Director, Tracking California

Posting Number: #1824

Position Title: Director, Tracking California

Closing Date: Until Filled

Location: Remote, USA

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The Public Health Institute (PHI) is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. As one of the largest and most comprehensive public health organizations in the nation, we are at the forefront of research and innovations to improve the efficacy of public health statewide, nationally, and internationally.

PHI was distinguished as one of the top 50 “Best Non-Profit Organizations to Work For” by the Non-Profit Times in a national search.


The Public Health Institute (PHI) is seeking an outstanding and visionary leader in the field of environmental health and climate change  to serve as Director for its long-established program, Tracking California. Tracking California’s mission is to mobilize data for public health action  (see Tracking California promotes justice  and health equity by working with community groups, government agencies, researchers, and health advocates to shine a spotlight on environmental hazards, climate change and other factors that may be impacting community health.


Position Summary

The Research Program Director II serves as the Director of Tracking California and will be Principal Investigator for several research and other public health projects within the Tracking California program as well as the Achieving Resilient Communities project. The Director is responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction and programmatic leadership for Tracking California and its affiliate, the Achieving Resilient Communities (ARC) Project. The  Director is also responsible for securing funding resources for Tracking California and spearheading multi-year grant proposals.

The Director provides leadership and scientific direction for an interdisciplinary team—which has expertise in climate change and environmental health research and surveillance, health communications, policy, and community engaged research. The Director also collaborates with leadership of other PHI programs and works to enhance and strengthen PHI’s portfolio of projects U.S. and global programs in the areas of environmental health and climate change research. This position works to advance the program’s strategic priorities including program expansion, and funding opportunities at a state, national and global level. The position collaborates with ARC and other PHI programs’ leadership to integrate new initiatives and projects focused on the climate crisis and environmental health as synergies are identified.

The Director will be credentialed as a Principal Investigator at the Public Health Institute (PHI), reporting to the PHI’s Associate Vice President for Research Programs.

This is a regular full-time position. There is some flexibility to change to part-time to accommodate other part-time commitments such as academic appointments. The starting FTE will be determined upon hire.

Strong preference will be given to California-based candidates with consideration provided to candidates located elsewhere in the United States dependent on exceptional qualifications and experience. This position works remotely, with required regular visits across California and other regular business travel required.

Full salary range for this position: $140,759 to $219,794 per year. The typical hiring range for this position is from $140,759 (minimum) to $180, 277 (midpoint), based on 100% FTE. The starting salary is determined based on the candidate’s knowledge, skills, experience, as well as budget availability.

Employment Type: Full Time

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Overall management of Tracking California and its affiliate, the ARC Project, leading a diverse team of research scientists, health educators and other project, policy, management and administrative staff.
  • Provide vision and strategic direction on Program activities related to environmental health and climate change issues in support of Tracking California’s mission to mobilize data for action.
  • Serve as Principal Investigator of several current PHI projects including the National Environmental Public Health Tracking cooperative agreement with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ARC Project, the Climate Health Adaptation and Resilience Mobilizing (CHARM) Lake County project, and the Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma Tribal Resilience Initiative on Air quality and Drought (MLS-TRIAD). Ensure successful completion of scopes of work.
  • Lead, manage, and implement a comprehensive strategy to identify and secure funding sources by conceptualizing research proposals and working with staff team to develop grant applications that will ensure a robust research portfolio.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with a wide variety of key stakeholders and organizations including CDC, U.S. EPA, California state agencies such as CalEPA, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic and other partners to chart the future of environmental health surveillance and research.
  • Oversee and support implementation of projects that value and support deep and authentic engagement of community. Engage with community partners to provide information and understand their concerns.
  • Disseminate results of data analyses, including authoring professional manuscripts, presenting at professional conferences, participating in the national and statewide dialogue on environmental health as appropriate, and working with PHI Communications to disseminate findings to the media and the public.
  • Serve as a media spokesperson on behalf of PHI, working to strengthen and expand recognition for PHI’s leadership in environmental health and climate-related research and surveillance.
  • As appropriate, manage IRB submissions, ensure protection of human subjects, and oversee data collection and analysis. Hold program staff accountable for ethical, legal, and scientific integrity in program activities, including knowledge of and adherence to all federal and state laws.
  • Use a collaborative management style, with a commitment to mentorship and staff growth, and serve as a champion and steward of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Program.
  • Provide scientific mentorship to program staff, ensuring adequate training is available, encouraging development of research proposals, and supporting dissemination of results through authoring publications and presenting at professional meetings. Support and mentor staff to develop into PI and other leadership roles on projects, and recruit other researchers to collaborate as Principal Investigators. Ensure that employee annual performance reviews are completed on time in accordance with PHI procedures.
  • Oversee program budget, in consultation and collaboration with Program and PHI central staff, and monitor and meet all post-award reporting requirements.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications

  • Experienced environmental health or climate change professional with at least 7 years of research experience in one or more of the subject areas of the program, and capacity to provide scientific mentorship to staff.
  • Evidence of grant, contract or fundraising success with multi-year proposals in areas of environmental health or climate change.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience as a manager and supervisor of administrative and research staff.
  • Master’s Degree in public health or related field.

Other Qualifications

  • Evidence of grant, contract or fundraising success with multi-year proposals above the $100K level in areas of environmental health or climate change.
  • Demonstrable evidence of capacity to secure funding awards to support the vision and goals of the Program, augmenting or building from existing work or resources.
  • Experience and ability to serve as the responsible authority for research grants including federal and state awards.
  • Experience with climate change and environmental health research and surveillance with expertise in at least one environmental epidemiology sub-specialty, such as air pollution, drinking water quality, and climate change impacts.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in vision setting, innovation, and program building, including attracting research talent.
  • Experience in managing programs, staff, and cross-functional team efforts with ability to lead a diverse, committed, and professional (mostly remote) staff team.
  • Commitment to teamwork and effectiveness within a participatory management environment that supports excellence, collaboration, and a healthy work-life balance.
  • Strong commitment to program approach of working collaboratively with impacted communities, building strong and respectful partnerships and grounding work in community empowerment, health and environmental justice.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Knowledge of epidemiologic methods, including study design and research and analysis methods.
  • Effective communication skills and ability to build personal relationships with staff, funder partners, government leaders, and nongovernmental, academic, and community partners at all levels, and to approach any communications and engagement with humility and respect.
  • Proven track record in successful publication of peer-reviewed scientific publications.
  • Doctorate in public health epidemiology or related field.


Important Information

  • Submission of a cover letter and CV/resume is required to be considered for this position.



This position is classified as exempt based on the job duties. However, based on the FTE, salary level of the employee, or federal/state/local laws, the employee may be classified as nonexempt.



Per the PHI Workforce Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, it is a condition of employment for all domestic based employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless they are granted a reasonable accommodation under applicable law.

New hires need to provide proof of full vaccination prior to their start date or apply for an exemption/accommodation within three business days after their start date. Depending on the circumstances, new hires who do not comply with this Policy, or who cannot be reasonably accommodated, will either have their employment suspended or terminated. Candidates who are non-compliant will have their offers rescinded.


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