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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity – Director's Fellowship at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM)

This is an advanced academic research role, where the fellow will conduct a specified program of research supported by research training under the supervision and direction of Ron Ackermann, MD, MPH, director of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) and co-director for the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research.

The primary purpose of the role is to develop and deepen advanced research skills and competencies, centering on the planning and conduct of health delivery system and health policy research in collaboration with diverse stakeholders. The fellow will also apply and deepen skills in rigorous natural experimental designs using real-world data, as well as the presentation and publication of data and findings in ways that inform health policies and professional practice that improve the quality and equity of service delivery and of individual and population health. The fellow will work with a multi-disciplinary team of experts and also will learn and apply new skills in systems science, implementation science, research team leadership, and the design and management of research grant proposals and awards.  


The successful candidate will join a collaborative research team within a dynamic research environment in IPHAM.  IPHAM serves as a nexus for education, training, research, and service that leverages the strengths of both the public health and healthcare sectors to improve population health and health equity in Chicago and beyond. The Institute supports research, education, and core services via our 16 centers. We serve approximately 500 faculty members with a common motivation to address important challenges facing health systems, our communities, the public health sector, and society. IPHAM operates between and across departments and other centers and institutes at Northwestern University to catalyze multidisciplinary collaboration, stakeholder engagement, partnership development, pragmatic research, and the dissemination and implementation of research findings in ways that empower patients, health systems, public health agencies, policy decision makers, and communities to address a wide array of health challenges.  IPHAM currently supports over 300 trainees across 5 master’s programs, a Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program, and many postdoctoral fellowship programs. This prestigious Director’s Fellowship provides access to IPHAM’s broad expertise and resources, with direct engagement and mentoring by the Institute’s director. 

Dr. Ackermann’s work focuses on ways to improve health and healthcare through the efficient coordination of health promotion and disease prevention activities across healthcare and community settings. Dr. Ackermann is a national expert in pragmatic research and natural experiments to improve the prevention and control of diabetes and other chronic conditions. Additional interests include advancing health equity, eliminating health disparities, healthcare provider interventions, quality improvement, cost effectiveness analysis, behavioral economics, and strategies for engaging community members and policy decision makers in the full spectrum of research.

The successful candidate will be expected to contribute expertise in all aspects of research planning, data collection and management, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination. They will work extensively with members of a multidisciplinary team to access and analyze large and complex databases, including health payer claims data, electronic health records, data on social and environmental characteristics, and information collected directly from patients, community residents, or stakeholders. They will create reports of findings and communicate regularly with the principal investigator (PI), as well as with other members of the research community, with stakeholders, and with the general public.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Helps design and implement quasi-experimental and natural experimental studies that aim to improve care and outcomes for adults with diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions
  • Conducts quantitative and/or qualitative data analysis and interpretation for multiple ongoing or recently completed studies, working directly with the PI and other members of a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in health policy, health economics, delivery system innovation, implementation science, data science, and econometrics
  • Maintains detailed records of results which may include collecting, extracting, and entering data
  • Interprets, prepares, and presents results to research team members and other stakeholders
  • Prepares data for external presentations and publications
  • Performs scientific literature reviews in support of research and contributes to ongoing publications as an analyst and co-author (including opportunities for first-authored manuscripts)
  • Helps write grants and compete for funding


  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • PhD, MD/PhD, or MD with relevant master’s degree training or anticipate graduating within the next six months
  • A strong record of peer reviewed publications is preferred, including first authorship
  • Written and verbal communications skills, organizational skills, ability to work as a team
  • Relevant graduate-level training in quasi-experimental and natural experimental research designs or other pragmatic comparative effectiveness studies

Preferred Competencies (Skills, knowledge, and abilities):

  • Microsoft Office
  • Data visualization
  • Digital organizational skills
  • Proficiency in R, STATA and/or SAS statistical analysis suites
  • Interest and experience with rigorous causal inference methods, including econometric methods, such as use of propensity matching or instrumental variable analysis
  • Basic experience with qualitative analysis
  • Multilevel statistical modeling

The fellowship is led by Dr. Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, MPH, director of IPHAM and co-director for the Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research. Please send your application to Kara Pederson at by December 1, 2022. 

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