POSITION DESCRIPTION: RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Commission on a High Performance Health System Scorecard and Research Project
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (www.ihi.org) is an independent not-for-profit
organization that works with health care providers and leaders throughout the world to
achieve safe and effective health care. IHI focuses on motivating and building the will for
change, identifying and testing new models of care in partnership with both patients and
health care professionals, and ensuring the broadest possible adoption of best practices
and effective innovations. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, IHI mobilizes teams,
organizations, and increasingly nations, through its staff of more than 100 people and
partnerships with hundreds of faculty around the world.
IHI’s vision is to be a premier integrative force, an agent for profound change, dedicated
to improving health care for all. Our measures of success include improved safety,
effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, and equity. This work relies
on the retrieval and use of information and scientific knowledge from health care and
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing
health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency,
particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured,
minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. The Fund carries out this
mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to
improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is
designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other
industrialized countries. The Fund has an endowment of $600 million, and an annual
budget of $30 million, approximately 60 percent of which is spent extramurally in grants
and 40 percent intramurally in developing programs, conducting research, and
communicating results to influential audiences. The scorecard and health care market
analysis project is funded through a multi-year grant from the Commonwealth Fund to
the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
PROJECT SUMMARY DESCRIPTION
The Fund's Board of Directors established the Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a
High Performance Health System in July 2005, recognizing the need for leadership in
advancing promising strategies for health system improvement. This research unit
supports the work of the Commission, measuring and monitoring trends across key
performance indicators, including: health insurance coverage and access to care; quality
of care; efficiency and cost of services delivered; equity in the provision of care; and
healthy outcomes. This position will be part of a small research team based in Boston at
IHI with responsibilities for developing and producing national, state and sub-state
regional analyses on health care system performance and related insurance and care
system market structure analyses. Specifically, over the next two years, the team will be
responsible for the research, data analysis, and writing to produce the following reports:
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Metro and market analysis of health system performance, with accompanying
analyses of insurance and provider market organization (new analyses), 2012
3rd edition of State Scorecard on Health System Performance, 2012
2nd edition of State Scorecard on Child Health System Performance, 2012 or 2013
Issue briefs and possible journal articles on geographic variation and performance
Reports tracking changes in health care access, outcomes and costs over time.
Additionally, the team will work with senior Fund and case study staff to support
qualitative analyses and participate on teams to analyze Fund-supported international and
The work of the project team is overseen by the Commonwealth Fund’s senior vice
president for research and evaluation in her role as research director for the Commission
on a High Performance Health System. The team collaborates with other IHI staff and
project teams, sharing data and information as appropriate for related work. The
scorecard and health care market research project is fully funded under a grant from the
SUMMARY POSITION DESCRIPTION
The research assistant (RA) is a key member of the IHI scorecard and research project
team. He/she will provide research and writing support for the ongoing series of national
and state scorecard reports and new health care market analyses and assist in coordinating
the work of the team. During the first 12 months, the RA will be responsible for: 1)
supporting the post-production of the 1st edition of the Local Scorecard, including writing
issue briefs and market analysis reports using local-area data; 2) production of the 3rd
edition of the State Scorecard, including preparation of tables and charts, web-based
profiles of all states, and writing of report; and 3) providing data and analytic support to
write issue and data briefs on other health-policy topics related to the Commission’s
promotion of a high performing health system.
SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE RESEARCH ASSISTANT
Specific responsibilities of the RA position include the following:
Provide research and writing assistance to the senior vice president of research and
evaluation and project team. These responsibilities include compiling and analyzing
data; creating report exhibits and presentations; and drafting and editing publications
and written materials.
Coordinate team efforts to produce scorecards and issue/data briefs. Assemble and
organize data from various national/state data surveillance systems, published
sources, online databases, and commissioned data runs.
Conduct complex data analysis using Excel spreadsheets and statistical software
(SAS and/or Stata preferred, but not necessary) and functions and prepare
accompanying tables, charts, and graphs (charts and graphs are usually in
Draft and assist with revisions to Fund reports, issue/data briefs, professional journal
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articles, and Congressional testimonies; create graphics to pair with text; proofread
and check for data accuracy.
Develop presentation slides and handouts for senior staff speaking engagements. May
be called to attend engagement and provide meeting support.
Coordinate data requests, project activities, and funding with external
researchers/grantees. Support grants management tasks, including preparing project
summaries and schedules.
Provide background research including literature reviews and Internet searches.
Monitors journals, working papers, financial reports, surveys, and other information
related to the Commission’s work.
Provide research support to analyze Fund-supported surveys. Assist in survey
development, statistical analyses (using computer statistical software), tables and
chart preparation, and report writing.
Assist the senior vice president in developing additional publications that focus upon
specific areas of policy related to the Commission. May be called upon to serve as co-
author and lead-author on Fund issue/data briefs or reports.
Provide office/administrative support to enhance communication and operations to
support the project team which will include the Fund’s senior vice president, the IHI
project manager and senior research associate.
Administrative responsibilities include: coordinate schedules and maintain calendars;
set up meetings and arrange travel as necessary; draft correspondence to
Commissioners, senior Fund staff and outside experts; prepare documentation for
meetings and/or distribution; maintain electronic and paper filing system; and process
Support team meetings and schedule meetings with other researchers as needed. This
includes reserving meeting rooms and arranging for food, beverage, and audiovisual
needs at IHI and serving as key contact for meeting logistics with the Fund’s New
The organization’s philosophy on successful performance in the job includes the
willingness on the part of all staff members to handle any assignment necessary to further
the goals of the institution. This may include taking on responsibility in other program
areas or departments if the need arises.
Position Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Detail oriented with strong quantitative and analytic skills. Demonstrated ability
to gather, analyze, and synthesize data from various sources and produce graphics
and tabular data presentations.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Organized and self-motivated. Ability to manage multiple tasks and meet
demands of a fast-paced environment with changing priorities.
Dedicated team player with flexibility to work with and without supervision.
Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite of products. Experience with SAS/Stata is
preferred. Candidates must be willing to learn new computer skills as necessary.
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Bachelor’s degree and two or more years of related work experience. Preference will be
given to applicants with a master’s degree, prior research experience and/or formal
education in health policy, economics, statistics, mathematics or public policy.
Demonstrated interest in health care policy or health services research a plus.
The Scorecard Project Team is a relatively small team charged with research and policy
supporting Commission scorecards and analyses. Judgment, integrity, and the ability to
listen with sensitivity to others are traits that are particularly important in this
environment. Teamwork is essential to effectiveness at both the Fund and within IHI. The
project team must have the ability to work collegially with a variety of Fund and related
IHI staff. Interest in and strong commitment to the Fund and IHI missions and Fund
programs are key qualifications.
Interested parties should send a cover letter and resume via email to:
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Vice President, Human Resources
20 University Road, 7th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
IHI Is An Equal Opportunity Employer
IHI will provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, sex, age,
disability, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, political
belief or activity, or status as a veteran. The policy applies to all areas of employment,
including recruitment, hiring, training and development, promotion, transfer,
termination, layoff, compensation benefits, social and recreational programs, and all
other conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with applicable federal,
state, and local laws. It is the policy of IHI to comply with all the relevant and applicable
provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). IHI will not discriminate
against any qualified employee or job applicant with respect to any terms, privileges, or
conditions of employment because of a person's physical or mental disability. IHI also
will make reasonable accommodation wherever necessary for all employees or
applicants with disabilities, provided that the individual is otherwise qualified to safely
perform the duties and assignments connected with the job and provided that any
accommodations made do not require significant difficulty or expense.
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