Research and Evaluation Director

Posting Number: #1116

Position Title: Research and Evaluation Director

Closing Date: Until Filled

Location: Remote (Sacramento, CA)

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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.

Position Summary

Under the direction of the Program Director III (PD), the Research and Evaluation Director (Director) leads the Center for Wellness and Nutrition’s research and evaluation (R&E) team and is part of CWN’s senior leadership team which sets the organization wide strategy for implementation of the vision and mission using a health equity framework. CWN’s current priority focus areas include increasing access to and consumption of healthier foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, decreasing consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages, increasing consumption of water; increasing physical activity opportunities throughout the day, and preventing obesity and chronic diseases.

The Director leads the proposal, development, execution, and publication of results to inform decision making, advise clients, and make recommendations. The Director oversees a wide range of evaluation projects including process, formative, outcome, and impact evaluation studies; formative research and population studies; Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) change evaluations; and other evaluation projects as required.

Director led projects involves working largely on extremely complex problems where analysis of situations or data requires an evaluation of intangible variance factors. And the incumbent exercises independent judgment in developing methods, techniques, and evaluation criterion for obtaining results.

The Director acts as work unit manager supervising lower-level researchers according to organization policies and applicable laws and ensuring that budgets, schedules, and performance requirements are met. The position is accountable for the work results produced by the work team. The work unit duties include designing studies, evaluations, and data collection protocols; creating and managing databases; collecting, managing and analyzing data; and reporting results to a variety of audiences.  The Director also coaches R&E colleagues in data analysis and writing to produce scientific publications, summary materials and reports, policy briefs and oral presentations.

The Director is responsible for applying advanced knowledge, skills, and experience in research and evaluation methodologies; quantitative (descriptive and inferential) and qualitative data analyses; and knowledge and application of the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed) Evaluation Framework and other such frameworks. Duties in large part focus on supporting statewide SNAP-Ed evaluation projects, regional data analyses, participatory action research, public health frameworks, and program evaluation for projects in a variety of topic areas including social marketing, nutrition education initiatives, healthy retail and food access initiatives, food and nutrition security, and health equity.

The position is responsible for providing subject-matter expertise and consultation to clients. And the Director is also tasked with establishing and maintaining a network of relationships with internal PHI programs and external organizations and agencies to promote CWN’s services and reputation and identify and pursue business development and research funding opportunities.

The salary range for hiring  the Director of Research and Evaluation is $108,847 -$123,371, depending on the chosen candidate’s qualifications and knowledge, skills and experience.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Supervises research and/or evaluation project development and conduct studies. Leads teams in the formulation of ideas through selection of methods; project implementation and management; data collection; data storage, management, and lifecycle planning; analyses and reporting. Directly supervises a work unit staff of evaluators and researchers (currently six) at varying levels and career stages.
  • Guides R&E team in advising and engaging stakeholders to use data for decision making. This includes the writing of evaluation reports, research briefs, as well as manuscripts for publication. Prepares abstracts and presents oral and poster presentations for general, decision-makers, professional, and scientific audiences. Ensures a high quality of work products generated by the work unit, executed with professional and scientific integrity, on behalf of clients and CWN.
  • Acts as PI for several research and evaluation projects at CWN. Develops evaluation designs, proposals, and IRBs; plans, budgets, and implements evaluation projects; coordinates evaluations with program staff; directs evaluation project-team leaders; leads problem solving; develops, reviews, and vets’ analysis plans; and oversees data management and use.
  • Leads, coaches, and mentors Research and Evaluation staff in working closely with program staff as part of various project teams to understand and meet the needs of the intended programs and clients, to apply and comply with applicable evaluation frameworks, and, to collaborate on establishing the basis for the various evaluation tasks, including clarifying the primary intended use and other intended uses for the findings, identifying key evaluation questions, determining methods for data collection and analysis, clarifying resources needed to answer evaluation questions, and identifying how to support the primary use of the findings.
  • Builds and maintains a network of relationships with internal and external partners to secure additional funding and research projects, as well as to promote CWN’s service and reputation. Collaborates with the senior leadership team at CWN and consults with client organizations to select and implement appropriate strategies and methods. Proposes research and evaluation development opportunities, as well as general CWN business opportunities. Leads writing of grant applications.
  • Directly supervises senior research and evaluation staff. Manages HR issues in coordination with Deputy Director, research and evaluation managers, and the HR Coordinator, and, as appropriate, with the program director.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • At least seven years of relevant post PhD evaluation experience or at least 11 years of relevant post Master’s evaluation experience is required. Five years of management experience is preferred.
  • Ability to build, foster, and successfully lead a team of skilled researchers and evaluators and effectively collaborate with program experts and program project teams.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of program evaluation methods and design for food security, healthy eating, and physical activity interventions and PSE strategies.
  • A thorough knowledge of public health evaluation, various evaluation frameworks, and mixed-method research approaches.
  • A thorough knowledge of SNAP-Ed or other USDA nutrition program needs, framework and guidance and USDA reporting requirements is required to develop applicable and appropriate data collection systems, as well as to ensure a robust ability to collaborate with program staff on projects and assess and meet client needs. Experience in global nutrition a plus.
  • Experience in working successfully with federal, state and local government organizations and programs (e.g., USDA, CDC, departments of public health) and scientific research organizations.
  • Knowledge of participatory action research and other community-based approaches to support health equity in communities who have been historically left out/underserved.
  • Demonstrated abilities in independent development of research questions, selecting evaluation designs, and drafting proposals for various types of research and evaluation projects (e.g., formative, process, outcome/effectiveness and impact evaluation).
  • Experience with the selection, adaption, and development of qualitative evaluation measures and with qualitative data collection and analysis.
  • Demonstrated abilities of independent thinking and strong analytical skills, scientific reasoning, and mathematical skills.
  • Expert writing skills: ability to provide review and edit on public and private facing documents and coach others in writing.
  • Advanced data analysis software (e.g., R, SAS, STATA, or SPSS) experience required.
  • Demonstrated ability to write successful grant applications and contract proposals.
  • History of publication in peer-review journals and/or program evaluation reports or studies, strong presentation skills with ability to present research and evaluation findings at program and scientific conferences.
  • History of securing funding for research or evaluation projects.
  • Detail oriented, but big-picture focused, with ability to direct the team on multiple projects.
  • Willing and ability to provide effective guidance and feedback to team members, including the delivery of constructive criticism when necessary.
  • Record of managing HR issues/matters.
  • Experience in consulting role is helpful.


  • A Ph.D. in nutrition, epidemiology, biostatistics, or a relevant social science or a Master’s degree in nutrition, epidemiology, biostatistics, or a relevant social science with four additional years of relevant experience is required.


  • This position is currently remote (due to COVID 19 precautions) and located in the Sacramento, CA.   It is expected that a return to the working out of the Sacramento office would be on a hybrid schedule basis. Consideration will be given to permanently remote candidates residing in California, as well as those candidates residing within the Pacific Time Zone of western USA.


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.


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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