Overview

Job Description:
The Research Specialist V performs highly advanced (senior-level) research work in the area of maternal and infant health. Work involves serving as the Texas Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) Coordinator and liaising with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it relates to survey development, sampling, data collection, and analysis. Develops and revises the PRAMS data collection protocol and performs contract oversight of all data collection activities. Oversees the preparation and submission of the CDC cooperative agreement applications and progress reports to the CDC. Prepares and submits all DSHS Institutional Review Board (IRB) documents related to the PRAMS project. Monitors how PRAMS data are being analyzed and disseminated by agency staff and other partners. Generates research articles for scientific publication, as well as papers, reports, and presentations for in-house distribution and to support program management and other DSHS or state agency activities utilizing PRAMS data. Acts as a subject matter expert as it relates to complex sample survey design and analysis. Work is performed under minimal supervision with extensive latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgement. Reports to the Surveillance and Data Analytics Manager in the Maternal & Child Health Epidemiology Unit.

Essential Job Functions:
Attends work on a regular and predictable schedule in accordance with agency leave policy and performs other duties as assigned.

30% Serves as Texas PRAMS Coordinator and acts as a liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on an ongoing basis. Oversees the PRAMS Steering Committee. Develops and revises the PRAMS data collection protocol and survey instrument. Oversees sampling procedures and ensure that monthly samples are prepared in a timely manner. Provides essential information for data collection routinely. Performs contract oversight for all PRAMS data collection activities. Consults with research professionals, researchers/epidemiologists, administrators, and statistical staff to define and solve specific problems related to the administration of PRAMS and to assure quality control across experimental methods, research design and statistical analysis.

35% Oversees the preparation and submission of the CDC cooperative agreement applications and progress reports to the CDC. Prepares and submits all DSHS Institutional Review Board (IRB) documents related to the PRAMS project. Develops and/or renews data collection contracts, data use agreements, and memorandum of understanding documents for key data elements for data collection (e.g., telephone numbers and addresses). Participates in all PRAMS CDC-sponsored training workshops, site visits, and other CDC sponsored events. Works in collaboration with DSHS Center for Health Statistics, other DSHS data centers and state/federal agencies (e.g., CDC, MCH Bureau). Provides research consultation and data-related technical assistance to those who seek to utilize Texas PRAMS data. Cross trains with the PRAMS lead analyst and reviews PRAMS-related DSHS IRB applications and CDC multi-state PRAMS proposals as needed.

20% Performs scientific literature searches (traditional, internet, database) and reviews various types of materials including legislation, regulations, and scientific protocol and policies to help develop research proposals and to support on-going investigations/projects. Monitors how PRAMS data are being analyzed and disseminated by agency staff and other partners. Generates research articles for scientific publication, as well as papers, reports, and presentations for in-house distribution and to support program management and other DSHS or state agency activities utilizing PRAMS data.

10% Acts as a subject matter expert as it relates to complex sample survey design and analysis (e.g., Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, National Health Interview Survey, and Texas School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey). Provides research consultation and data-related technical assistance to other unit staff, agency staff, and those who are interested in utilizing survey data focused on maternal and child health.

5% Other duties as assigned include but are not limited to actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency’s obligations for disaster response and/or recovery or Continuity of Operations (COOP) activation. Such participation may require an alternate shift pattern assignment and/or location.

Knowledge Skills Abilities:
Knowledge of the principles and functions of public health.
Knowledge of research planning and evaluation methods in epidemiology.
Knowledge of federal grants.
Knowledge of laws and rules applicable to confidentiality and the management of protected health information.
Knowledge and experience with questionnaire development, constructing sampling frames, complex sampling, and survey data collection methods.
Knowledge of advanced statistical techniques and methods.
In-depth knowledge of statistical software, especially SAS
Knowledge of Microsoft Office products (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Tableau.

Skills in good coordination, communication, and writing skills.
Skills in the development of technical standard operating procedures and data management plans
Skills in identifying problems, evaluating alternatives, and negotiating and implementing solutions to data and research problems.
Strong project management skills to organize major complex project activities into a logical sequence with a reasonable and achievable schedule of deadlines and across multiple internal and external stakeholders.
Skills in advanced technical writing, reporting, and interpretation of complex data to clearly and succinctly communicate project/research information for correspondence with state and federal agencies, grant applications and plans, state rules, and planning procedures.

Ability to work independently and show initiative.
Ability to organize and present information effectively, both orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences, including state and federal agency staff, legislators, and other stakeholders, which may require synthesis and translation of complex information into simpler terms.
Ability to develop and effectively deliver training and technical assistance about research/data methods, procedures or DSHS policies.
Ability to assess the reliability, validity, and appropriateness of proposed data collection methods and designs
Ability to conduct advanced statistical analyses with SAS.
Ability to analyze complex sample survey data.
Ability to interpret complex statistical analysis, charts, and tables
Ability to develop and analyze measuring instruments with respect to reliability, relevance, and validity.
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships and to work with others as part of a team.

Registration or Licensure Requirements:
Not applicable

Initial Selection Criteria:
Graduation from an accredited college or university with receipt of a Master’s degree preferred in epidemiology, public health, statistics, social science or a related field.

Two or more years of experience in public health, maternal and child health epidemiology preferred.

Two or more years of experience analyzing SAS as described in the job experiences portion of the job application.

Additional Information:
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION PRIOR TO SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION FOR THIS POSITION:

Information on the application must clearly state how the applicant meets initial selection criteria in the Summary of Experience section to be interviewed. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of an application.

Applicants must provide information relevant to the required experience for this position. Answer all questions and completely summarize your experience including technical and managerial responsibilities and any special training, skills, and qualifications for each position you have held in the employment history section of application.

All fields on the application must be filled-in completely. This includes, but is not limited to, previous salary, previous supervisor, and reason for leaving previous position.

This position is available for a hybrid work schedule (for up to three days per week) as an added employee benefit.

Applicants selected for an interview will be required to provide a writing sample and a SAS sample.

Agency salary policy, budget, and candidate’s qualifications will dictate final salary offer.

Note: Military occupation(s) that relate to the initial selection criteria and registration or licensure requirements for this position may include, but not limited to: 35F, IT, 23, 02111, 8E000. All active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, and veterans are encouraged to apply if qualified to fill this position. For more information see the Texas State Auditor’s Military Crosswalk at http://www.hr.sao.state.tx.us/Compensation/JobDescriptions.aspx.

MOS Code:
35F, IT, 23, 02111, 8E000

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About Texas Department of State Health Services

Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Unit

Our Vision:
Use rigorous, high-quality, data-driven surveillance, needs assessment, evaluation, and research to improve the health of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) populations which include:

  • Women of childbearing age;
  • adolescents;
  • children;
  • infants; and
  • children and youth with special health care needs.

Our Mission:

  • Provide expertise in applied epidemiology and surveillance to promote public health decisions and recommendations for the best possible health outcomes for MCH populations.
  • Conduct research projects based on innovative scientific approaches and advanced statistical analyses to expand the knowledge base on maternal and child health populations.
  • Inform public health interventions, programs, and policies by translating timely and accurate surveillance, needs assessment, evaluation, and research into usable and meaningful information
  • Improve surveillance and case review activities in Texas and timely and accurate reporting of data and findings.

Our Values:

  • Integrity: trust, transparency, accountability, ethical commitment, reliability, respect.
  • Excellence: meet and exceed expectations, continuous improvement, identify and document best practices, promote high-quality outcomes.
  • Professionalism: personal and professional accountability, unity within our unit, discipline, inclusivity, diversity.
  • Leadership: innovative, proactive, visionary, stewardship.

Our Functions and Expertise:

  • Population Health Needs Assessment and Surveillance: To assess the status, needs, and disparities within the maternal and child health population through data collection, data analytics, and geographic mapping.
  • Program and Intervention Evaluation: To use mixed-mode data collection to drive maternal and child health program and intervention refinement.
  • Measurement and Reporting: To measure and report the impact of health conditions, and respond to data requests by agency executives, legislators, federal and local partners, advocates, media, and the public-at-large.
  • Research and Creative Inquiry: To expand the knowledge base by assessing the causes and impacts of health outcomes among maternal and child health populations. To stay current on best practices and cutting-edge methods in the field.
  • Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System: To collect, analyze, and report Texas-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy.
  • State Systems Development Initiative: To develop, enhance, and expand maternal and child health data capacity for its needs assessment and performance measure reporting in the Title V MCH Block Grant program.