Director, Native Collective Research Effort to Enhance Wellness (N CREW) Program, DESPR and Associate Director for Tribal Affairs

Job Summary

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking an innovative leader to serve in the dual position as the Director of the trans-NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative: Native Collective Research Effort to Enhance Wellness (N CREW) Program and as Associate Director for Tribal Affairs. The position is in the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR) for supervision, located in Rockville, MD, and reports directly to the NIDA Director for the Associate Director component.

NIDA's mission is to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug misuse and addiction. This charge has two critical components. The first is the strategic support and conduct of research across a broad range of disciplines. The second is ensuring the rapid and effective dissemination of research results to improve practice and inform policy related to drug misuse and addiction. 

The N CREW Program is NIH’s largest planned investment in Tribal and American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) community research to date, funded through the HEAL Initiative ($291 million over 7 years, 20 planned Other Transaction Authority (OTA) awards, and use of other mechanisms to attain Program goals). This initiative bolsters research across NIH to improve prevention and treatment for opioid misuse and addiction, and pain management, including understanding and treating pain.  The N Crew Program supports Tribes and Native American Serving Organizations (T/NASOs) to conduct locally prioritized research to address overdose, substance use, and pain, including related factors such as mental health and wellness. N CREW will have a wide-ranging impact, setting a precedent for programs across NIH.
The N CREW Program Director provides scientific leadership, policy interpretation, and direction for the highly complex, trans-NIH, public-facing N CREW Program, including planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of progress and impact.

The incumbent will articulate on behalf of NIDA and participating Institutes/Centers (ICs) the scientific priorities and also engagement strategies and policy application within this sphere. This position requires representation on the federal side by an appropriately senior official who possesses a deep and specific understanding of Tribal sovereignty, relevant policies, memoranda, and AI/AN/NH community preferences, as well as someone who has the credibility and earned trust of the community combined with a deep understanding of NIH policies and processes.

The incumbent will also serve as senior advisor to the NIDA Director as the NIDA Associate Director for Tribal Affairs. The Associate Director provides leadership and direction on all facets of AI/AN/NH drug addiction research to lead and integrate this work across NIDA as well as across NIH, including the NIH OD Tribal Health Research Office (THRO), other federal agencies, AI/AN constituent national and international organizations, AI/AN extramural researchers, T/NASOs, all of which have vested interests and strong voices in engaging with the NIH. The N CREW Director and Associate Director for Tribal Affairs dual position include inextricably intertwined and unique components and constituencies that must be integrated and aligned, increasing the complexity and impact of the position beyond standard single funding program positions in this crucial area for NIDA and NIH. 

HHS has a critical preparedness and response mission: HHS protects the American people from health threats, researches emerging diseases, and mobilizes public health programs with domestic and international partners.  In support of this mission, HHS offers its employees the opportunity to volunteer to become Federal Civilian Detailees and contribute their unique skills through voluntary temporary assignments to humanitarian emergencies or Departmental priorities countering new and emerging health, safety, and security threats.

If selected, you may be subject to a two-year trial period under this appointment.


Required Qualifications

NIDA seeks candidates who commit to scientific excellence and the energy, enthusiasm, and innovative thinking necessary to assist in leading a dynamic and diverse organization. The successful candidate will possess an M.D., and/or Ph.D. degree (or equivalent) in health and health science-related fields and will have research experience and national renown in a field that is relevant to cognitive neuroscience, population studies, prevention science; and/or drug misuse and addiction. In addition, the candidate will possess experience that demonstrates the ability to manage and lead a large and diverse research program having national collaborations, scope, and impact. Candidates should have demonstrated effective leadership abilities, excellent communication skills with the ability to serve as a spokesperson, and strong program and project management of the planning, executing, and assessing of complex, multifaceted initiatives. Experience is also required in the resolution of operational issues and the ability to manage financial and human resources. A track record of government/industry/academic excellence and outstanding scientific contributions to extramural research is expected. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly with respect to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian populations. Additionally, the candidate should have a working knowledge of Tribal research ethics and protocols and have demonstrated experience in building successful collaborative relationships with T/NASOs.


The successful candidate for this position will be appointed at a salary commensurate with their qualifications.  A recruitment or relocation incentive may be available, and relocation expenses may be paid.  Full federal benefits will be provided including leave, health and life insurance, retirement, and savings plan (401k equivalent) will be provided.  

Please read the following guidance on Selective Service requirements.

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. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants.

Standards of Conduct/Financial Disclosure

The NIH 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 and be approved by the NIH Ethics Office

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 at The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.