Executive Director

Posting Number: #1750

Position Title: Executive Director

Closing Date: Until Filled

Location: California (Remote)

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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.


The Public Health Institute (PHI) is seeking to recruit a Research Program Director to serve as Executive Director and Principal Investigator for long-established priority PHI programs and initiatives including Tracking California, and the Achieving Resilient Communities (ARC) Project, that work to advance research, policy, public health surveillance, and community engagement strategies to improve public health, well-being, and health equity.

PHI’s programs work to promote environmental justice and health equity to advance a vision where all people, regardless of location, identity, or income, can live in healthy communities protected from environmental hazards. To achieve this goal, PHI’s programs, initiatives, and projects such as Tracking California, work with community groups, government agencies, researchers, and health advocates to shine a spotlight on environmental hazards and other factors that may be impacting community health.

The ideal candidate shall:

  • Bring a vision to positively impact public health, with an emphasis on environmental health data and with a collaborative approach to project development that emphasizes strong, respectful partnership with impacted communities.
  • Have expertise in environmental health data and research, experience working directly with communities and the ability to bring new community, non-governmental and governmental partnerships to the program and build on existing collaborations.
  • Have demonstrated connections with community groups and other collaborators, including academic, nongovernmental and government partners and funders.
  • Have a collaborative management style, with a commitment to mentorship, staff growth, and principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ideally have expertise and interest in more than one of the current program strategic priorities including Healthy Air, Water, and Homes; Community Empowerment; Climate Change and and Resilience; and Health Equity and Environmental Justice.

Position Summary

The Research Program Director II (RPD II) will serve as Executive Director and Principal Investigator responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction, executive leadership, and management for  long-established priority Public Health Institute (PHI) programs and initiatives including Tracking California, and the Achieving Resilient Communities (ARC) Project.

The RPD II provides overall leadership and scientific oversight of a longstanding and  interdisciplinary team—with expertise in environmental health surveillance, health communications, policy, and community engaged research—to plan and implement activities related to PHI’s mission and program priorities. Responsibilities include establishing program strategies; supervising senior program staff; developing and maintaining partnerships with state and federal agencies, foundations, and other donors; and highlighting relevant initiatives and policy priorities through media appearances, national conferences, and presentations.

The RPD II works to enhance and strengthen PHI’s portfolio of U.S. domestic and global programs in the areas of environmental health, climate change, public health surveillance and tracking, and  works to promote program sustainability through fundraising, resource development, and multi-year grant proposals. The RPD II will promote synergistic planning, program expansion, and new business and funding opportunities at a state, national and global level and will actively work to facilitate coordination with other PHI PI/PDs and program colleagues to promote integration of new initiatives and projects with other parts of the PHI organization whenever possible.

The RPD II is also responsible for building partnerships that may focus on cross-disciplinary collaborations, translational research, fundraising, and/or specific environmental health topic(s). Additionally, the RPD II works to ensure that health and environmental data necessary for this program and all its projects is secured on an ongoing basis. This includes collaborating with the Program Director of the Rare Diseases Surveillance Program (a subprogram of Tracking California) to obtain Medicaid and Genetic Screening data.

The RPD II is credentialed as a Principal Investigator at PHI. This position reports to the Chief Programs, Policy, and Government Relations Officer.

This is a full-time position with 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.

This is a California-based remote position that is expected to travel in the state of California to attend meetings.

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

  • Responsible for overall management of PHI programs including Tracking California, and the ARC Project, leading a diverse staff team of research scientists, health educators and other project, policy, and administrative staff.
  • Serve as Principal Investigator of several current PHI projects including the National Environmental Public Health Tracking (NEPHT) cooperative agreement with the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ensure project, the ARC Project, and the Climate Health Adaptation and Resilience Mobilizing (CHARM) Lake County project.  In each project, support the staff team in implementing the grant’s scope of work and ensuring all contract deliverables are met..
  • Collaborate and coordinate with other PHI programs in business development, research collaboration, and mentorship of staff.
  • Provide vision and strategic counsel for work within PHI on priority public health and environmental health issues such as air pollution, pesticides, water contamination, and climate change health impacts and collaborate with other PHI programs to expand PHI’s work in these areas.
  • Manage and implement a comprehensive strategy to identify and secure additional funding sources, writing research proposals and developing grant applications that will ensure a strong and robust research portfolio.
  • Conceptualize, propose, conduct, and coordinate epidemiologic research projects that support Tracking California objectives to move data to action.
  • Oversee and support the implementation of research and interventions that value and support deep and authentic engagement of community and engage with local community partners to provide information and understand their concerns.
  • As appropriate, manage IRB submissions, ensure protection of human subjects, and oversee data collection and analysis.
  • Provide scientific mentorship to research scientists, research associates, interns, and support staff, ensuring adequate training is available, encouraging development of research proposals, and dissemination of results and presentations for professional meetings.
  • Lead development of manuscripts for publication; participate in the national and statewide dialogue on environmental health as appropriate. Support staff in publishing their work.
  • Disseminate results of data analyses, including authoring professional manuscripts, presenting at professional conferences, and working with PHI Communications to disseminate findings to the media and the public.
  • Promote data utilization and consult with internal and external researchers, government representatives, and community groups who wish to use Tracking California data for research, surveillance and/or advocacy.
  • Serve as a media spokesperson on behalf of PHI on topic areas included but not limited to environmental health and the public health implications for the climate crisis.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with a wide variety of key stakeholders and organizations including CDC, U.S. EPA, California state agencies such as Cal/EPA, other U.S. state partners, and other groups to chart the future of environmental health surveillance and research.
  • Serve on relevant state and national committees.
  • Supervise, lead, and mentor (shared) program staff; recruit, train, and manage new staff and ensure that employee annual performance reviews are completed on time in accordance with PHI procedures.
  • Provide support and mentorship to other program staff to develop into a PI role on projects, and lead recruitment of other researchers to collaborate as Principal Investigators. Work to promote racial diversity in program leadership.
  • Assure and hold program staff accountable for ethical, legal, and scientific integrity in all program activities, including knowledge of and adherence to all federal and state laws.
  • Oversight of program budget, in consultation and collaboration with program staff and the PHI G&C specialist and monitor and meet all post-award reporting requirements.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

  • Experienced public health or environmental health professional with at least 7 years of relevant research experience.
  • 5 years of experience as a manager.
  • Master’s Degree.

Other Qualifications

  • Demonstrated leadership skills in vision setting, innovation, and program building.
  • Effective communication skills in dealing with clients, partners, and other public health professionals with ability to build personal relationships with staff, donor partners, government leaders, and nongovernmental, academic, and community partners at all levels, and to approach any communications and engagement with humility and respect.
  • Experience in the successful creative business development including preparation of concept and proposal development with proven track record successfully securing research funding and demonstrated knowledge of local, state, federal and private sector grant making.
  • Experience in managing programs, staff, and cross-functional team efforts with ability to lead a diverse, committed, and professional (mostly remote) staff team.
  • Strong initiative and self-motivation, with a commitment to teamwork and effectiveness within participatory management environment that supports excellence, collaboration, and a healthy work-life balance.
  • Experience and ability to serve as the responsible authority for research grants including federal and state research grants.
  • Experience with environmental health surveillance and knowledge and experience in environmental epidemiology, including study design, research methods, and data analysis.
  • Experience in writing and submitting human subject protocols.
  • Proven track record in successful publication of peer-reviewed scientific publications.
  • Demonstrated ability to build partnerships and attract research talent.
  • Knowledge and experience in at least one environmental epidemiology sub-specialty, such as air pollution or drinking water epidemiology is desirable.
  • Knowledge of informatics, health information exchange, meaningful use, and technological developments in the health care and public health arenas is desirable.
  • Demonstrated experience in deep and authentic engagement of community, including through community-based participatory research (CBPR). This may include investing time and creating space for reflective thought, establishing trust, and problem solving within community stakeholders, and convening community partners to allow for evaluation, iteration, and refinement of community engagement activities and equity planning.
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to equity-centered environmental health analyses and research methods.
  • Strong commitment to stated program values with deep understanding of core social and economic constructs and how they impact health, including health, gender, and racial equity, economic justice, environmental justice and climate change, social determinants of health, and the root causes of institutional and structural racism.
  • Demonstrated commitment to centering Black voices and voices of indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) within public health or environmental health research, and ability to include lived experience and perspectives in dismantling Anti-Blackness and other forms of racism in public health research and translation of research.
  • High degree of flexibility and adaptability with ability to solve complex problems.
  • Ability to vision and collaborate on securing the future of California’s environmental health tracking system and knowledge of U.S. and international public health environment.
  • Doctorate in public health epidemiology or related field highly preferred.


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.

EEO Statement

The Public Health Institute is committed to a policy that provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition including genetic characteristics, physical or mental disability, veteran status, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, and to make all employment decisions so as to further this principle of equal employment opportunity. To this end, the PHI will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition including genetic characteristics, physical or mental disability, veteran status, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, and will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are offered employment and employees are treated during employment without regard to these characteristics.

For further information regarding Equal Employment Opportunity, copy and paste the following URL into your web browser:

ADA Statement:

The Public Health Institute is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Recruitment Team at least 48 hours in advance at


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