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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Job Vacancy Announcement – Social and Behavioral Science Administrator (Program Officer)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR)
Disparities in Mental Health Services Research Program

Position Overview

NIMH is committed to supporting research that reduces disparities and advances equity in mental health interventions, services, and outcomes. NIMH's Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch (SRCEB) seeks a motivated and experienced health services researcher. This successful candidate will develop and manage a portfolio of innovative grant-supported research to understand and eliminate mental health disparities in minority, marginalized, and vulnerable populations across a range of treatment settings. SRCEB is within NIMH's Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR), which offers a stimulating and collegial work environment with opportunities to influence mental health research priorities, develop new research initiatives, and advance a national program of health services research.

General responsibilities for Program Officers in SRCEB include administering and managing a portfolio of extramural research grants; collaborating with researchers and Program Officers from related scientific programs within NIMH, NIH, HHS, and other public and private funding agencies; and communicating SRCEB research priorities via outreach to the scientific community (e.g., conference presentations, workshops, and special journal issues).

The successful candidate will have primary responsibility for developing and managing a portfolio of research grants in the disparities research arena, including social, behavioral, cultural, and environmental determinants of health that affect the availability, delivery, quality, and effectiveness of mental health services. Research topics include:

(1) identifying mutable factors that influence disparities in mental health services, particularly across special populations such as racial, ethnic, and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, members of sexual and gender minority communities, women and children, and persons living in rural and frontier areas;

(2) testing innovative service delivery models, including multilevel interventions, that target mutable factors to reduce or eliminate known health disparities and improve access, continuity, value, and equity of mental health care; and

(3) evaluating implementation strategies for evidence-based mental health services in non-specialty settings (e.g., the criminal justice system, child welfare system, social service agencies, federally qualified health centers, and academic settings including schools, community colleges, and universities). 

The Disparities in Mental Health Services Research Program is a part of SRCEB. The goal of this research program is to expand understanding of the social, behavioral, cultural, and environmental health determinants which lead to disparities in service use, delivery, and outcomes, providing mechanistic insights that will lead to interventions that can reduce these disparities and achieve mental health equity and enhanced quality of life for all populations. The portfolio features research utilizing large data sets (e.g., administrative, claims, or electronic health record data), quasi-experimental techniques to evaluate “natural experiments” in mental health service delivery, comparative effectiveness trials, mixed methods approaches, and hybrid effectiveness-implementation designs.


The ideal candidate will possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree (e.g., M.D., DSW, Sc.D) from an accredited college or university, with graduate training in the social and behavioral sciences as they relate to health. Desired qualifications include training in health services research, intervention science, or policy research. Experience in the conduct of research or research management and data-based publications in the science of health disparities are required. Prior experience in mental health disparities research is ideal. Strong organizational, oral, writing, and communication skills are required. Experience with the grants process is preferable. The successful candidate is subject to a background investigation and public financial disclosure requirements.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens. The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. HHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers. The work site is in Rockville, Maryland. A full package of federal Civil Service benefits is available, including retirement, health and life insurance, long-term care insurance, leave, and a Thrift Savings Plan (401K equivalent). Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The position will be posted at the GS-12-13 and GS-14 federal government salary grades, with an annual salary between $87,198 to $159,286.

How to Apply

To be considered for these positions, you will need to apply to the Social and Behavioral Sciences Administrator (Program Officer). The announcement opens on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 and will close on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

Delegated Examining (Open to the Public)

Merit Promotion (Open to Status Candidates)