Senior Research and Evaluation Specialist – Public Health

September 22, 2022
San Jose, CA
Job Type


Under general direction, to plan, organize, and direct the activities focused on research and evaluation of an agency/department's program and service performance outcomes; to develop and validate new service technologies and best practice models of service delivery; and to establish partnerships with other agencies, departments, universities, and organizations to share and leverage research resources as appropriate.

The Public Health Department's newly formed Science Branch has multiple openings for full time Senior Research and Evaluation Specialists. These staff will join a team of public health professionals who support the Department's broad array of research and evaluation efforts: from designing evaluation plans, to coordinating data collection and analysis, and disseminating findings from diverse research activities. In addition, staff in these positions will work closely with program staff across the PHD, supporting better use of data for public health decision-making. We are especially interested in candidates with experience working on research and evaluation activities in the areas of environmental health (particularly wastewater data analysis), candidates with strong background and experience in qualitative methods, and/or candidates comfortable working with academic partners.

In addition to the employment standards, a qualified candidate must possess work experience in the following areas:

  • Professional work experience in which the majority of the responsibilities of the position(s) involved conducting research and/or evaluation in public health, environmental health, population health, health, and/or healthcare or a closely related field.

The Ideal Candidate:
Has experience in at least one of the following areas:

  • Developing and coordinating research, evaluation, and/or special studies around environmental health and/or wastewater surveillance with community, government, and/or academic partners
  • Designing and conducting data analysis using healthcare data, such as data from electronic health records or other data sources.
  • Designing and conducting qualitative research and evaluation, including conducting and analyzing data from focus groups, interviews, and/or observations; in particular, experience designing and conducting studies using a Community-Based Participatory Research framework, or similar.
  • Working with internal and external stakeholders to define priorities for research, evaluation, and/or special studies; on study implementation; and assist with interpretation and application of findings to practice and policy and dissemination of findings

The ideal candidate would also:

  • Be able to use statistical software and/or qualitative software at an intermediate level
  • Have strong verbal and written communication skills, ability to adjust to changing priorities, flexible, and interested in working in a team environment

Typical Tasks

The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification. However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level. Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

  • Leads applied research, evaluation, and assessment studies, as well as cost-benefit analysis on various agency departmental programs/services and community needs, to increase knowledge to support recommendations for best practices for agency programs and services;
  • Assists management in defining appropriate research and evaluation agendas, goals, and measures required to implement and evaluate program services;
  • Implements funded research and evaluation studies in compliance with funding agency standards;
  • Assists with the preparation and submission of Institutional Review Board proposals;
  • Develops and manages research and evaluation grants and contracts;
  • Applies expertise to select appropriate research and evaluation designs including data sampling methods, and collection procedures, and analytical strategies;
  • Functions as a project lead and may supervise a small number of staff in activities related to research and evaluation;
  • Coordinates or directs monitoring and evaluations of departmental and contracted services, including the development of designs, criteria, and procedures;
  • Identifies grant opportunities and grant preparation for research, evaluation, needs assessment, and outcome measurement projects, based on agency needs;
  • Acts as the principal liaison with grant writers and collaborates with principals in other agencies to support grant writing activities;
  • Oversees preparation of reports and presents findings on research and evaluation results for various audiences and submits manuscripts to peer-reviewed publications and/or conferences;
  • Acts as a departmental resource on questions related to relevant research projects;
  • Maintains on-going liaison relationship with local governments, community organizations, planning agencies, and private groups;
  • Monitors compliance with terms of grants received in collaboration with other program and finance staff;
  • Assists in selection, supervision, direction, and evaluation of staff, and ensures their orientation, training, and development;
  • Research studies using qualitative and quantitative methods, including but not limited to regression analysis, weighting techniques, imputation, advanced modeling, interviews, focus groups, and participatory methods;
  • Conducts structured literature reviews and policy analysis using academic databases and mainstream search engines on topics relevant to the research and evaluation study;
  • May be assigned as a Disaster Service Worker (DSW), as required*;
  • Performs other related duties, as required.

Employment Standards
Sufficient education, training, and experience to demonstrate the ability to perform the above tasks, plus the possession and direct application of the following knowledge and abilities:

Training and Experience Note: The required knowledge and abilities are attained through possession of a Master's Degree or higher in Business Administration, Biostatistics, Criminal Justice, Epidemiology, Health Services, Public Administration, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Work, Social Sciences, Statistics, or a related field.


Three (3) years of full-time experience conducting research, evaluation, or related activities in an academic or professional setting. Experience must include completion of one (1) academic or professional research project, the findings of which were disseminated through publication, and participation in one (1) professional presentation.

A Doctoral Degree in Business Administration, Biostatistics, Criminal Justice, Epidemiology, Health Services, Public Administration, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Work, Social Sciences, Statistics, or a related field may substitute for one (1) year of the required experience.

Special Requirements

  • Ability to travel to alternate locations in the course of work. If driving, possession of a valid California driver's license prior to appointment and the ability to qualify for and maintain a County driver authorization.
  • *As a condition of employment, pursuant to California Government Code Sections 3100-3109 and Local Ordinance, all County of Santa Clara employees are designated Disaster Service Workers (DSWs), including extra help. A DSW is required to complete all assigned DSW-related training, and in the event of an emergency, return to work as ordered.

Knowledge of:

  • Principles of government organization and administration;
  • Principles and techniques of fiscal and program management;
  • Principles and techniques of management, supervision, and training;
  • Current trends in National, Federal, State, and local field-relevant research and evaluation methodologies in relation to programs, policies, and/or services;
  • Researching funding sources and writing persuasive grant proposals;
  • Best practices, evidence-based practices, and web-based resources, including command of the empirical literature and policies relevant to the field of practice;
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods, including research design, interviewing protocols, instrument design, sampling, data collection, etc.;
  • Database conventions and performance measures;
  • Standard and statistical software applications;
  • English usage, style, grammar, punctuation, and spelling;
  • Common computer applications, including word processing and spreadsheets;
  • Principles and methods of advanced statistical modeling, such as multivariate regression analysis, categorical data analysis, structural equation modeling, etc.

Ability to:

  • Lead research and evaluation studies and collaborate with directors and managers of County agencies and departments in defining research objectives;
  • Use research findings to recommend evidence-based best practices for agency programs and services and to make informed policy recommendations;
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures;
  • Write, present, and negotiate grant applications;
  • Conceptualize research study from development of research question to analytic strategies and presentation of findings;
  • Analyze, interpret, prepare, and present data related to research and evaluation findings to a broad audience, including peer-reviewed publications;
  • Use qualitative and quantitative research methods in applied public and direct service settings;
  • Initiate, plan, and complete work assignments with a minimum amount of supervision;
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work, at all levels, including colleagues, the public, and representatives of other agencies.

Closing Date/Time: 10/18/2022 11:59 PM Pacific

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