Assistant Research Director, Child and Family Health Policy, Margolis Center for Health Policy

Work Arrangement: 
Requisition Number:  238336
Regular or Temporary:  Regular

Durham, NC, US, 27710

Personnel Area:  UNIVERSITY
Date:  Nov 24, 2023

Duke University:


Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.




Assistant Research Director, Child and Family Health Policy (Hybrid)

Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy


The Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University (Duke-Margolis) seeks to address critical health policy challenges and improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions. The interdisciplinary nature of Duke-Margolis brings together policy experts, researchers, health care professionals, and students from across Duke’s schools of medicine, nursing, law, public policy, business, and engineering, and fosters extensive relationships with stakeholders both internal and external. These relationships span foundations, private sector organizations, state and federal governments, and global entities. The Center fosters excellence, leadership, and scholarship at every level.


Occupational Summary


Duke-Margolis has an opening for an Assistant Research Director to advance child and family health policy as part of the Center’s Health Care Transformation research team and to serve as the Managing Director of the North Carolina Integrated Care for Kids (NC InCK) model.


This position is responsible for developing major components of research and policy analysis for Duke-Margolis through management of a portfolio of health policy projects within the child and family health policy area. The Assistant Research Director provides substantial subject matter leadership in managing the execution of complex research and policy projects within the portfolio, including engagement with high-level government and private-sector entities.


The position manages and operationalizes child and family health policy initiatives as the managing director of the North Carolina Integrated Care for Kids (NC InCK) model. NC InCK is a federally-funded local care delivery and payment model aimed at improving the way children enrolled in NC Medicaid receive care and support services.


This position actively drives portfolio development and regularly interacts with project funders, collaborators, stakeholders, Duke University faculty, and senior Duke-Margolis leadership to develop the strategic plan for the portfolio, manage successful execution of research and policy projects, and advance efforts to identify and secure research funding.


This worksite for this role is in Durham, NC. Employees are currently working in a hybrid capacity with a combination of teleworking locally to the base office area (NC) and in-person team collaboration for Duke-Margolis broader teams and InCK collaborators.

Work Performed


Lead a content-specific portfolio of research and policy projects at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Plan and manage the execution the portfolio with responsibility for project timelines, budgets, financial management, and contractual obligations; develop and monitor staffing plans to ensure successful project completion.


Provide substantial subject matter expertise in specialized areas of health policy to advance research goals in child and family health policy. May collaborate in additional areas of relevance in the health policy domain including but not limited to: health systems transformation, health care delivery and payment reform, health equity, and the intersection of scientific and regulatory advancement with broader US health policy reforms.


Contribute substantial expertise and skill in planning research, designing and conducting qualitative and/or quantitative analyses, and writing for both technical and non-technical audiences.


Provide guidance to research teams’ work in research, outlining, drafting, and editing of project materials. Ensure quality, accuracy, and clarity of project deliverables.


Interact with internal and external collaborators including government agencies, research and/or policy organizations, and health systems to gather and disseminate information and to build and expand working relationships. 


Collaborate with senior researchers, faculty, and external collaborators to write white papers, peer-reviewed publications, policy memos, and other related research and policy deliverables.


Represent Duke-Margolis at events and conferences to disseminate research findings; begin to develop recognition as an expert in the portfolio focus area and as a spokesperson for the Center.


Monitor content areas of significance to the research portfolio, remaining up-to-date on current developments and identifying areas of potential collaboration or synergy within the Center and with external partners.


Develop strategic plans for project-related convening events (e.g., expert roundtables, workshops, conference panels, seminars, large-scale public events), including identification of proposed speakers or panelists, content, work plans, and meetings. Oversee implementation and execution.


Track and manage progress to achieve project milestones, deliverables, and timeline goals through collaboration with colleagues, subcontractors/vendors, and external stakeholders. Coordinate internal and external communication as needed for team projects.


Interact with sponsors to advance project deliverables, ensure productive communication and clarity in expectations, and maintain positive relationships.


Work with Center senior researchers, executive leadership, project principal investigators, and financial staff to monitor budgets; ensure project staffing and activities are within budget projections and scope, adhere to Duke University policies, and meet contractual obligations. Forecast resource allocation and needs. Demonstrate fiscal responsibility.


Collaborate with Center executive leadership, faculty, and other senior researchers to develop and implement work plans, deliverable content, research agendas, and timelines. Lead execution of work by project teams.


Work collaboratively with Center and external partner events and communication teams to direct communication strategies, event management and planning, and dissemination activities.


Collaborate with Duke-Margolis leadership to identify and select priority research areas and projects as part of the strategic planning of the Center.


Recognize and capitalize on project and funding opportunities to build the portfolio; collaborate with Research Directors, faculty, and the Center executive team on funder relationship management and business development support.


Liaise with external funders, collaborators, and Duke-Margolis leadership to develop project proposals. Provide project leadership to oversee efforts to identify financial support and prepare grant proposals for the successful development, planning and execution of these projects.


Formulate and organize opportunities for faculty to collaborate on specific research projects.


May contribute to Duke-Margolis educational programs in varied ways, including developing course materials, teaching or guest lecturing, and mentoring interns or Duke students at the graduate or undergraduate levels.


Support and mentor project team members. Guide junior staff in developing an understanding of timelines, responsibilities, and deliverables, and in developing skills and knowledge in area(s) of health policy expertise.


May recruit, manage, and directly supervise staff, including management of personnel functions (hiring, professional development, performance appraisals, promotions).



Minimum Required Qualifications at this Level


Education/Training: Typically requires a Master's or higher advanced degree in a field related to the position (e.g., policy, public health, public administration, economics, science, engineering, law, or field directly related to the position).


Experience: With Master's, work requires a minimum of six years of progressive experience in policy/research/data analysis at the international, federal, regional, and/or state level.


Or an equivalent combination of relevant education and/or experience.


Desired Skills:

  • Excellent organizational, project management, and communication skills.
  • Proven competence in effectively leading and managing teams to execute large and/or multiple concurrent research projects.
  • Excellent research, analytical, and writing skills, including the ability to transform complicated information into materials that are easy to understand.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in policy research, including the ability to synthesize content from a broad range of sources.
  • Skill in quantitative and/or qualitative analysis.
  • Proven ability to plan and organize content with creativity and attention to detail, customize messaging for specific audiences (technical and non-technical) and appropriately translate complex scientific and/or technical details.
  • Specialized experience in areas of health policy relevant to the position, including familiarity with current trends and applicable regulations.
  • Ability to interact professionally and foster positive collaborative relationships with senior-level individuals (e.g., local, state, and national policymakers), stakeholders, and organizations.
  • Must exercise good judgement and initiative.
  • Must be able to function independently and collaborate effectively with diverse teams.
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment with varied responsibilities; able to assess the impact of and respond flexibly to changing conditions.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office and relevant research and analytic software.
  • Training or experience in the fields of health policy, public policy, public health, data science, or patient safety is preferred.
  • Proven record of publication in peer-reviewed journals and/or impactful policy-relevant publications is preferred. 
  • Supervisory experience is preferred.  
  • Ability to travel approximately 10%. 


The intent of this job description is to provide a representative and level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.


The initial term for this position is through Dec 31, 2024. Engagements are renewable annually upon funding availability. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.


Application Materials Required:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Three References (names and email addresses)






Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.


Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


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Nearest Secondary Market: Raleigh