reports or a data dashboard, to communicate MDHHS efforts and successes (e.g. SSP expansion).
  • Identify and coordinate opportunities to improve data dissemination to local health departments (i.e. using existing MDHHS assessment) and other stakeholders, including to provide greater data insights for local overdose prevention and response efforts.
  • Support MDHHS to meet the needs of the Michigan Opioids Task Force.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required and preferred qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in public health, epidemiology, public policy, or other health-related field is required.  Bachelor’s degree with four years relevant experience will be considered.
  • Minimum of three (3) years’ experience working in Public Health or Health Policy is required. Additional experience is preferred and will be considered as a strength in the evaluation of a candidate.
  • Experience with applied data analysis highly desired. This could entail experience conducting data analysis or synthesizing existing research to inform operational or strategic decision-making.
  • Moderate technical skills preferred, including proficiency in Excel and data visualization platforms like Power BI. Experience with statistical software, such as SAS or R, desired but not required.
  • Candidate should have high degree of comfort interpreting data analysis and research findings, integrating and synthesizing information from across data sources, and understanding the strengths, shortcomings, and applications of various data sources.
  • Familiarity with performance management desirable, including developing outcome metrics, tracking and interpreting trends, and presenting ongoing performance metrics in digestible and compelling manner. Ability to present complex information in an easy-to-understand manner is key.
  • Understanding of substance use, drug overdose, and best practices in reducing overdose deaths, including non-judgmental harm reduction approaches, highly preferred.
  • Exceptional ability to work across teams. Staff member will need to build close relationship and meaningful day-to-day integration with teams from various areas of the department, including policy and planning, epidemiology, and behavioral health. Demonstrated ability to work with individuals from diverse professional backgrounds, and with varying levels of comfort with data.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with demonstrated ability to maintain partnerships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Familiarity with translating data to actionable intelligence for decision-making audiences.
  • In addition to requisite experience in Public Health, candidates with experience in behavioral health/substance use treatment systems of care will be given special consideration.
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