University of Washington School of Public Health

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Researcher, Tobacco - Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Notice!This listing has expired and should not be applied for.
Location: Seattle, WA
Full-time position
Closing Date: open until filled
Job #12242
Posted: February 1, 2018

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is a growing organization at the University of Washington. Its mission is to monitor global health conditions and health systems, as well as to evaluate interventions, initiatives, and reforms. It uses cutting-edge techniques to tackle some of the most difficult and most critical questions in global health and find answers that will become the foundation for better policies and, ultimately, better health.

IHME has an outstanding opportunity for a Researcher on our newly formed Tobacco Team. The new team was created with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and will focus on improving estimation of tobacco burden, uptake of results by tobacco partners, as well as assessment of the impact of tobacco control policies. The Researcher on the Tobacco Team will also contribute to the development and application of innovative methods in statistical analysis to produce high-quality and policy-relevant estimates related to the effects of tobacco use on health.

The Researcher will be a critical member of an agile and dynamic research team developing new approaches and producing detailed estimates that will empower policymakers and donors to make optimal decisions about allocating funds and prioritizing interventions. Specifically, the Tobacco Team will drive the intellectual content to derive burden of disease estimates related to tobacco use and evaluation of programs to eliminate tobacco-related disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The individual will be expected to interact successfully and describe complex concepts and materials concisely to a wide range of stakeholders, including high-level individuals in government or other organizations.

The Researcher will develop a command of the methods developed and deployed and the rationale for utilizing them across varying contexts. The individual is also expected to create and deploy programming code to carry out complex statistical methods. The individual will be a key contributor to discussions about methods development, strategic decision-making about how best to deploy methods using the given computational infrastructure, and how to improve upon the results given the available data.

The individual will also be responsible for contributing to papers, presentations, and other materials to help disseminate results. This position is contingent on project funding availability.


Research command and analyses

  • Develop a core understanding of methodology used for evaluation of tobacco control and interventions.
  • Develop and refine methodology to apply research to real world settings; interpret findings in a way that is generalizable with high external validity.
  • Carry out quantitative analyses and participate in collaborative research projects.
  • Develop, refine, and improve methodology for future iterations of analysis.
  • Understand the policy landscape for tobacco control and interventions and incorporate relevant features into analysis.
  • Play an integral role in the estimation process including transforming and incorporating data, choosing and applying methods, identifying areas for estimation improvement, and conveying results to diverse audiences.
  • Develop and implement new computational and statistical methods. Create, test, and use relevant computer code (Stata, R, or Python). Maintain and distribute completed software as needed.
  • Review and assess data sources in order to determine their relevance and utility for ongoing analyses. Sources include vital registration, censuses, surveys, registries, administrative data, and academic literature. Become expert in understanding key data sources and, in particular, variations in these across and within countries.
  • Communicate with external collaborators in order to best understand the nature, key characteristics, and context of the data and engage in critiques of the analytic results.
  • Become expert in understanding the demographic, geographic, and social characteristics in a country that might generate disparities or be useful for population comparisons.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with designated collaborators. Respond to and, as appropriate, integrate feedback from collaborators into the analyses. Work directly with collaborators to understand data to which they have access, and to in turn help them understand the methods being applied. Help manage and orchestrate joint strategies for analysis.
  • Effectively communicate and work with other staff at all levels in order to achieve team goals for the analyses and related outputs.  
  • Contribute and develop ideas for new research projects.  

Publication and dissemination

  • Write and lead publication of research findings in international peer-reviewed journals and other publications.
  • Present papers at national and international conferences to disseminate research findings.  
  • Represent the research group at external meetings, seminars, and conferences.  
  • Present findings and relay data to tobacco control community including partners on advisory board.


  • Lead discussion in research meetings about results and analyses in order to vet, improve, and finalize results.
  • Document code and analytic approaches systematically so that analyses can be replicated by other team members.
  • Support project leaders in the development of new funding proposals.   
  • Become a fully contributing member of the IHME team overall, lending help and support where needed, participating in mutual intellectual critique and development with colleagues, and acting as a mentor to more junior staff contributing to the research process.  

Minimum requirements:

Master’s in epidemiology, population health, biostatistics, health informatics, health economics, health policy, or related field, or equivalent combination of education and  three years’ work experience.

  • Demonstrated interest in the research described.
  • Coding experience in R required. Experience and demonstrated success in modeling in one or more programming languages: Stata, Python.
  • Excellent analytical and quantitative skills.
  • Ability to undertake research projects with limited guidance.
  • Excellent communication skills, including track record of success in writing for publication, presenting research proposals and results, and representing research groups at meetings.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented research environment with a focus on producing innovative, policy-relevant results.
  • A theoretical and practical understanding of disease modeling.

Desired requirements:

  • PhD in epidemiology, population health, biostatistics, health informatics, health economics, health policy, or related field and 10+ years of experience.
  • Expertise in tobacco control and interventions, including familiarity with data sources and epidemiology.

Conditions of Employment:

Night and weekend work may be required. Travel to conferences and research meetings occasionally required.

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