Research Scientist I

Posting Number: #023-21

Position Title: Research Scientist I

Closing Date: Until Filled

Location: Oakland, CA (Remote)

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Program Summary

Cannabis legalization is sweeping the nation. Is it creating a new tobacco industry and addicting youth or is it a force for social justice? What are the right policies to regulate this emerging industry? Help us find the answers. We are recruiting a research scientist to work on our Getting it Right from the Start: Advancing Public Health & Equity in Cannabis  Policy project, which is part of PHI’s Prevention Policy group. The project works at the interface of research and policy advocacy. The main initial focus of this position is a study examining how cannabis policy varies across jurisdictions in California and how that affects use by youth. The selected candidate will also collaborate on research ranging in topics from use during pregnancy to the effects of marijuana ads on teen vs older people’s brains.  We are looking for an individual with strong research skills particularly in quantitative methods and longitudinal analyses methods, as we are tracking change over time in key health outcomes in relation to state and local policy.  If you think that may be you, please apply.

Position Summary

Under the supervision of the Research Director, the Research Scientist I (RSI) is responsible for applying knowledge, skills, and experience and performing complex data analysis related to cannabis epidemiology and law. The RSI will be responsible for managing a research study, coordinating with external partners and providing epidemiological support for study design and data analysis, creating, managing and analyzing databases, and managing project activities for research purposes. This is interdisciplinary cannabis research looking primarily at determinants of youth use that spans law, epidemiologic methods, biostatistics, substance use, and some marketing research. A strong background in quantitative methods, particularly experience conducting longitudinal analysis is required; experience with nested models and time series-analysis is desirable.

The RSI will participate in drafting scientific publications, summary materials, and presentations as well as grant writing activities, including budget development and management. Based on performance, the RSI will have future opportunities to become credentialed and apply for external funding for independent research projects.

The RSI will work under the supervision of the senior and research directors to a) maintain the California Cannabis Local laws Database, and 2) analyze the California Healthy Kids Survey Data on cannabis use by California teens in relation to variation in local cannabis law over time. They will also have the opportunity to work with other research projects of the group which primarily focus on the interface between how cannabis policy is being implemented and what the effects are on a range of health and utilization outcomes, as well as to support the team’s policy advocacy efforts. The RSI will be the lead analyst in the use of longitudinal analysis such as time series and other methods for examining changes in youth use over time in relation to policy changes. The RSI will advise on methods and may help other staff or interns, and as needed, delegate work, and resolve problems to support research activities.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Lead, coordinate and collaborate with internal and external researchers on an existing project examining youth use of cannabis in relation to local law in the State of California;
  • Conduct cross-sectional and longitudinal statistical analyses utilizing the California Healthy Kids Survey, and the California Cannabis Local Laws Database over a 5 year period encompassing legalization;
  • Provide statistical and analytic support to other research projects of the group;
  • Develop and track project task lists, ensuring deliverables are met, drafting progress reports for funding agencies, and monitoring project budgets;
  • Support development of new projects and funding opportunities by developing budgets, scope of work, submitting applications for IRB approval, and providing scientific support;
  • Support advocacy and dissemination efforts around cannabis policy and public health, including providing data support;
  • Present and summarize data at public forums, in peer-reviewed journals, reports, and at scientific conferences;
  • Maintain professional competence by studying scientific and technical literature, by attending approved continuing education classes, and by participating in conferences and symposiums.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • At least 3 years of research experience in public health or social sciences;
  • Experience with statistical software, Stata desirable and/or SAS or SPSS;
  • Strong background in epidemiologic and statistical methods;
  • Demonstrated abilities in independent development of research questions, strong analytical, mathematical and quantitative skills;
  • Experience with quantitative methods such as longitudinal analysis, and ideally including nested models and time series analysis.
  • History of publication in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Excellent judgment and decision-making skills;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently with little supervision and to manage multiple tasks simultaneously;
  • Ability to work as a member of a team;
  • Computer literacy, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Desired Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in epidemiology, biostatistics, public health, social sciences or another relevant field with knowledge and experience of relevant quantitative research methods is preferred.
  • Experience with qualitative methods and with GIS, and experience writing grants and developing budgets.

Important Information

  • This is a full-time position.
  • This position is currently remote and is expected to return to the regular office location in the Oakland area mid to late 2021.
  • The position is expected to start around February 2021.

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.

To apply for any position, you must create an account on the Public Health Institute’s job application site. After creating your account, you may search the open positions and apply for the specific position that interests you. Please note, mailed and emailed applications will not be accepted.

We’re so pleased the Public Health Institute is an organization you would like to work with. Do you have questions about this opportunity? If so, email our recruitment team at

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