Public Health Epidemiologist, US COVID-19 Response Initiative NC
Vital Strategies is a US-based international public health organization working in more than 70 countries to address important and challenging health issues. We develop and oversee programs to strengthen public health systems and address leading causes of morbidity and mortality, providing expertise in project implementation and management, strategic communications, epidemiology and surveillance, and other core public health capacities.
Resolve to Save Lives is a global health initiative of Vital Strategies that since 2017 has been working closely with governments, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, academic and other partners in a number of low- and middle-income countries to improve cardiovascular health and strengthen national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats. For more information about our Prevent Epidemics initiative, visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org/ and https://preventepidemics.org/ .
Vital Strategies / Resolve to Save Lives has formed a COVID-19 Incident Management System to control and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries and the United States. Our work in the US is focused on strengthening the technical, policy and operational capacity of city and county health departments to effectively control COVID with an emphasis on vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We are working with a small number of model jurisdictions to demonstrate impact, innovation and to document and disseminate best practices.
Vital Strategies aims to recruit the candidate who is best suited to work within our US COVID response team and welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds – men and women, people of all ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions and beliefs. We particularly encourage applications from Black and Latinx candidates, given COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on these communities.
Overall Role: The public health Epidemiologist will be a member of the Vital Strategies / Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response Team and will be embedded in Forsyth County Department of Public Health (Winston -Salem area) to support the department’s COVID response efforts. The focus of the position will be on strengthening the effectiveness and impact of COVID-19 prevention and control activities. Though primarily operating as an embedded team member of the local health jurisdiction, the consultant will maintain a close partnership with and receive technical guidance from Vital Strategies/Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response cross-functional team of epidemiologists, evaluators, and program consultants for knowledge sharing and to ensure consistency of methods and recommendations. This is a full-time employment contract for a period 12 months with the employee working remotely until on-site work is possible. Once it is possible to work on-site, the Communications Specialist will be expected to be based at or spend considerable time at the appointed jurisdiction. A very strong preference will be given to applicants residing in or near to Forsyth County, North Carolina.
In close collaboration with local health department staff and the US COVID-19 Response Team Senior Advisor for Epidemiology, provide technical and strategic epidemiologic support within the health department to do the following:
• Assist with collecting, analyzing, and interpreting epidemiological data and applying it for decision making and guiding the jurisdiction’s COVID response
• Assist with developing and maintaining an alert-level system for use at the local level
• Assist with developing local epidemiologic profiles, combining quantitative and qualitative data from multiple sources to provide a detailed description of the epidemic in the jurisdiction
• Assist with identifying vulnerable populations, communities, and groups in the jurisdiction that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (e.g., using the COVID Community Vulnerability Index)
• Conduct small, quick epidemiological studies and analyses to answer specific questions important to jurisdiction program planning
• Assist with cluster and outbreak investigations, including facility-based outbreaks
• Assist with developing epidemiological reports for a variety of stakeholders and developing and maintaining dashboards to communicate the status of, and trends in, the local epidemic (e.g., weekly or monthly reports, providing measures and metrics for jurisdiction dashboards)
• Brief the US COVID Response team at least once a week about lessons learned from assisting the jurisdiction regarding the scope of work with an emphasis on, but not limited to:
o Alert-level system
o Case investigation
o Contact tracing
o Isolation and quarantine
• Collaborate with other US COVID-19 Response team epidemiologists, evaluators, and program consultants to ensure consistency of methods and recommendations
o Collaborate with RTSL Epidemic Intelligence Unit and US COVID-19 Response Initiative staff to facilitate adoption, adaptation, implementation, and evaluation of new methods, tools, guidance, and best practices for COVID control – such as COVID-19 indicators, dashboards, and alert-level systems – at the local level
• Other duties, as assigned
Required competencies and qualifications:
• Post-graduate degree in epidemiology and/or public health
• 7+ years’ experience working on public health projects with strong data analysis or evaluation components
• Experience with disease prevention and control programming efforts and/or emergency preparedness and response
• Experience working with public health departments in the US
• Experience using epidemiologic data for program planning and implementation
• Knowledge of core public health program principles such as contact tracing, surveillance, infection prevention, risk communication, operational response planning o Experience managing, participating in, or analyzing the results of contact tracing initiatives is strongly preferred.
• Exceptional planning and project management skills
• Capacity building skills and experience, with the ability to work with outside partners/stakeholders
• Ability to work independently and be self-directed, detail-oriented and with a positive attitude
• Excellent interpersonal communication skills, both written and verbal
• Proficient user of Microsoft Office suite (MS Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and other productivity tools (e.g. Slack, Monday.com, cloud-based storage)