Department: MED-Medical Social Sciences Salary/Grade: EXS/7
Overview/Background about MSS
The Department of Medical Social Sciences (MSS) is a leader in advancing and applying outcomes/effectiveness research to improve patient care and influence policy. Our strong academic ties across the university and the medical school encourage comprehensive collaboration in disease management, prevention and control. We intend to meet a growing need for expanded interdisciplinary scientific collaboration, to promote discovery of multidimensional mechanisms of health and disease, to improve adult and pediatric health status and outcome assessment, and to collaborate with partners in genetic, epidemiologic, biologic and behavioral translational research paradigms. While part of our work serves to reduce health disparities of groups that are traditionally underrepresented in research, we acknowledge that there is always room to grow. MSS is committed to creating a world of inclusion, health, and well-being for all. We hire the best people from a wide variety of backgrounds because drawing on their diverse perspectives and experiences will be the foundation of our department’s future success.
Developmental Mechanisms Program
The Developmental Sciences Manager position will oversee the scientific operations across multiple studies in the Developmental Mechanisms (DevMech) Program directed by Dr. Laurie Wakschlag. The Developmental Mechanisms program conducts research at the intersection of developmental and clinical science, spanning the prenatal period through early childhood. The DevMech program of research aims to characterize early developmental patterns marking emergent mental health and other neurodevelopmental risk as well as prenatal influences on these pathways, and application to prevention. Multiple state-of-the-art, developmentally sensitive methods are used (including EEG/ERP, MRI, and eye tracking), as well as developmentally sensitive behavioral and family assessments and assessments of the social ecology.
Description of Developmental Sciences Manager Position
The Developmental Sciences Manager will provide leadership on the planning, design, and implementation of research procedures across multiple studies, working closely with Assistant Director Renee Edwards and a team of diverse scientists. Responsibilities will include oversight of developmental assessments of infants, young children, and families; recruitment and retention efforts; developing systems for training staff in assessments and engaging with families; and monitoring assessment fidelity and reliability of video-coded observational data. The manager will support the program as a whole, with strong focus on managing scientific aspects of the new national HEALthy Brain & Child Development Study (HBCD) (PIs Elizabeth Norton and Laurie Wakschlag, Scientific Project Director Renee Edwards). The manager will create and implement clear, comprehensive study procedures for assessments and other study activities. Assessment coordinators, research assistants, and participant navigators will report to this position. The manager will also engage in ongoing relationships with community partners, including government offices, social service agencies, and other study stakeholders. The manager will support recruitment and retention efforts by developing recruitment materials and instituting creative ways to support family engagement and retention, including referrals to services in the community. This individual will also assist with the creation of child development reports and other information for study families. The manager will work with the Data Scientist to ensure that data systems and day-to-day study operations and assessments are closely aligned. The manager will collaborate with the scientific team in writing progress reports, grant submissions, manuscripts, and other scientific products.
Expectations of the Developmental Sciences Manager
The ideal candidate will have training and expertise in prenatal/early childhood research with diverse and/or marginalized populations. We are looking for a team player who is proactive, shows a high level of initiative, has excellent attention to detail, and has the ability to work flexibly. The individual will be a member of a multi-disciplinary team and should be comfortable communicating with people from a variety of backgrounds, including investigators, research staff, and diverse child and parent participants.
Key responsibilities include:
Oversee developmental assessments of infants and young children across studies. Develop procedures manuals and systems to train research assistants and monitor assessment fidelity and reliability of video-coded observational data.
Oversee participant recruitment, engagement, and retention efforts for the HBCD study. Support the development of a resource and referral library for study participants.
Provide supervision and mentoring to assessment coordinators, research assistants, and participant navigators.
Engage with community partners around research design, procedures, and interpretation and dissemination of results, and best practices for recruitment and retention of study populations.
Manages all activities associated with biomedical &/or social-behavioral research studies considered very complex by the inclusion of several of the following: multiple investigators, teams, sites, sub-contracts, participants, longitudinal assessments/ interventions; &/or multi-million dollar budgets. Ensures completion of contract requirements & client specifications. Oversees day-to-day operations including identifying & securing needed resources; creating, implementing, monitoring, & updating project plans; facilitating meetings with appropriate parties; tracking tasks/deliverables to ensure timelines, milestones &/or goals are attained; monitoring & reporting progress as appropriate; & resolving or escalating issues in a timely manner. May co-author scientific papers for presentation & publication & coordinates writing, submission & administration of grants. Ensures that all study activities are completed by strictly following Good Clinical Practices (GCP) & all current local, state, & federal laws, regulations, guidance, policy & procedure developed by the NU Institutional Review Board (IRB), Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), & the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH).
This is an outstanding position for an individual interested in supporting and engaging in research with young children and families, and getting an in-depth understanding of state-of-the-art methods for developmental and family assessment. The individual will also participate in career development forums and opportunities of the DevMech Program and interact closely with a diverse group of scientists including scholars in social work, neuroscience, developmental science, clinical psychology, biostatistics and physician-scientists.
Provides complex scientific & technical leadership in determining research priorities & the plan, design & execution of research projects ensuring that programs of investigation meet specified objectives.
Plans, develops & implements new processes & protocols to support research studies & maximize/extend study capabilities.
Oversees completion of study activities per protocol.
Ensures that study protocols are in compliance with appropriate rules & regulations & reviews study progress and recommends revisions, amendments, and/or other study changes as necessary to better meet needs of sponsors.
Analyzes, evaluates & interprets data to determine relevance to research.
Prepares results & may co-author scientific papers for presentation & publication & disseminates information via seminars, lectures, etc.
Acts as liaison between sponsoring agencies, collaborating organizations &/or other research &/or educational institutions.
May create &/or manage research study budget which may include deciding on & approving expenditures of funds based on budget.
Trains, directs, assigns duties to & may supervise lab EEs, students, residents &/or fellows.
Acts as a mentor in regard to education of junior coordinators.
Performs other duties as assigned.
A bachelor's degree in a social or health science + 5 years experience; or 7 years practical research study or related experience; or a master's degree in a social or health science + 3 years experience is required.
Supervisory or project management experience required.
Must complete NU's IRB CITI training before interacting with any participants & must re-certify every 3 years.
Research-based administration and oversight of developmental assessments of infants, young children and parents.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Experience working on large and diverse research teams.
Recruitment and retention of developmental populations in longitudinal studies.
Prior research with or engagement of under-represented and/or high risk populations (e.g., substance use in the family context, children in under-resourced environments, children with developmental delays)
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Some knowledge of social service and child development resources in Illinois
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