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Director/Senior Director for Sexual and Reproductive Health

Child Trends is seeking a passionate leader to guide its sexual and reproductive health (SRH) program area into its next era of work. The SRH program area conducts rigorous research that centers individuals’ unique needs, experiences, and context to inform programs, practices, and policies that promote focus on adolescent and young people’s physical and mental well-being as it relates to reproductive health and sexual agency. We ground our work in an understanding that current systems that aim to support sexual and reproductive health often neglect the needs of individuals from historically marginalized groups. Therefore, we pay particular attention to groups of people who continue to face discrimination and inequitable access to high-quality person-centered care, including low-income or uninsured people; Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous populations; and LGBTQ+ individuals.
This position is an opportunity for a senior researcher with a commitment and experience applying a reproductive justice lens to research and experience leading major SRH research and technical assistance initiatives to lead a passionate group of 14 scientists, research analysts, and assistants to apply our tools—data, research, and evaluation—to improve the lives and prospects of adolescents and young adults through improved access to care.
We’re looking for a leader who understands this moment in time and understands how to see and seize the opportunities this moment offers. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience developing and funding research and technical assistance projects. This person should want to bring people together, but also to bring them—with urgency—toward change. The ideal candidate should have experience mentoring staff, supporting their professional development, and keeping a team motivated and engaged. Equity must be at the center of this leader’s approach. 
Come be a leader in an organization nationally known to impact policymakers and practitioners alike through our clear, concise, and compelling communications. Want to change the world through your research? We offer you not just a national loudspeaker, but a workplace that maximizes flexibility and uses teamwork to focus on your strengths and achieve your mission. We offer incredible flexibility and have consistently won great place to work awards because we know that you achieving your mission means that we are achieving ours. 
If you don’t meet our criteria exactly but think you’d be great, please submit and tell us why in your cover letter. 
Typical Duties and Responsibilities 
Typical program area directors in other areas spend most of their time (about 60%) leading all aspects of major research, evaluation, or technical assistance projects from designing studies to overseeing execution, e.g., as a principal investigator or project director. Developing new ideas and leading proposals to fund that work takes about 25% of their time, and the remainder—about 15%—is spent in activities directly related to program area leadership and management.
Typical Program Area Director duties and responsibilities include:
  • Uphold and model the values of the organization
  • Lead the external-facing vision for the program area
  • Represent the area at key stakeholder meetings
  • Seek to build the program area in ways that support the needs of the field
  • Oversee and coordinate thought leadership plan with senior staff
  • Assess impact and modify approaches accordingly
  • Foster a great-place-to-work environment for all staff
  • Oversee staffing including hiring, ensuring equity, and addressing performance issues quickly 
  • Ensure projects in area do not over/under spend non-fixed price awards & proposal budgets 
  • Ensure quality control including equity reviews across the program area
  • Ensure adequate replacement business (e.g., ensuring sufficient size and number of proposals)
  • Support effective and equitable staffing (working with HR and DEI Director)
  • Serve as principal investigator or project director for one or more projects
  • Lead teams to write proposals, conceptualize work, and negotiate and draft budgets.
  • Meet with clients regularly (outside team members) to ensure all is going well.
This position reports to the vice president overseeing the area.
  • At least 7 years of success doing similar work, with increasing responsibilities (please provide data); we are particularly interested in ability to create a great place to work as a leader in very similar environments.
  •  At least 10+ years’ experience for a senior director role.
  • Demonstrated thought leadership within the field, particularly around topics of sexual, reproductive, and maternal health; individual must have made a significant contribution through their research to the field, policy, or program practices. Expertise in supporting LGBTQ+ youth and experience with participatory action research is preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in both research and team leadership.
  • Demonstrated success winning proposals, ideally from both government and foundation funders and both contracts and grants; Successful history of funding from NIH is preferred. 
  • Extensive experience with and understanding of federal government contracting.
  • Expertise in designing evaluations and research studies.
  • Either an advanced degree (e.g., PhD in relevant field) or equivalent knowledge gained from reading and experience.
  • Proven skills at management of a research team (consistent on-time, within budget work).
  • Demonstrated communications achievements (e.g., notable research papers, effective white papers).
How to Apply:
Please follow the “apply” link to submit your application. When asked by the system to upload resume, please upload one document that includes your resume, cover letter, transcripts, a writing sample and contact information for three professional references. Materials must be combined into one document in order to be uploaded. If you have any difficulties with this process please email the requested materials to recruitment(at) and make sure to reference the position in the subject line. No phone calls please!
Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center headquartered in Bethesda, MD with more than 200 staff in over 28 states that provides valuable information and insights on the well-being of children, youth, and their families. For more than 40 years, policymakers, funders, educators and service providers in the U.S. have relied on our data and analyses to make better decisions and policies on programs serving children, families, and youth. 
Child Trends is committed to hiring, retaining, and promoting staff who bring a rich diversity of experience to support our mission of improving the lives and prospects of children and youth, especially those made most vulnerable by the effects of historical and ongoing systemic discrimination. Together, we envision a world in which a child’s race, ethnicity, family income, gender, sexual orientation, disability status or any other social identity does not determine how that child will fare in life. Therefore, we approach every aspect of our work with these ideals in mind and encourage professionals who share in our commitment to apply.  
Child Trends is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Protected veterans and individuals with disability encouraged to apply.