Community Engagement Specialist, US COVID-19 Response Initiative
Posted: August 31, 2020
Marion County Public Health Department, Indiana, USA (12 Months, Full-time)
Vital Strategies is a US-based international public health organization working in more than 70 countries to address important and challenging health issues. We develop and oversee programs to strengthen public health systems and address leading causes of morbidity and mortality, providing expertise in project implementation and management, strategic communications, epidemiology and surveillance, and other core public health capacities.
Resolve to Save Lives is a global health initiative of Vital Strategies that since 2017 has been working closely with governments, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, academic and other partners in a number of countries to strengthen national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats. For more information about our Prevent Epidemics initiative, visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org/ and https://preventepidemics.org/
Vital Strategies has formed a COVID-19 Incident Management System to control and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries and the United States. Our work in the US is focused on strengthening the technical, policy and operational capacity of city and county health departments to effectively control COVID with an emphasis on vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We are working with a small number of model jurisdictions to demonstrate innovation and document and disseminate best practices.
The Community Engagement Specialist will be a member of the Vital Strategies / Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response Team and will be embedded in Marion County Public Health (Indianapolis area) to support the health department’s COVID response efforts and ensure an equity and access approach to our jurisdiction engagements and learnings. The focus of the position will be on working through jurisdictions with Black, Latinx, and Native American communities and other groups made vulnerable to the epidemic by systemic factors.
This role will primarily operate as an embedded team member of the local health jurisdiction, reporting to a senior member of the health department while receiving technical guidance from and collaborating with Vital Strategies/Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response cross-functional team of communications staff, epidemiologists, evaluators, and program consultants for knowledge sharing and to ensure consistency of messaging.
This is a full-time employment contract for a period 12 months with the employee working remotely until on-site work is possible. Once it is possible to work on-site, the Communications Specialist will be expected to be based at or spend considerable time at the appointed jurisdiction. A very strong preference will be given to applicants residing in or near to Marion County, Indiana.
In close collaboration with local health department staff and our US COVID-19 Response Team’s Senior Advisor for Community Engagement, provide support within the health department to:
- Identify populations, communities, and groups (“communities”) in the jurisdiction that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 due to systemic influences and barriers
- Identify and connect with organizations, networks, formal and informal groups and leaders, and other individuals that are part of, have knowledge of, and have influence in the identified communities
- Build and enhance contact lists for ongoing engagement
- Engage and work with the identified organizations, networks, groups, leaders, and other individuals to do the following in their communities:
- Identify factors contributing to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19
- Identify barriers to effective COVID-199 prevention and control
- Identify ways to adapt and deploy COVID-19 prevention and control measures more effectively and identify additional measures that may be effective in the community
- Ensure that COVID-19 messaging is appropriate to the community and builds trust in prevention and control initiatives
- Work with communications team locally and with the Senior Advisor for Community Engagement to identify and make sure appropriate communications materials are developed to support community acceptance of alert levels, testing, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and other prevention and control measures
- Working with communications team members, provide input and support for the implementation of public education campaigns, including traditional media and digital placement
- Ensure that appropriate data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted to accurately describe the situation in the community
- Ensure that program monitoring and evaluation adequately capture and describe the effectiveness of prevention and control measures, including communications and community engagement efforts
- Brief the USCR Team at least once a week about lessons learned in the program
- Other duties as assigned
Required competencies and qualifications:
- At least 7 years of community engagement or community relations experience with progressive increase in responsibilities
- Experience planning and implementing targeted community engagement initiatives
- Health communications experience (e.g., health policy, strategic communications, public relations, digital communications) – preferably within the US public health system
- Bachelor’s degree in social science, communications, public health, or related field or more than 7 years’ relevant work experience with demonstrated ability to effect social change
- Demonstrated cultural proficiency and experience working with diverse communities
- Strong interpersonal skills, ability to build trust and relationships with community partners
- Exceptional oral communication skills
- Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment with multiple stakeholders
- Proficiency in Spanish desirable
To Apply: Submit your CV and a cover letter describing your experience and suitability for this role to: Community Engagement Specialist - Marion Co. Applications accepted until position is filled.
Vital Strategies aims to recruit a consultant who is best suited to work within our US COVID response team and welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds – men and women, people of all ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions and beliefs. We particularly encourage applications from Black and Latinx candidates, given COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on these communities.