Public Health Program Specialist, US COVID-19 Response Initiative
Posted: September 14, 2020
Forsyth County Department of Public Health (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 low- and middle-income countries to improve cardiovascular health and 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 / Resolve to Save Lives 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 impact, innovation and to document and disseminate best practices.
The Public Health Program Specialist will be a member of the Vital Strategies / Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response Team and will be embedded in Forsyth County Department of Public Health
(Winston Salem, North Carolina area) to support the department’s COVID response efforts. The focus of the position will be on strengthening the effectiveness and impact of COVID-19 prevention and control activities. Though primarily operating as an embedded team member of the local health jurisdiction, the incumbent will maintain a close partnership with Vital Strategies/Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response cross-functional team of epidemiologists, evaluators, and program consultants for knowledge sharing and to ensure consistency of methods and recommendations.
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 Forsyth County, North Carolina.
In close collaboration with local health department staff and the Resolve to Save Lives US COVID Response Initiative’s Senior Public Health Advisor, the Public Health Program Specialist will:
- Provide dedicated public health surge support to the health department to effectively implement prevention and control strategies for COVID–19 in the jurisdiction
- Support the identification of facilitators and barriers to effective COVID response in the jurisdiction
- Support the development and implementation of strategies to effectively address barriers (e.g., creating protocols, defining workflows, identifying data collection and analysis needs, adjusting staffing, re-allocating funding)
- Assist with developing strategies for the most effective, efficient, and rapid allocation of money from various funding streams
- Work with health department staff to plan, implement, and continuously improve an effective COVID response program in the jurisdiction, including the following:
- Effective use of data to guide the program and improve its performance
- Effective testing strategies appropriate to the jurisdiction’s populations and needs
- Data flow that ensures cases are quickly identified at the local health department level
- Effective, efficient contract tracing and testing
- Rapid, effective isolation of cases and quarantine of contacts
- Provisions for easily accessible social and other services to support individuals in isolation or quarantine
- Use of alert-level systems to communicate risk and responses appropriate to risk level
- Support the coordination of activities with other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and internal and external stakeholders
- Ensure that mechanisms are in place for sustaining effective COVID response after the project ends
- Support documentation of lessons learned and sharing of them with other health department jurisdictions in the state and more broadly
- Other duties as assigned
Required competencies and qualifications:
- Master’s degree or higher in public health or related field, with 7 or more years of relevant work experience in public health practice
- Experience planning and working in large-scale public health programs (contact tracing or related program a big plus)
- Demonstrated experience working collaboratively, fostering, and maintaining partnerships across institutions or sectors
- Proven analytical skills
- Clear, effective, and highly efficient writing skills
- Exceptional organizational and project management skills
- Demonstrated ability to work under pressure and deliver against tight deadlines
- Well-developed interpersonal communication skills for harmonious teamwork
- Understanding of health policy and regulatory issues concerning public health
- Excellent computer skills (experience with electronic case management systems desirable)
- Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, high pressure environment with multiple stakeholders
How to Apply: Submit your CV and a cover letter describing your experience and suitability for this role to: Forsyth Public Health Program. Applications accepted until position is filled.
Vital Strategies aims to recruit the candidate 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.