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The Research Associate (RA) strengthens research capacity and outputs of the Birth Place Lab (http://birthplacelab.org), a research lab that specializes in community-centred, health services research and knowledge translation projects that advance equity, safety, and respect in perinatal services. The RA will, in conjunction with the Lead Investigator and key stakeholders, develop and oversee all data management and analysis activities for the Birth Place Lab (BPL). The RA will collaborate with and liaise with external research partners, community leads and contractors to meet research and knowledge translation goals and deliverables.  

The RA provides technical expertise for all research projects, and expands capacity within the lab to provide mentorship, supervision, and support to early career scholars and trainees.  Specifically, this position collaborates with the Lead Investigator and community stakeholders to develop research plans and design studies, and is responsible for conducting quantitative, mixed-methods, and psychometric analyses of data generated by research projects in the Birth Place Lab and/or preparing data sets and providing oversight for such analyses by trainees, early career scholars, and community partners. This position will also have an active role in development of grant proposals towards ongoing support of these projects and integrated knowledge translation activities, as needed.

Organisational Status

The Birth Place Lab (BPL), a research unit within the Department of Family Practice, facilitates transdisciplinary, community-based participatory action research aimed at improving access to high quality perinatal services, from preconception to early parenting. The BPL supports multi-national, multi-stakeholder teams as they collaborate on quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods provincial, national, and international research projects, and hosts trainees from midwifery, medicine, public health, and other disciplines. The BPL internal team includes the PI, Research Associate, Equity Strategist, Administration and Operations Manager, Knowledge Translation Specialists, Research and Communications staff. All team members liaise with Co-Is, external partners, and community partners who co-lead projects.

The BPL currently holds several grants that support research and knowledge translation projects that center the lived experience of perinatal services, especially among historically marginalized populations. These novel research projects are poised to inform health policy, system and service leaders about pragmatic, community-responsive modes of increasing accountability for rights-based, high quality health services for all childbearing families. Current research studies are funded by various Tri-Council agencies and foundations, and are institutionally supported through the Division of Midwifery, Department of Family Practice, UBC Faculty of Medicine, the Women’s Health Research Institute, and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. The core research team is located in Vancouver, though transdisciplinary research and community partners are spread across North America, Europe, Africa, India, the UK, South America, and Oceania.

Work performed

The RA co-leads analyses and oversees data management for the BPLs ongoing core projects currently including provincial research projects: Changing Childbirth in BC and Decolonizing Birth Research (2 Indigenous Co-PIs, 2-6 Elders, 6 First Nations communities); national projects: RESPCCT (60 transdisciplinary Co-Is, Community Steering Council and Partners); international projects: Giving Voice to Mothers (30 transdisciplinary Steering Council members and 15 Co-Investigators); Birth Includes Us (Co-PI UW, 15 SC);  AIMM Mapping Study (15 Co-Is); and international implementation projects: MADM, MORi, MIST measures (23 countries); Undisturbed Labour and Birth Index (80 hospitals); Dialogue and Decisions Interprofessional Course, and the Quality Perinatal Services Hub. The Birth Place Lab maintains a wide network of national and international research collaborators and organizational partners including US leaders, involved in the Birth Summits I-IV; the White Ribbon Alliance; the WHO; AlignMNH; the BC Support Unit; and regional quality improvement programs like OBCOAP and OBI.

Strategic Role

  • Develops strategic research and KT plans, in collaboration with the Lead Investigator, to implement best practices to support the program of participatory and transdisciplinary research, external partnership relationships at the Birth Place Lab.
  • Supports PI and external stakeholders, to develop funding proposals including government and non-government agency, and philanthropic foundations grants to support research, policy and knowledge implementation projects.
  • Collaborates with the PI, Co-PIs and BPL team to identify and develop strategies to expand capacity, within the BPL, for research, knowledge translation, and mentorship of early career scholars especially from historically under-represented communities.
  • Collaborates with PI to respond to requests and develop relationships with external partners and policymakers. Participates in exploratory and ongoing co- investigator and partner meetings.

Research Activities

  • Collaborates with PI to oversee research activities, and research teams
  • Collaborates with research partners to implement and deliver study protocols
  • Provides leadership and direction related to the data collection, analysis, and the interpretation phases of projects;
  • Provides technical expertise during the planning, development, analyses, data management, and evaluation phases of research projects.
  • Works with Administration and Operations Manager (AOM) to operationalize project management plans and allocate research tasks across staff and trainees, for the BPLs 8-10 ongoing core projects, to meet deliverables in a timely manner.
  • Facilitates sharing of tools, datasets with external stakeholders; develops data sharing agreements and communicates with stakeholders about this process.
  • Oversees the implementation of research projects to ensure that ethical requirements, ORS, OCAP and equity principles, and external sites are approved and met.
  • Drafts mid term and end of term reports for funders.
  • With the PI, and trainees prepares manuscripts, articles, abstracts, posters and presentations for academic journals and conferences;
  • Engages in communications, project management, and team meetings to support ongoing collaboration, learning and networking
  • Works with external Communications Specialist to prepare written representations and communications regarding significant BPL outputs, including press releases.
  • Represents the BPL team as requested by the Lead Investigator in public, policy, and academic presentations including public relations, communications and fundraising.

Mentorship and Support of Research staff and trainees:

  • Facilitates a respectful, strengths-based workplace culture at the BPL for trainees and early career scholars.
  • Works with PI, Equity Strategist and BPL team to support trainees, early scholars, and research partners from historically underpresented and equity seeking communities to thrive within the academic unit and university.
  • Meets with trainees, early career investigators and NGO leads, to discuss their data needs, co-create analysis plans; directly supports analysis and data visualization, reviews draft presentations and manuscripts, etc
  • Facilitates orientation, integration, and technical support for graduate and postgraduate scholars in the lab including introduction to datasets and data management systems.
  • Designs, provides and/or oversees training and direction to undergraduate and graduate students, community researchers, and new technicians in the research approaches used at the lab; analyses methods, and iKT activities.
  • Supports the PI and AOM to develop human resources projections, job description development and review, recruitment, hiring, training, onboarding and off boarding.

Consequence of Error/Judgement

Makes recommendations on BPL research projects and plans that will be relied upon by the Lead Investigator. Rigor of research procedures, analyses, accuracy and completeness of the information will support the reputation and credibility of the BPL.  It is of the utmost importance to maintain confidentiality, diplomacy, integrity, and security of study data. Errors or omissions in research procedures, analyses, or ineffective mentorship could lead to loss of partner relationships, funding or decisions that adversely affect the effectiveness and reputation of the BPL, Midwifery Program or the Department of Family Practice.

Supervision Received

The position works independently under broad directives from the Lead Investigator and Co-PIs.

Supervision Given

The Research Associate, in consultation with the PIs and Co-Pi’s will provide general direction to and supervision of research assistants, trainees and scholars at the Birth Place Lab.  

Qualifications

  • PhD and/or professional degree in a relevant discipline, preferably post-graduate level (Public Health, Epidemiology, Sociology, Psychology, Health Policy, etc).
  • Work experience relevant to Health Services (global health policy, midwifery, public health, health services, community health, reproductive justice, sociology, etc.). Minimum of six years experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to health human rights and/or reproductive justice and equity in perinatal services research.
  • Experience leading quantitative research projects, analyses, and knowledge translation;
  • Experience with survey research, mixed-methods analysis, intersectional analysis, evaluation, and/or instrument development & psychometric analysis preferred.
  • Experience writing and preparing research proposals and developing grant applications for regional and national funding agencies (CIHR), including proposals, budgets, project work plans, and timelines.
  • Experience with using quantitative data software (SPSS, R, or Stata) and Excel. 
  • Experience with survey data collection software (Qualtrics, RedCap, etc), innovative KT and/or digital data display would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated competency in academic or technical writing and communication.
  • Knowledge of university policies, procedures, governance and administrative systems for research conducted in a university setting, including ethical requirements.
  • Experience with strategic planning and implementation of health research projects in an academic environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond.
  • Knowledge of OCAP principles for respectful and decolonized research methods.
  • Ability to successfully foster and maintain relationships with diverse external stakeholders.
  • Ability to communicate with diplomacy, tact, and unconditional positive regard both verbally and in writing.
  • Ability to prioritize and work effectively under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to manage effectively in a dynamic environment which requires multi-tasking, and working effectively under pressure to meet deadlines.

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