Public Health/Biostatistics/Epidemiology Community Health
This is a grant funded position and is not eligible for severance pay. This is also a limited term position that will end in 2024.
The Department of Public Health and Community Medicine is an academic department within the Tufts University School of Medicine located on the Health Sciences Campus in Boston. Technical and academic assets within the department provide a strong research support system for federally-funded research. Its 30 full-time faculty members hold advanced degrees in epidemiology, biostatistics, sociology, anthropology, law, medicine, nutrition, biology, engineering, health policy, economics, social policy, education, social work, and the behavioral sciences. Department research includes a focus on the following thematic areas: health equity, health communication, nutrition and infection, infectious disease epidemiology, health policy and health care delivery, environmental health, the opioid epidemic, and global health. Department faculty are methodologically strong and diverse, with expertise in biostatistics, survey research, program evaluation, qualitative methods, dietary assessment and spatial epidemiological analysis.
A major driver of the U.S opioid crisis is limited access to effective medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) that reduce overdose. Traditionally, jails and prisons in the U.S. do not initiate or maintain MOUD for inmates with OUD prior to their return to the community, which places them at high risk for fatal overdose. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose risk among former inmates has shown signs of increasing further. A 2019 law (“Chapter 208”) made Massachusetts (MA) the first state to mandate that five county jails deliver all FDA-approved MOUDs (extended-release naltrexone buprenorphine-naloxone , and methadone). Chapter 208 establishes a 4-year pilot program to expand all FDA-approved forms of MOUD at five county jails; two more county jails in MA voluntarily joined this initiative. The law stipulates that MOUD be maintained in individuals receiving it prior to detention and initiated prior to release among sentenced inmates where appropriate. The seven jails must also facilitate continuation of the medication in the community on release. The Massachusetts Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network proposes to partner with these seven diverse jails and community treatment providers to conduct a Type 1 hybrid effectiveness-implementation study of Chapter 208. We will: (1) Perform a longitudinal treatment outcome study among inmates with OUD who receive MOUD, or no MOUD in jail utilizing MA’s powerful and innovative Public Health Data Warehouse, a collection of over two dozen linked state administrative data sets, to examine post-release MOUD initiation, engagement and retention, as well as fatal and non-fatal overdose and recidivism. (2) Conduct an implementation study that will incorporate qualitative and quantitative research methods to understand contextual factors that facilitate and impede delivery of MOUDs in jail and community care coordination, and best practice strategies that optimize MOUD delivery in jail and coordinated care with community partners. (3) Calculate the cost to the correctional system of implementing MOUD in jail, and conduct an economic evaluation from state-policymaker and societal perspectives to compare the value of MOUD prior to release from jail to no MOUD among matched controls. The Chapter 208 initiative has important implications for future policy and practice in the justice and OUD treatment systems at the local, state, and national levels. This study’s insights into Chapter 208’s implementation will inform the efficient development of future strategies to address OUDs in jail populations nationwide.
Under the supervision of the Tufts Principal Investigator and Program Manager, the Research Coordinator assists with data entry focused on MOUD initiation and adherence in Houses of Correction in Eastern Massachusetts, onsite or remotely from home as feasible given COVID-19: data extraction and data entry using study instruments provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH); supports data collection interviews with inmates as needed; data management; transfer of data from HOCs to the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) with MDPH; collaboration with local HOC staff and leadership; and helping with other tasks as needed.
Bachelor’s degree preferred with 0-2 years research experience.
Must be comfortable working in a secure, correctional environment.
Knowledge of prison systems and correctional facilities desired.
Solid computer skills and proficiency: Excel, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word.
Ability to work well with a study coordinator and local supervisor.
Must possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation and be able and willing to travel throughout the state.
Ability to follow study protocols and careful attention to detail is essential.
Ability to work successfully and patiently under pressure, understand and follow policies and procedures, and accommodate change.
Ability to take responsibility for assignments, work independently, and as part of a team.
Experience handling confidential materials with discretion.
Due to COVID-19 and the capacity of the correctional facilities to provide safe working space, schedules may vary. Shifts may be irregular (potentially including weekends and off-hours) and may therefore require schedule flexibility.
MPH in epidemiology, public health, biostatistics, or mixed methods preferred.
Training in public health or social sciences (e.g., sociology, anthropology, social work, criminal justice).
Experience working with community members with opioid use disorder (OUD).
Experience working with ACASI, REDCap, and Qualtrics programs desirable.
Special Work Schedule Requirements:
The Program Director will working closely with the Tufts Site PI, and the study PIs to carry out and oversee all elements of the JCOIN study in Eastern MA.
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