Position Description

Program Director - Data-Driven Policy Initiative to Improve Women’s Health
Location Open
Department Other Programs PH
# of openings 1
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About the organization 

Vital Strategies, in partnership with other global public health organizations, oversees programs to strengthen health systems and address leading causes of morbidity and mortality.  Public health programs include road safety, mental health, and activities to strengthen public health data systems and the use of public health data to guide policy and decision-making.  Activities are based in low- and middle-income countries and municipalities in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific 

About the Program 

Vital Strategies is looking for the inaugural director for an exciting new program to reduce maternal mortality in three countries; Our new Data-Driven Policy Initiative to Improve Women’s Health (DDP for WH) aims to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality resulting from unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth in Bangladesh, Rwanda and Uganda. The program will work closely with national ministries of health to strengthen capacity to collect, analyze and apply data to develop evidence-based policies.  

This initiative applies a data-to-policy model to support improved access to, and surveillance of, family planning, contraceptives, abortion care, and other sexual and reproductive health services. The program complements existing efforts in these three countries and leverages Vital Strategies’ expertise in health data, epidemiology, surveillance, health policy and public health law, and strategic communication and advocacy.  

The program’s theory of change is based on the assumption that clear and compelling data and evidence, along with effective advocacy, are fundamental to creating meaningful and high-impact policy and program improvements. Anchoring the first year activities will be an intensive effort to build capacity to collect, analyze and understand data as a basis for policy analysis and development.  

This is a 12-month position and the hiring team is flexible with regard to position location.

The Director, reporting to the Executive Vice President and Deputy CEO, will oversee and manage all aspects of the program, including planning, budgeting, implementation, reporting and financial management. This is a one-year, grant-funded position with the expectation of additional two years of funding. The Director will oversee program operations in Bangladesh, Rwanda and Uganda. The DDP for WH program will eventually consist of approximately 12 to 15 staff and/or contractors who may be based in the regions or countries where we are implementing this program. The staff structure includes personnel who will be “embedded” with partnering government agencies or sub-granted partners and be co-accountable to the government, a host agency partner and to Vital Strategies. 

The Director’s responsibilities include establishing local partnerships; leading the development of technical materials; overseeing technical assistance to participating countries; managing the team and recruiting new staff; budget planning and management; contributing to thought leadership in the field of reproductive and sexual health; and representing the program to the donor, to governmental and nongovernmental partners, and to the media. This role requires expertise and experience in the technical dimensions of this work, i.e., maternal health, reproductive and sexual health, and familiarity with sources of data and data analytic approaches, including for safe abortion and post-abortion care, and the use of data for policymaking and program management. Candidates must have a strong track record in establishing and maintaining strong collaborative relationships with senior government officials and a variety of other stakeholders, and experience in team leadership and management. 

Specific duties may include: 

  • Lead all aspects of the DDP for WH program, to strengthen the use of reproductive health data for decision-making and policymaking in Bangladesh, Rwanda and Uganda  

  • Implement best practices for data use in policymaking; ensure that technical assistance is scientifically rigorous  

  • Oversee and advise on appropriate methods and techniques for conducting policy-relevant analyses 

  • Oversee implementation and management of program activities on time and within budget  

  • Design and direct development and delivery of technical assistance in participating countries 

  • Foster and maintain strong collaborative relationships with government partners to provide technical assistance including coaching, training, and producing guides and technical resources for partner benefit 

  • Provide direct technical assistance as needed, should other grant proposals relevant to the program be pursued  

  • Manage the team, promoting positive working relationships, inclusivity, creativity, teamwork, productivity and professional growth 

  • Plan and oversee the program budget 

  • Oversee program monitoring and evaluation; monitor indicators to ensure the program is reaching its stated goals 

  • Oversee development of all donor reports; provide input and recommendations to donor on strategy and operations 

  • With support of Vital Strategies communication staff, contribute to thought leadership in the reproductive health field via opinion pieces, presentations, papers, blogs, news articles, etc. 

  • Identify and develop opportunities for inter-program collaboration across the organization  

  • Represent the program to governmental and nongovernmental partners, participate in partner meetings and working groups to discuss the work of the program 

  • Oversee additional specific projects, as required 

  • Provide expert epidemiologic and data use consultation to partner governments and NGOs 

  • In collaboration with colleagues across the organization, oversee data analysis, reports and visualizations to support public health decision-making 

  • Support organizational business development related to data system/data use strengthening 

  • Develop proposals for the program’s continuation and additional funding  

Qualifications and skill set: 

  • Doctoral degree in public health or other relevant field, or medical degree plus master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. public health, epidemiology, public policy) with 15 or more years of experience in public health practice; or master’s degree with 20 or more years of relevant experience 

  • Strong quantitative analytic skills and experience; proven track record in using data to ground or strengthen public health policy 

  • A trusted and known leader in the global reproductive health or maternal health community 

  • Experience working specifically in the government health sector, international public health organization, or as leader of public health projects; applicants with direct experience with national HMIS departments preferred  

  • Experience in team leadership and management 

  • Written and oral English language proficiency 

  • Commitment to equity- and human rights-based approaches to reproductive and sexual health 

  • Ability to work independently and remotely 

  • Strong interpersonal skills; strong organizational and verbal and written communication skills 

  • Willingness and ability to travel internationally, if/when required 

  • Budget management experience 


Closing date for applications: January 22, 2021 




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