The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent research center at the University of Washington focused on expanding the quantitative evidence base for health. A core research area for IHME is the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) enterprise. 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 exciting opportunity for a Researcher with focus on the estimation of neglected tropical diseases as part of the GBD enterprise. The current cause list for the GBD includes the following neglected tropical diseases: Chagas, leishmaniasis, African trypanosomiasis, schistosomiasis, cysticercosis, cystic echinococcosis, lymphatic filariasis, podoconiosis, onchocerciasis, trachoma, dengue, yellow fever, and rabies. The individual will work with data from vital registration, surveys, administrative sources, and scientific literature. The researcher will need to become familiar with global and national patterns in the epidemiology, including fatal and nonfatal outcomes, of at least a subset of these diseases. He/she will produce estimates of incidence, prevalence, and deaths from 1990 to present by country. The Researcher will use modeling tools to produce estimates on an annually updated basis. Depending upon interest and expertise, the Researcher may also model some key risk factors or other determinants related to these causes. The Researcher will assess all available data and use established modeling tools to produce results. He/she will write papers and contribute to methodological advancements over time.
The overall GBD enterprise produces estimates for more than 300 diseases and injuries and more than 70 risk factors for greater than 500 geographic locations. Researchers will be integrally involved in producing, critiquing, improving, and disseminating results. Researcher must develop an understanding of the GBD methodology and must already have a strong command of either epidemiology, statistics, disease modeling, or related interests. The individual will work with senior research leads and faculty and 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 neglected tropical diseases using Global Burden of Disease methods.
- Identify, review, and assess data sources in order to determine their relevance and utility for ongoing analyses. These may include vital registration data, hospital data, and data from the scientific literature. Become expert in understanding key data sources and, in particular, variations in these across and within countries.
- Transform and incorporate 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.
- 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 to 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.
- 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 to 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.
Master’s in public health, epidemiology, statistics, biostatistics, or related field plus three years’ related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
- Disease- and/or risk-specific expertise, including familiarity with data sources and epidemiology.
- Demonstrated interest in the research described.
- Experience of and demonstrated success in modeling using at least one of the following programming languages: Stata, Python, R.
- 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.
- PhD in public health, epidemiology, statistics, biostatistics, or related field.
- Experience in geostatistical modeling of diseases.
Conditions of employment:
Evening and weekend work may be required.