National Institute on Aging, The Division of Behavioral and Social Research: Program Officer(s) + Health Specialist(s)/Social Science Analyst(s)

April 15, 2021

The Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) is Hiring!
The Division of Behavioral and Social Research<www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr> (BSR) of the National Institute on Aging<www.nia.nih.gov/> (NIA) offers a scientifically energizing and collegial environment with opportunities to engage the scientific community and support innovative social, behavioral, psychological, and economic research in aging and Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related dementias. We are recruiting six Program Officers, including two supervisory roles within the BSR Office of the Director, and four Health Specialists/Social Science Analysts.
Program Officers<www.nia.nih.gov/news/division-behavioral-and-social-research-bsr-national-institute-aging-nia-hiring-program> cultivate a portfolio of grant-supported research; lead and participate in transdisciplinary research collaborations; and develop scientific programming (e.g., symposia, special journal issues, conferences, and workshops).
The ideal candidate will have a PhD, MD, or doctoral equivalent; substantial research training in the behavioral or social sciences and/or related fields; strong writing, communication, and interpersonal skills; and experience working in interdisciplinary teams. Prior experience in aging research is ideal, but not required.
Health Specialists/Social Science Analysts<www.nia.nih.gov/news/division-behavioral-and-social-research-bsr-national-institute-aging-nia-hiring-health> (HS/SSA) support the scientific work of the branches and division. The ideal HS/SSA candidate has a Master’s degree (or equivalent) and research experience in the social, behavioral, or data sciences; solid project management and/or database management experience; and strong writing, communication and interpersonal skills. Prior experience in aging research is ideal, but not required.
Individual Behavioral Processes Branch<www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr/individual-behavioral-processes-branch> Program Officer Positions (GS-12/13/14; non-supervisory GS-15) and IBP Branch Health Specialist/Social Science Analyst. Interested parties should contact Janine Simmons (Janine.Simmons@nih.gov<mailto:Janine.Simmons@nih.gov>). The IBP Branch develops and supports research programs on psychological, behavioral, and interpersonal processes of relevance to aging. This includes research on mechanisms of behavior change and behavioral interventions, cognitive and emotional functioning, behavior genetics and sociogenomics, technology and human factors, family and interpersonal relationships, and integrative biobehavioral research on the mechanistic pathways linking social and behavioral factors to health in mid-life and older age. The portfolio is highly interdisciplinary, linking methods and approaches from psychology with those of economics, anthropology, neuroscience, and genetics, including studies conducted in wild and captive animal models. It supports two Centers programs and numerous research networks, including the trans-NIH Science of Behavior Change research network.
• Program Officer: Digital Health and Technology Solutions – The successful candidate will support innovative research on digital health technologies and AI-based tools to promote adaptive and successful aging. The candidate will have responsibility for developing aging and Alzheimer’s-related research in areas such as mobile health (mHealth), passive sensing and ecological momentary assessment via wearables, affective computing, ubiquitous computing, health information technology, telemedicine, and the development of just-in-time adaptive behavioral interventions. Research goals include the integration of behavioral, environmental, and biological data, as well as the promotion of health equity through the development of tools for use in diverse settings.
• Program Officer: Psychobiology and the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease – The successful candidate will develop a portfolio of life-span biobehavioral research on developmental origins of health and disease and behavioral approaches to geroscience. Topics for development include elucidating factors that influence the pace of aging; identifying potential biobehavioral, psychological, interpersonal, and social targets for innovative interventions to slow aging and promote stress resilience; advancing understanding of the biobehavioral phenotypes and mechanisms associated with receptivity to behavioral change; clarifying factors that promote acceptability of treatments across disparate populations. Relevant expertise may include, but is not limited to health psychology, behavioral and psychosomatic medicine, epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology, and/or developmental psychiatry.
• IBP Branch Health Specialist/Social Science Analyst –The successful candidate will support the Program Officers in the IBP Branch, assisting with grant portfolio administration, scientific workshop and funding opportunity development, literature reviews, and portfolio analyses to support new and ongoing BSR research initiatives that address divisional priorities<www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2020-02/2019-BSR-Review-Committee-Report-508.pdf> and the National Alzheimer’s Plan of Action<www.nia.nih.gov/about/nia-and-national-plan-address-alzheimers-disease>.
Population and Social Processes Branch<www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr/population-and-social-processes-branch> Program Officer Positions (GS-12/13/14; non-supervisory GS-15) and HS/SSA. Interested parties should contact John W. R. Phillips (John.Phillips@nih.gov<mailto:John.Phillips@nih.gov>). The PSP Branch supports research and data infrastructure development projects on how demographic, social, economic, institutional, geographic, and other factors at the population level influence health and mortality at older ages, including physical and cognitive functioning, AD/ADRD, disability, morbidity, and well-being. PSP supports programs on economics of aging, health systems, and health services, with an emphasis on understanding the drivers of health disparities. It develops and oversees several large data and harmonization/sharing research infrastructure activities, including staff-intensive projects such as the HRS and its international comparators as well as the Demography and Economics Centers program.
• Program Officer: Cognitive and Dementia Epidemiology/Global Health – The ideal candidate brings expertise in cognitive or dementia epidemiology and the social/population sciences to lead initiatives related to global trends in dementia incidence, prevalence, and research to inform non-pharmacological Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment intervention research at the population level. The candidate will have opportunity to inform future development of BSR’s longitudinal aging studies and to work with international comparators to the Health and Retirement Study in high, middle, and low income countries to generate new knowledge supporting the NIA mission, including the National Alzheimer’s Plan of Action<aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-document/national-plan-address-alzheimers-disease-2015-update>. The position also offers opportunities to develop innovative global health research with a focus on aging in coordination with Fogarty International Center in support of NIH-wide health research initiatives.
• Program Officer: Health Systems and Heath Economics – The successful candidate will have responsibility for developing and managing a portfolio of research grants on exploring the influence of health systems on care for older populations that features research utilizing large administrative data sets and quasi-experimental techniques, as well as pragmatic trials and field experiments utilizing behavioral economic approaches to produce efficient improvements in care. Successful candidates will also initiate research in other areas of the economics of aging including how economic factors (e.g., taxes, prices, economic shocks, etc.) affect health and well-being, health-related behaviors, healthcare utilization, socioeconomic disparities, and responses to public health interventions.
• PSP Branch Health Specialist/Social Science Analyst –The successful candidate will support the Program Officers in the PSP Branch, assisting with grant portfolio administration, scientific workshop and funding opportunity development, literature reviews, and portfolio analyses to support new and ongoing BSR research initiatives that address divisional priorities<www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2020-02/2019-BSR-Review-Committee-Report-508.pdf> and the National Alzheimer’s Plan of Action<aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-document/national-plan-address-alzheimers-disease-2015-update>.
Supervisory Positions within the BSR Office of the Director Interested parties should contact Lis Nielsen (Lisbeth.Nielsen@nih.gov<mailto:Lisbeth.Nielsen@nih.gov>).
• Director: Office of Behavioral and Social Clinical Trials Support (Supervisory GS-15) – The successful candidate will lead this new office in BSR, overseeing pre-award policy compliance, risk management, training, outreach, and administrative support for BSR’s ever increasing number of clinical trials, including behavioral interventions and pragmatic trials, conducted in a range of community, healthcare, and institutional settings, and spanning both scientific branches of the division. The ideal candidate will have depth knowledge of NIH Clinical Trials policies and procedures, familiarity with the unique challenges of behavioral and social interventions and pragmatic trials, and the ability to provide outreach and develop funding opportunities in line with the NIH Stage Model and mechanisms-focused behavior change research. The director will develop and manage a portfolio of intervention research in one of BSR’s aging and/or Alzheimer’s-related areas of emphasis, aligned with his/her area of expertise. The director will also and represent BSR on NIA and NIH Clinical Trials working groups.
• Director: Office of Research Resources (Supervisory GS-15) – BSR has long championed expanding access to program data from public health and social programs (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.) to support research on how behavioral and social factors impact health at older ages, resulting in a dramatic increase in demand for these data as well as linkage to other high value data sources such as longitudinal health and social surveys. The director will oversee activities to support a wide range of data infrastructure projects, both to promote replicability of scientific research on aging and Alzheimer’s disease, and to ensure the most cost-effective use of data resources, while safeguarding confidentiality of subjects. Activities would include outreach, training, development, and maintenance of web-based resources to support data-driven BSR science. The director will also develop and manage a portfolio of intervention research in one of BSR’s aging and/or Alzheimer’s-related areas of emphasis, related to ORR activities, and within his/her area of expertise and will represent NIA/BSR in cross-NIH/agency activities related to data capture, harmonization, and sharing that have grown rapidly over the last year as a result of COVID-19.
Office of Research Resources – Health Specialist/Social Science Analyst (2 positions) Interested parties should contact Dana Plude (Dana.Plude@nih.gov<mailto:Dana.Plude@nih.gov>). BSR’s Office of Research Resources supports a wide range of data infrastructure projects, both to promote replicability of scientific research on aging and Alzheimer’s disease, and to ensure the most cost-effective use of data resources, while safeguarding confidentiality of subjects. BSR has long championed expanding access to program data from public health and social programs (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.) to support research on how behavioral and social factors impact health at older ages, resulting in a dramatic increase in demand for these data as well as linkage to other high value data sources such as longitudinal health and social surveys. The combination of expanding data opportunities, high demand for access, increased concerns about inappropriate disclosures, and the complexities of developing sharing agreements requires more staff support to facilitate access for researchers. • Office of Research Resources Health Specialist/Social Science Analyst – The successful candidate(s) will support all functions of this office, including tracking data use agreements, developing Inter-Agency Agreements and contracts, overseeing aspects of data linkage and sharing arrangements, and conducting data assessment and market research for the development of public/private partnerships to develop more administrative data linkages.
* * * * * * * SUBMIT YOUR CV AND GET UPDATES ON APPLICATION DEADLINES! Interested candidates who wish to be considered for any of these positions are encouraged to send a CV and a sample publication to NIAJobs@mail.nih.gov<mailto:NIAJobs@mail.nih.gov>. Please specify the position in which you are interested. We will contact you when formal job announcements associated with these positions are posted on usajobs.gov.
Candidates must be US citizens. All applicants will receive consideration without regard to ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. DHHS, NIH and NIA are Equal Opportunity Employers. The work site is in Bethesda, Maryland. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience; excellent benefits are offered. The positions will be posted at the GS 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 federal government salary grades, with an annual salary between $72,750 and $172,500. All inquiries will remain confidential.

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