Mental Health and Child Development Research Associate

Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
10 Oct 2016
End of advertisement period
07 Nov 2016
Contract Type
Full Time

Position Description

The Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA) seeks a doctoral level Research Associate to be based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) within the Department of Global Health and Population. The RPCGA is an applied research program dedicated to improving the evidence base on the epidemiology of mental health problems and family functioning as well as intervention research to develop and test mental health services for children and families affected by multiple forms of adversity, including armed conflict, poverty, and infectious disease.


Ongoing projects include a Longitudinal Study of War-Affected Youth (LSWAY) in Sierra Leone designed to examine psychosocial adjustment and community reintegration among former child soldiers and other war-affected youth. The study involves four waves of data collection – in 2002, 2004, and 2008 with in-depth information on educational status, war experiences, mental health, functioning, family relationships and community support among a cohort of 529 war-affected youth. The team is also soon to launch a mental health services research and implementation science research HUB for West Africa (Sierra Leone and Liberia) and will be collaborating with the World Bank of Government of Sierra Leone on testing how to take evidence based group mental health interventions to scale for violence affected youth via the alternate delivery platforms of youth employment programs. The RPCGA has also developed and evaluated the impact of a Family Strengthening Intervention for HIV-affected children and families and is currently investigating the impact of a home-visiting early childhood development (ECD) intervention to promote enriched parent-child relationships and prevent violence in Rwanda. Additionally, the team is engaged in community-based participatory research on family-based prevention of emotional and behavioral problems in refugee children and adolescents resettled in the U.S.

Duties & Responsibilities:

The Research Associate will be based at Harvard University and will engage with research activities of research teams based internationally and domestically. The Research Associate will contribute to the conceptual and logistical oversight of study implementation in the field, and work with field-based Project Managers to ensure that research budgets fulfill the scientific aims of the projects. The position will review IRB/local ethics committee applications, oversee data collection, maintain and refine systems of data collection and management, and synthesize and interpret findings related to the health and mental health of children in adversity for publications and future grant applications. Additionally, the Research Associate will present and disseminate research results, write research reports, and oversee creation of deliverables for grantors, as well as help implement all new research projects.

This position will function at a highly independent level and will be expected to produce quality research outputs. International travel is required.

Specifically, the Research Associate will:

Contribute to the administrative and managerial leadership to all RPCGA projects.

Build and steward critical relationships with collaborative partners and act as secondary contact for external relationships.

Help supervise and capacity build with field-based teams, and ensure the team procedures align with mandates and research protocols put forward by Harvard.

Provide subject matter expertise and extensive input on study measures development, survey development and methodology, and assessment strategies.

Create project implementation plans together with Project Managers. Monitor data collection components of the study to ensure scientific and research ethics integrity.

Provide unique expertise to develop content for survey and outreach materials, trainings and meetings to further scientific aims.

Assist with data analysis and publications as a co-author.

Evaluate progress of program to recommend and implement changes to affect the quality of the scientific content.

Partner with Project Managers to maintain oversight to project budgets. Help forecast expenses and allocate expenses across projects. Negotiate and authorize memorandum of understandings as well as expenditures. Ensure compliance with School and sponsor policies.

Basic Qualifications

A doctoral degree in psychology, social work, early childhood development or a related field is required with 1 to 3 years of successful and increasingly responsible experience in a research, academic, or intellectually-based organization. Supervisory experience and prior international work required. Demonstrated experience in managing research studies and maintaining regulatory materials/IRB protocols a plus. Demonstrated ability to work independently and proactively also needed.

Additional Qualifications

The position requires diplomacy in communications and interpersonal relations. Must possess and present a sense of poised confidence to deal effectively with multiple constituencies and cultural diversity at all levels. Must be able to evaluate problems thoroughly, show resourcefulness in identifying solutions, and display sound judgment. Able to motivate, develop, and inspire colleagues and employees at all levels.

Special Instructions

Contact Information

Kaitlin Coulter
Administrative Coordinator
Department of Global and Population

Contact Email

Equal Opportunity Employer

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Minimum Number of References Required


Maximum Number of References Allowed