Postdoctoral Scholar Position in Childhood Obesity Prevention

Job Description


Posted: 14-Aug-23

Location: Boston, MA (remote initially if necessary)

Salary: Open



Internal Number: 76378

About ChildObesity180

ChildObesity180 is a national leader in childhood obesity prevention – blending scientific evidence and rigor with innovation and experience from the private sector to develop, implement, evaluate, and scale high-impact obesity prevention initiatives in the US. ChildObesity180's unique value proposition rests in the ability to leverage the experiences, intellect, and assets from multiple sectors to address one of society's most pressing public health problems – childhood obesity. ChildObesity180 is part of the Gerald J and Dorothy R Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and is located at Tufts University's Boston, MA campus. The Friedman School is a rare blend of nutrition scholarship and policy expertise, and a leader in science, education, and public policy, whose faculty work together to address large and complex nutrition issues across the globe. The ChildObesity180 Postdoctoral Fellow will have the opportunity to join over 200 Friedman School graduate students, other postdoctoral fellows , and faculty in seminars, workshops, and other scholarly and social activities as part of the Friedman School and the larger Tufts community , including the recently launched Tufts Institute for Global Obesity Research (TIGOR), a Tufts-wide initiative to foster collaborations that are urgently needed to address the complex societal problem of obesity, with both a domestic and global focus. 


Duties & Responsibilities:

Dr. Christina Economos, Professor at the Friedman School and Director of ChildObesity180, will be the primary mentor for the Postdoctoral Fellow to work on ongoing research activities related to the application of systems science methods to community-based obesity prevention. The Postdoctoral Fellow position provides a unique opportunity to refine a framework for community-based obesity prevention that blends three systems science approaches (agent-based modeling, community-based system dynamics, and social network analysis) with nutrition science and technical assistance to help communities implement interventions that directly impact children's health. Additionally, the position provides an exciting opportunity to rigorously evaluate different components of the framework, and meaningfully translate those analyses into guidance to guide community decision-making.


The postdoctoral fellow will work with a multi-disciplinary team, including nutritionists, statisticians/modelers, system science experts, and community partners.  Key responsibilities of the Post-Doctoral Fellow will include

  • Conducting data analysis, evaluation and interpretation, and leading the development of data visualizations and methods for sharing data with community partners to guide decision-making efforts at the local level
  • Developing grant proposals to support research efforts
  • Developing peer-reviewed publications, and abstracts for presenting research findings internally and at scientific meetings
  • Assisting with synthesis of cross-disciplinary expertise from project co-investigators to guide implementation of the framework, including nutrition science, systems science, public health, and organizational theory
  • Synthesizing findings to support research efforts
  • Supervising graduate students and intern research projects related to development and implementation of the framework


The Postdoctoral Fellow will mainly be involved with the JPB Foundation-funded Catalyzing Communities to Prevent Obesity and Codifying Healthy Harlem for Replication and Scale projects, and other research activities based on interests and expertise. In addition, candidates will have the opportunity to participate in additional research given their experience and interests, within the larger research team of ChildObesity180 and TIGOR. Examples may include evaluating the impact of food policy councils, modeling the impact of extended out of school time on children, or collaborating with the WIC Telehealth Intervention and Evaluation Project.

A major emphasis will be placed on leading original analyses and manuscripts, career development, and transition toward an independent research career. A competitive salary, benefits, and travel/educational opportunities in the interdisciplinary environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy are offered. The position is for a one-year period with renewal conditional on performance. Position available starting in mid 2020. Candidates from all over the world are encouraged to apply who are willing to conduct their research work in the US, at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA.

Required Education, Experience and Skills

Applicants must have a PhD/DrPH/ScD in nutrition, epidemiology, public/health policy, psychology, or related field.  Applicants who have a strong interest in quantitative modeling, the application of complex modeling techniques to community-based interventions, or community psychology and organizational theory is preferred. A strong record of original, first-author, publications in one or more of these areas is essential. Candidates should have quantitative research skills, experience using R, STATA, or SAS for both data management and analysis, excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work independently and with collaborators.  

Preferred Education, Experience and Skills

Experience in one or more of the following areas is preferred: social-network analysis, community-based system dynamics, agent-based modeling, analysis of large data sets (e.g., electronic medical records). The ideal candidate will have formal training in a combination of: A) community psychology or public health; and B) policy, environment, and behavior change interventions. C) systems science methods and analysis techniques.

Application should include:

  • Cover letter describing previous achievements, research interests and why the candidate is suitable for this position (maximum 2 pages).
  • CV including a list of relevant publications.
  • Names, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers for at least two academic referees.
  • Tufts University, founded in 1852, prioritizes quality teaching, highly competitive basic and applied research, and a commitment to active citizenship locally, regionally, and globally. Tufts University has also committed to becoming an anti-racist institution and prides itself on the continuous improvement of diversity, equity and inclusion work. Current and prospective employees of the university are expected to have and continuously develop skill in, and disposition for, positively engaging with a diverse population of faculty, staff, and students.
    Tufts University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and staff and fostering their success when hired. Members of underrepresented groups are welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. See the University's Non-Discrimination statement and policy here https://oeo.tufts.edu/policies-procedures/non-discrimination/ . If you are an applicant with a disability who is unable to use our online tools to search and apply for jobs, please contact us by calling the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 617-627-3298 or at oeo@tufts.edu . Applicants can learn more about requesting reasonable accommodations at https://oeo.tufts.edu/

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