The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an organization at the University of Washington (UW). 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.
A core research area for IHME is the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study. A systematic, scientific effort to quantify the comparative magnitude of health loss due to diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and geography over time, the GBD is the largest and most comprehensive effort to date to measure epidemiological levels and trends worldwide. The GBD’s aim is to provide policymakers, donors, and researchers with the highest-quality quantitative evidence base to make decisions that achieve better health.
IHME has an outstanding opportunity for a Researcher on the Global Burden of Disease Cancer team. As part of a collaboration between IHME and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the GBD Cancer Team is working on an exciting new endeavor to produce the most comprehensive global pediatric cancer burden estimates to date. This Researcher will be integral to this collaborative endeavor, analyzing data and producing estimates of the burden of pediatric cancer as part of a team inclusive of faculty and staff at IHME and St. Jude. To succeed in this position, the individual must assess all available relevant quantitative data – including those on causes of death, epidemiology, and a range of determinants such as education and income – from cancer registries, surveys, vital registration systems, scientific literature, and administrative records. Using established modeling tools and through creation of novel code, the Researcher must incorporate all relevant data to produce the most up-to-date and scientifically credible results following the overall GBD paradigm.
The GBD study produces estimates for more than 300 diseases and injuries and more than 80 risk factors for greater than 500 geographic locations. Researchers will be integrally involved in producing, critiquing, improving, and disseminating results. The Researcher must develop an understanding of the GBD methodology and must already have a strong command of epidemiology, statistics, disease modeling, or related interests (preferably, although not required, in the field of oncology). The individual will work with senior research and faculty leads to take part in the intellectual exchange about how to improve upon the results and in creating papers and presentations that help share the results with broader audiences.
The individual will be expected to interact successfully with a wide range of stakeholders and to describe complex concepts and materials concisely. Overall, the Researcher will be a critical member of an agile, dynamic research team. This position is contingent on project funding availability.
Research command and analyses
- Develop a core understanding of the Global Burden of Disease methodology and its components.
- Carry out quantitative analyses and participate in collaborative research projects.
- Develop, critique, and improve estimates of pediatric cancer and risk factors using Global Burden of Disease methods.
- Model mortality to incidence ratios for pediatric cancer causes using cancer registry data and vital registration system data.
- Map pediatric cancer causes between different disease classification systems (ICD (International Classification of Diseases), ICCC (International Classification of Childhood Cancer), ICD-O (International Classification of Diseases for Oncology).
- Develop covariates that are predictive of cancer outcomes that can be used in GBD models (e.g. access to radiotherapy, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, etc).
- Develop natural history models of pediatric cancer prevalence.
- Estimate the incidence and prevalence of acute and chronic conditions in pediatric cancer survivor population using existing cohort data.
- 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, cancer registries, cohort studies, surveys, 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 scientific, epidemiologic, and historical domains of pediatric cancer that are necessary for putting research in context and informing modeling decisions.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Master’s in public health, epidemiology, statistics, biostatistics, or related field or equivalent combination of education and three years’ work experience.
- Demonstrated interest in the research described.
- Experience and demonstrated success in coding and modeling using at least one of the following programming languages: Stata or R.
- Excellent analytical and quantitative skills.
- Ability to undertake research tasks with limited guidance.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- A theoretical and practical understanding of disease modeling.
- Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented research environment with a focus on producing innovative, policy-relevant results.
- PhD in public health, epidemiology, statistics, biostatistics, or related field.
- Expertise with cancer research, especially pediatric cancer, including familiarity with relevant data sources and epidemiologic methods for estimating disease burden.
- Expertise with cancer survivorship research.
- Expertise with database analyses (MySQL).
- Expertise with version control software (GIT).
- A track record of success in writing for publication, presenting research proposals and results, and professional representation at meetings
Conditions of employment:
Night and weekend work may be required. Travel to conferences and research meetings occasionally required.