Director, Policy Research

Alexandria, Virginia, United States | Federal and State Affairs | Full-time | COVID-19 remote

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The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is the national membership organization for the nation’s federally qualified health centers (also known as FQHCs or Community Health Centers). Health centers are nonprofit, community-directed health clinics that provide access to high-quality, culturally competent, and comprehensive care to people living in medically underserved areas. NACHC strengthens the health center movement through advocacy, training, and technical assistance, clinical and operations support. NACHC is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace.

Reporting to the SVP of Public Policy and Research, the Director of Policy Research will be responsible for leading, planning, and executing key research activities, with a special focus on informing and supporting NACHC’s policy and advocacy research priorities.  They will oversee and produce a wide variety of research and data-driven publications, tools, and analyses that educate policymakers and others on health center value, health center contributions to advancing health equity, and the impacts of policy changes on the patients and communities health centers serve.  In addition to working closely with the Director, they will work with NACHC federal policy, regulatory policy, state policy, and advocacy teams in order to prioritize and proactively plan research activities at the federal and state levels. The Director of Policy Research will also supervise staff and work collaboratively with other NACHC divisions in support of their research and data needs. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Create and maintain a policy research agenda that is responsive to NACHC and health centers’ rapidly evolving policy and advocacy priorities, specified by clear and achievable workplans, and focused on health equity and the diverse communities health centers serve.
  • Lead and develop policy research that targets decision makers, informs a diverse array of advocates and stakeholders, is reflective of health centers’ unique circumstances and model of care, and is concise, convincing, evidence-driven, and impactful.
  • Develop, oversee, and/or execute a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative analyses, publications, data driven tools. These include but are not limited to fact sheets, infographics, interactive impact calculators, briefs, chartbooks, surveys, and peer review articles.
  • Ensure accuracy, appropriateness, and timeliness of Research Department analyses, publications, and other resources, ensure these resources utilize the most appropriate methodologies, and ensure these resources adhere to data use requirements and funder expectations.
  • Stay current on relevant policy issues and legislative developments, as well as health center research and operational challenges, in order to proactively plan policy research.
  • Identify and utilize a wide variety of data sources. Where possible, inform the development of federal and other data sets in order to ensure data can effectively track health center experiences and the needs of special/vulnerable populations and racial/ethnic minorities.
  • Oversee and guide dissemination of Research Department public-facing documents. Ensure these documents meet the needs of targeted audiences, which may include policymakers, payers, the press, and/or health center stakeholders, including consumer boards.
  • Oversee the development, testing, and administration of survey instruments and analysis. This includes collection of impact stories from the field and the analysis of this qualitative data.
  • Build relationships and collaborations with external research partners with the aim of extending health center and NACHC research priorities.
  • Build relationships with research and data staff from Primary Care Associations (PCAs) and Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs). Provide technical assistance on health center data and research.
  • Liaison with the Bureau of Primary Health Care’s Data Branch, helping to develop and maintain a collaborative and supportive relationship between staff.
  • Actively participate in regular Public Policy and Research Division strategy, planning, management, and leadership meetings.
  • Facilitate and support NACHC’s internal Research Collaboration Workgroup, which reviews requests to endorse research activities from external groups and NACHC health center surveys. Update as needed NACHC’s Research Collaboration Policy.
  • Supervise and mentor staff.
  • Represent NACHC and the Research Department at various meetings. Organize, conduct, and/or participate in workshops, education sessions, and poster programs at NACHC and other conferences as appropriate.
  • Occasional travel.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills, Knowledge, and Expertise

  • 10+ years of relevant experience working in health policy research, conducting sophisticated quantitative and qualitative data analysis, managing multiple projects, and crafting research to meet policy priorities, including at 5+ years supervising research staff and leading the development and execution of policy research.
  • Master’s degree in public health, public policy, public administration, or related field.
  • Proven ability to tie policy goals to data- and research-driven analyses and synthesize complex research to lay audiences.
  • Experience applying creative data-driven problem-solving skills to answer urgent and rapid-turnaround research questions.
  • Have deep knowledge on public and private datasets pertaining to health center patients and national public health outcomes and demonstrated experience creating policy-focused analyses using these data.
  • Experience mentoring and supporting staff.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Experience customizing resources for different audiences.
  • Understanding of a wide variety of emerging primary care and equity issues affecting health centers, their patients, and the communities they serve.
  • Ability to accomplish multiple short- and long-term work activities independently and under tight deadlines.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Excel and Access, and statistical software such as R, SAS, STATA, or SPSS. Understanding of Tableau or other visualization software and/or experience working with relational databases in Access or SQL is helpful but not required.
  • Experience developing qualitative tools (i.e. surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews) and leading subsequent research; proficiency in SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics.
  • Detail-oriented, self-motivated, inquisitive, analytical, and able juggle multiple tasks in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
  • Experience with GIS applications, such as ArcGIS or QGIS, a plus but not required.