Director, Tribal Health Research Office

This announcement has been amended to add the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to the conditions of employment.

This position is subject to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate as a condition of employment.

Job Summary

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of Director, Tribal Health Research Office (THRO). This is an exciting opportunity to strategically engage NIH and tribal partners in biomedical research, and coordinate scientific research within the NIH relating to tribal health. The THRO, located within the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) in the Office of the NIH Director, coordinates tribal health research-related activities across NIH; serves as the NIH representative on tribal health related committees or working groups; coordinates and convenes the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) and manages information sharing to and from the TAC; collaborates with NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) and OD Offices on the development of reports on tribal health topics; manages information dissemination related to health research for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations; convenes trans-NIH committees, workshops, meetings, and other activities related to tribal health research and scientific priorities; and works with NIH ICs to leverage resources or develop initiatives to support tribal health research. The budget for THRO in FY 2021 is $1.9 million. Estimated funding for NIH AI/AN research in FY 2020 was $226 million.

This Title 42 position offers a unique and exciting opportunity for a leader to execute and manage the daily operations in support of the THRO strategic vision and mission. The THRO Director leads efforts to plan, coordinate, integrate and evaluate tribal health research and other activities conducted and supported by the NIH; develops a strategic plan for the conduct/support of tribal health research and related activities; and provides consultation, leadership, guidance, and direction with respect to the scope and direction of tribal health research to IC Directors, policy makers, AI/AN leaders and community members, and others interested in and affected by tribal health research.

The THRO Director serves as a leading authority on tribal issues and integrates knowledge of and experience with tribal health research programs and policies to provide guidance on complex, multilayered, and multifaceted cross-cutting procedural and policy issues to other components of the agency and other governmental agencies; resolves problems, modifies procedures; and develops and interprets complex policies to address new conditions. Actions taken and solutions devised affect programs across NIH and national research efforts for Al/AN populations. The THRO Director serves as the principal advisor and main liaison with policy-level officials on Al/AN public health issues and as key principal contact for NIH pertaining to Al/AN research. The THRO Director is viewed within the Department, nationally, and by the tribes as the key NIH official with expertise and authority on tribal health research and represents NIH on these matters.

The THRO Director provides leadership for and manages the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC is a 17-member committee composed of representatives, including elected tribal leaders of the 12 Indian Health Service Areas. To achieve the broadest coverage of NIH-related national perspectives and views, the TAC includes one representative for each of five National At-Large member positions. The TAC serves as an advisory body to the NIH, helping to ensure that Tribes and AI/AN people have meaningful and timely input in the development of relevant NIH policies, programs, and priorities. The THRO Director leads trans-NIH tribal health research coordination, including facilitating collaborations between and among the ICs. The THRO Director chairs the NIH Tribal Health Research Coordinating Committee (THRCC) which has broad representation from the NIH ICs and several OD offices. The THRCC serves as a catalyst for developing research, research training, and career development initiatives focused on AI/AN persons.

The THRO Director leads the development and implementation of the NIH Tribal Consultation Policy, an official government to government interaction. The THRO Director identifies critical events that require tribal consultation, responds to request(s) for consultation, and coordinates the internal and external stakeholders and events necessary to facilitate consultation events, as well as leads NIH tribal consultations and organizes and conducts workshops, conferences, symposia, or similar activities for tribal health research to ensure appropriate and meaningful consultation with the tribes, facilitate communication among investigators and tribal communities, or to advise on the status of progress and emerging directions of research.

The position is located in Bethesda, MD. Remote work will be considered with the expectation that the Director returns to the NIH Bethesda campus on a regular schedule.

Information about THRO is located at its website. Information about the National Institutes of Health in located at its website. 

Location: Bethesda, MD.  Remote work will be considered with the expectation that the Director returns to the NIH Bethesda campus on a regular schedule.

Required Qualifications

NIH seeks candidates with strong communication skills, who have a commitment to scientific excellence and the energy, enthusiasm, and innovative thinking necessary to lead a dynamic and diverse organization. Applicants must possess an M.D. and/or Ph.D., or comparable doctorate degree in a field of health science plus senior-level experience in tribal health research and related policy. They should be known and respected within their profession with a distinguished record of research accomplishments and leadership credentials. Applicants must also have demonstrated experience in planning, implementing, and analyzing program objectives and priorities. Candidates should have demonstrated management acumen, including identification and management of financial and human resource needs; proven ability to make complex and strategic decisions to optimize resource usage, mitigate risks, and achieve desired results; and, the ability to build, mentor, motivate, and maintain a culturally diverse biomedical research workforce. Successful candidates should have knowledge of tribal health research as well as an exceptional understanding of the current and historical realities of American Indian and Alaska Native populations, including non-reservation based and urban populations.

Vaccination Mandate

In accordance with Executive Order 14043, Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee’s duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to exceptions that may be required by law. If selected, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before your entrance on duty if you are selected after the compliance date. Your HR Consultant will provide a list of documents acceptable as proof of vaccination and instructions for how to submit a request for a legally required exception, if needed, to comply with vaccination requirement.


The Director, Tribal Health Research Office will be appointed at a salary commensurate with his/her qualifications and experience. A recruitment or relocation bonus may be available, and relocation expenses may be paid. Full Federal benefits, including leave, health and life insurance, long term care insurance, retirement, and savings plan (401K equivalent) will be provided. The successful candidate is subject to a background investigation and financial disclosure report prior to the effective date of the appointment.

Expanded/Maximum Telework Posture

Due to COVID-19, the agency is currently in a maximum telework posture.  If selected, you may be expected to telework upon your appointment. As employees are permitted to return to the office, you may be required to report to the duty station listed on this announcement within 30 calendar days of receiving notice to do so, even if your home/temporary telework site is located outside the local commuting area. Your position may be eligible for workplace flexibilities which may include remote work or telework options, and/or flexible work scheduling. These flexibilities may be requested in accordance with the HHS Workplace Flexibilities policy.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Selection for this position will be based solely on merit, with no discrimination for non-merit reasons such as race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability, age, or membership or non-membership in an employee organization. The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

Standards of Conduct/Financial Disclosure

The National Institutes of Health inspires public confidence in our science by maintaining high ethical principles. NIH employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as well as agency-specific regulations described at the NIH Ethics website. We encourage you to review this information. The position is subject to a background investigation and requires the incumbent to complete a public financial disclosure report prior to the effective date of the appointment. 

Foreign Education

Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is equivalent to education received in accredited educational institutions in the U.S. We will only accept the completed foreign education evaluation. For more information on Foreign Education verification, visit the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website. Verification must be received prior to the effective date of the appointment. 

Reasonable Accommodation

NIH provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation during any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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