Researcher, Maternal and Neonatal Health at International Rescue Committee

Job Description

This position is open to Washington DC (preferred) / New York / Nairobi.

The IRC’s vision is to lead the humanitarian field by implementing high-impact, cost-effective programs for people affected by crisis and by using our learning and experience to shape policy and practice. To achieve that vision, the IRC’s technical units provides technical assistance to IRC’s country program staff and shares what we learn to influence policy and practice.

 

The technical units have three central objectives that we work towards:

1) Guide program design to achieve outcomes by incorporating the best available evidence

2) Build technical capacity of country program staff to implement, measure and continuously improve programs

3) Influence the IRC, peer agencies and donors to use proven interventions and generate new evidence to achieve change in peoples’ lives

The Research and Innovation Department (Airbel Impact Lab) supports the various technical units across the IRC to conduct or backstop research studies and innovation projects, and also leads initiatives that provide resources for country programs to design and implement programs based on existing evidence.

Health Technical Unit

The Health Technical Unit is organized in four sectors; primary health, reproductive health, environmental health, and nutrition. The structure emphasizes a clear division of roles between staff focusing on comprehensive technical assistance to countries and staff providing specialized support and thought leadership. In 2017, the Health Technical Unit supported programming in 6 regions and 27 countries.

Major Responsibilities

The MNH researcher will run and backstop field-based health implementation / operational research studies focused on MNH in low-income, conflict-affected contexts.  It is expected that the researcher has the capacity to independently lead research projects (equivalent of assistant professorship or above).  Their responsibilities will mainly be split across two major projects.

45%: Health Systems Research Programme Consortia (RPC)

The IRC is expected to receive funding to lead Ensuring Quality Access and Learning (EQUAL) for Mothers and Newborns in Conflict-Affected Contexts Consortium, a research consortium funded through DFID’s ‘Filling the Gaps in Evidence: Building Stronger And More Resilient Health Systems Research Programme Consortia (RPC)’ mechanism.  The IRC-led RPC aims to produce high quality evidence that improves the health of the poorest and most vulnerable people in developing countries. The IRC is partnering with Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, Somalia Disaster Resilience Institute, Sudd Institute (South Sudan), and Université Catholique de Bukavu (DRC).  The objective of this project is to produce rigorous, operationally relevant research and evidence to improve maternal and neonatal health in low-income, conflict-affected contexts.  This project will produce evidence that is accessible to decision-makers influencing strategic investment, policy and programming to improve MNH, at the national and global level.  The research under this opportunity includes topic areas such as operational research on community-based MNH service delivery, national health policy analysis around MNH, and MNH quality of care assessments in primary health facilities, and the MNH Researcher will be expected to lead or backstop several research workstreams under this consortium.

30%: Health systems strengthening research around MNH

The IRC’s Health and Governance Units have been exploring participatory mechanisms to improve accountability and strengthen systems in health facilities in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.  The health researcher will be expected to lead a research study examining such mechanisms, and manage relationships with an academic partner and IRC’s relevant country program.

15%: Business development

The MNH Researcher will be expected to develop and submit proposals around IRC’s priority research questions in MNH, as well as in sexual and reproductive health.

10%: Other research backstopping

The MNH Researcher may be asked to backstop IRC’s health research projects outside of the MNH content area.

Qualifications

Minimum requirements

  • Education: PhD in public health or equivalent
  • Work Experience: At least 5 years’ experience in public health, and at least two years in developing countries and relevant research
  • Field Experience: At least one year field research experience in humanitarian or low-resource setting, with demonstrated experience in leading their own research
  • Technical Expertise: Demonstrated technical expertise in conducting research including both qualitative and quantitative research methods with experience in more than one of the following areas: maternal and neonatal health, reproductive health, health systems strengthening. Experience training and supervising field teams, project management, and history of publication of results.
  • Team work: Able to work with remote, multi-cultural, and multi-disciplinary teams
  • Communication Skills: Excellence in writing and presentation
  • Training Skills: Able to transfer technical knowledge and skills
  • Willingness to travel to fragile / conflict-affected contexts.
  • Language Skills: English required, and French proficiency strongly preferred

Work Environment: Expected Travel 30% of the time.

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