The APHL Senior Specialist, Respiratory Diseases provides programmatic support for a wide range of laboratory testing, training and preparedness activities affecting public health laboratories and their partners in their response to emerging and endemic respiratory diseases. The staff member works in close collaboration with APHL members, CDC partners across the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and with public health professionals at various partner organizations, building relationships that enhance the connections between public health laboratories and their public health partners. The incumbent of this position serves as staff lead on a variety of domestic and global health activities and projects under the guidance of the Manager, Respiratory Diseases and provides general program support and coordination as a member of the Infectious Diseases team.
APHL supports US influenza and other respiratory disease surveillance systems, preparedness and outbreak responses. Internationally, APHL aims to strengthen global laboratory capacity for surveillance, detection and response to respiratory pathogens of public health concern through CDC programmatic efforts and in support of the Global Health Security Agenda. APHL works on initiatives that focus on a variety of respiratory and vaccine preventable diseases including but not limited to influenza, measles, mumps, bacterial meningitis, atypical bacterial pneumonia and novel viruses such as MERS coronavirus. The Senior Specialist will represent the Association in various forums such as national conferences, seminars and workshops. The Senior Specialist’s work will be focused primarily around respiratory pathogen testing, training, and preparedness but may involve additional infectious disease activities. The Senior Specialist, Respiratory Disease Program reports to the Manager, Respiratory Diseases under the overall supervision of the Director of Infectious Disease (ID) Program. The staff person will be located in the APHL Silver Spring office.
Duties & Responsibilities
As part of the Infectious Disease team at APHL, the Senior Specialist, Respiratory Diseases:
Support National Surveillance Systems
Manage national public health laboratory reference center activities including project coordination, contract development and management, training coordination, information brokering and troubleshooting support to reference center laboratories and CDC partners.
Plan, execute and monitor implementation of a variety of special research, technology transfer and clinical evaluation projects. This includes project and contract management activities such as project plan development, contract negotiations, equipment/reagent procurement, payments and accounting records, deliverable verification and communicating with public health laboratories and CDC.
Participate in APHL emergency response activities associated with emergence or reemergence of a respiratory diseases of public health significance (e.g., pandemic influenza, enterovirus D-68, MERS coronavirus).
Support member laboratories by informing and managing relevant Infectious Disease Committee and Influenza Subcommittee activities.
Domestic and International Laboratory Capacity Building
Lead or support, as assigned, international laboratory capacity assessment processes including logistics coordination, consultant arrangements, assessment tool development and review, and report reviewing.
Plan, coordinate and facilitate domestic and international stakeholder meetings, workshops and technical training courses for APHL members and international laboratory staff. Some courses will include wet laboratory components with infectious agents and the incumbent will be expected to coordinate these courses in sometimes resource limited laboratory facilities.
Coordinate activities to assess and enhance the capacity and capability of respiratory pathogen testing in both domestic and international public health laboratories including:
Collaborating with members and other subject matter experts to develop surveys, analyzing results and generating relevant reports regarding public health laboratory capability and capacity,
Serving as an information broker between member laboratories and CDC or other external partners to ensure that members have adequate information, resources and tools available to respond to respiratory disease outbreaks,
Assisting in technology transfer to member laboratories including procurement, communications and training relevant to transferring appropriate methods, skills, equipment and reagents, and
Soliciting member input on training needs.
General Program Support
Write and publish relevant communications and publications ranging from peer-review articles to policy comments to guidance documents to APHL Lab Blog posts.
Prepare documents, reports, articles and correspondence for the Association and disseminate the information through updates to program websites, newsletter articles, and electronic communications. Assists in preparing the cooperative agreement funding proposal annually. Prepares presentations about APHL infectious disease activities for self and others to deliver at conferences and seminar.
Attend scientific symposia on behalf of the association.
Develop evaluation and impact assessment tools and oversee the implementation of these tools and develop reports for various activities, primarily training courses.
Provide excellent customer service and support for APHL members responding to inquiries in a timely manner, facilitating information transfer between staff in the CDC Influenza Division, Division of Bacterial Diseases and/or Division of Viral Diseases and public health laboratories on relevant topics and anticipating communication needs of members.
Maintain close working relationships with major funders and partner organizations. Helps APHL provide a strong voice for laboratory issues by representing the interests of public health laboratories to federal and organizational partners.
Organize conference calls and facilitating action items including agenda and minutes preparation.
Create and maintain SharePoint sites for general program activities and specific projects.
Maintain expertise in microbiology and virology practices through participation in continuing education opportunities, reviewing scientific literature, and working with technical experts at CDC, state public health, and clinical laboratories.
Contribute to APHL’s overall program and perform other duties as assigned by the manager.
Employment Standards- Education and Experience
This is considered a career level position.
Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in life science/laboratory field and relevant work experience. Master’s degree in public health or life science, and experience in a health department, federal agency, membership organization or laboratory field experience preferred.
Work at this level requires that incumbent possess a substantial knowledge of the principles, practices, and procedures of a particular field of specialization as well as proven analytical, research and project management capabilities.
Incumbents typically have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education, and minimum 7 years of work experience or 5 years of experience with a Master’s Degree and relevant employment history.
Professional experience working and/or living in developing countries is an advantage.
Competency in a foreign language(s) is an advantage.
• Public health, global health, microbiology, and/or molecular laboratory science • Respiratory pathogen testing methods used in the United States and internationally • General activities undertaken at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention • Public health and infectious disease policy issues • Global Health Security Agenda issues • Respiratory disease surveillance systems
• Project management skills; highly organized, with ability to work independently and in teams; demonstrated ability to efficiently track and maintain progress toward project objectives/deadlines • Strong interpersonal skills, and track record of engaging and collaborating closely with team members and external stakeholders to accomplish goals • Excellent written and verbal communication skills • Computer literacy, successful experience in word processing, database development and analysis, presentation preparation, use of e-mail
• Support and manage multiple project simultaneously under tight timelines and to work in multi-disciplinary project teams • Establish working relationships with diverse groups and foster collaborative project team environments • Flexible and adaptive to changing environments and challenging situations; ability to focus on solutions in stressful situations and think quickly • Conceptualize and connect themes, lessons learned, and personnel across distinct activities and projects
• International and domestic travel required (up to 30%), sometimes to developing countries with limited health system resources and elevated security risks
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About Association of Public Health Laboratories
The Association of Public Health Laboratories works to strengthen laboratories serving the public's health in the US and globally.
Public health laboratories serve as laboratory first responders, protecting the public from diseases and environmental health hazards. Avian influenza, anthrax, contaminated water and E. coli have all been the subject of their investigations.