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Qualitative Researcher, Health

American Institutes for Research
Columbia, Maryland
Closing date
Dec 11, 2021

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Position Type
Research Scientist / Analyst
Full Time
Organization Type
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AIR is currently seeking a confident, self-motivated, and creative Qualitative Researcher with experience in qualitative research skills (including developing interview guides, leading interviews/focus groups), policy analysis, document review and abstraction, survey development, qualitative analyses (such as thematic analysis and triangulation), human-centered design (HCD) or other similar person-centered research approaches, and ability to combine qualitative and quantitative data research findings to join AIR's Health Division.

The Qualitative Researcher should also demonstrate project management skills, including client communication and management, and ability to execute work and develop deliverables in a in a fast-paced environment. The Qualitative Researcher must have a working knowledge of health care policy topics, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance Exchanges, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), payment reform, value-based care, and/or health care quality initiatives. The Qualitative Researcher will lead tasks related to AIR's health work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, the associate will be expected to lead and/or contribute to business development opportunities at the federal and state level.

Candidates hired for the position might initially start working remotely but will eventually have the option to work from one of our offices located in Columbia, MD; Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Waltham, MA; Oakland, CA; Arlington, VA; Rockville, MD; or continue to work remotely.

About AIR:

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance to solve some of the most urgent challenges in the U.S. and around the world. We advance evidence in the areas of education, health, the workforce, human services, and international development to create a better, more equitable world.

The responsibilities for the position include:
  • Lead, and mentor junior staff, to conduct interviews and focus groups.
  • Develop interview guides, supporting interview materials, and surveys.
  • Conduct qualitative policy analysis to analyze regulatory, sub-regulatory, and guidance materials and produce briefing reports and recommendations to clients.
  • Conduct document review and abstraction to answer health policy questions.
  • Utilize qualitative software packages to conduct thematic analyses (and train junior staff to use programs).
  • Lead qualitative-research focused tasks/projects and/or HCD (or other patient-centered research approaches) projects.
  • Lead stakeholder engagement tasks, including collecting and managing internal and external stakeholder feedback.
  • Lead and manage client-facing tasks, client expectations, and client relationships; ensuring tasks are completed on time and within budget.
  • Develop project work plans, and manage the execution of these work plans, including communicating technical and budget risks to project leadership.
  • Write and oversee junior staff in the development of technical reports, tailored to client needs that include actionable recommendations.
  • Provide technical expertise and review to ensure deliverables are meeting client expectations.
  • Develop and conduct presentations to government clients, including summary of qualitative research findings, personas, journey maps, etc.
  • Proactively identify ideas for innovation and work with clients to implement new approaches to meet their needs.
  • Strategize and drive business development with existing clients.
  • Participate in business development activities, including writing and reviewing technical responses and participating in capture planning activities.

Education, Knowledge, and Experience:
  • Master's Degree in health management, health policy, health administration, public health, or a related field, with at least 8 years of related consulting or policy-oriented professional experience OR PhD in public health, sociology, anthropology, health services research, or a related field.
  • Experience with qualitative/HCD/patient-centered research and developing clear approaches and recommendations for clients.
  • Experience working with CMS.
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of current health policy topics such as the ACA, MACRA, Medicaid, and/or CHIP is required.
  • Experience managing client relationships and managing projects (project management training preferred).
  • Experience managing/mentoring junior analysts.
  • Business development interest/experience and interest in health insurance access and value-based care policies preferred.
  • Experience effectively managing competing priorities under tight deadlines.
  • Experience with consulting or working with client-based projects.
  • Experience working on multiple projects simultaneously.

  • Ability to successfully manage and execute project from initiation to completion.
  • Ability to interpret and as needed, clarify, client requests and manage client expectations.
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written is a must. Includes the ability to communicate complex technical material succinctly and accurately, both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to exercise strong attention to detail, problem solving, and organizational skills. Includes the ability to produce consistent, high-quality deliverables while meeting tight deadlines.
  • Excellent people skills with a customer service-oriented approach, and a focus on building relationships with the client and project team.
  • Ability to work independently as well as with a team in a fast-paced environment. Includes the ability to be flexible to meet project priorities.
  • Self-motivated achiever who identifies opportunities to drive value and takes the initiative to lead solutions.
  • Policy analysis skills, including the ability to review and interpret regulatory and sub-regulatory guidance.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize findings to develop valuable insights and strategic recommendations for the client.
  • Ability to think creatively and work on teams to develop innovative ideas for new and existing clients.


AIR COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Notice: AIR requires all new hires to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive a legally required exemption from AIR, as a condition of employment. AIR will ask candidates to verify their vaccination status only after a conditional offer of employment is made. Applicants should not provide information about their vaccination status or need for exemption prior to receiving a conditional offer of employment from AIR.

Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the U.S. on a full-time basis. Employment-based visa sponsorship (including H-1B sponsorship) is not available for this position. Depending on project work, qualified candidates may need to meet certain residency requirements.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.

AIR adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

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