Health Data Technologist-in-Residence, Design Lead
The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed the data capacity of state and local governments across the United States. Health officials and policymakers need accurate, timely, and trustworthy data to make lifesaving decisions. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, U. S. Digital Response is creating a Health Data Program designed to help state and local governments meet the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis. Our current priority areas are decision support, test reporting, and vaccination preparedness.
Founded by former U.S. Deputy CTOs and seasoned tech industry veterans who led federal open data policies and digital government strategy, U.S. Digital Response is a nonpartisan effort that connects experienced, pro bono technology teams to public servants responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about our work at usdigitalresponse.org or by reading our recent press coverage.
The USDR Health + Data program aims to improve government’s data capacity in the response to COVID-19. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, USDR has launched a dedicated data infrastructure program. This program will build on USDR’s existing rapid response model to deliver fast and free data infrastructure support to state and local governments across the United States. Read more about our learnings.
About the role
Applications are now closed.
Throughout the pandemic, volunteer teams at USDR have built dashboards to help cities better distribute PPE, improved data pipelines for accurate and timely decision-making, and produced analyses to predict the impact of statewide interventions. We’ve received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to continue this work into the next six months, and we’re building a cross-functional team to lead this program together.
As the Design Lead for the Health Data Program, you’ll work closely with the PM Lead, Engineering Lead, and Data Lead to prioritize, design, and implement solutions for USDR’s partners. You’ll work with health departments at multiple levels of government, interfacing with executive level agency stakeholders, individual engineers and support personnel, and everyone in between.
You will gain deep insight into the real challenges facing these agencies, and understand how technologists can help—not as “tech saviors,” but as thought partners.
This is a UX-oriented role first and foremost, but skills from other design disciplines are likely to be useful; everyone at USDR wears as many hats as they need to to serve our partners and the public.
This is a dual hands-on and leadership role for a generalist designer. You will be responsible for generating insights, defining user stories, wireframing and prototyping workflows, and validating with users. You’ll represent the voice of the user to USDR and our partners.
In the likely event that we have more projects than the core team can comfortably take on, you’ll also bring on UX and UI designers from USDR’s volunteer database. USDR has a deep bench of highly capable and versatile designers and researchers; as Design Lead, you’ll set context for them, serve as a sounding board, and supervise their work.
You might be a good fit for this role if you’re a senior UX researcher or designer with mentorship or team leadership experience.
This is a full-time, paid, six-month-long position.
In this position, you will:
- Get hands-on with UX research (scripting, conducting, and synthesizing user interviews), mapping out user journeys and service blueprints, wireframing workflows, and writing UX copy for USDR’s solutions. You have a wide set of tools to reach for, and know which ones to use in which situations.
- Support, coach, and supervise additional UX and UI researchers from USDR’s volunteer community to help the Health Data Program scale up to meet the need. USDR’s volunteers skew senior and can often commit 10-20 hours per week, but they shine best with support and guidance from a lead who can set context for them, help them understand how their work fits into the big picture, and remove blockers.
- Alongside the Health Data Program’s PM, Design Lead, Data Lead, and volunteers, represent USDR on calls with our government and nonprofit partners.
- Serve as a co-owner of the program. This is a good role for a creative, product-minded, user-focused designer who is comfortable creating direction, not just taking direction.
- Share learnings, best practices, and solutions with the health data community by writing playbooks or writing blog posts.
- Tell the story of our health data program to the rest of USDR, to governments, to the media, and to our funders.
Qualified candidates will have:
- 4+ years relevant user research experience working on digital experiences, and generating actionable insights.
- A diverse toolbox of research methods, which may include qualitative interviews, surveys, usability testing, and other methods used in service design.
- A desire to get hands-on with the research and wireframing under ambiguous circumstances—we are constantly engaging with partners bringing new needs to us as the pandemic evolves; the opportunity to create clarity where it did not previously exist should be exciting to you.
- Experience telling compelling stories and getting stakeholders on board with your work, process, insights, and decisions.
- Experience as a design leader. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been a people manager. You may have mentored interns, led task forces and working groups, or served as a domain expert in some specialization. In some specific way, you’ve been a force multiplier for the people around you.
- We don’t assume prior experience with public health or partnering with governments, although it would be a bonus if you had.
Some things you might work on:
- Developing user personas and journey maps to understand how members of the public make decisions around COVID-19. For example, antigen tests are becoming popular throughout the USA, but local health authorities have little to no information about the testing facilities that are beginning to use them. Without a deep understanding of the user context, it’s hard to design ways to reach out to them and influence the way they report tests.
- Creating service blueprints to draw the “big picture” of how services can be delivered to the public, and highlight opportunities for improvement. For example, states and counties are getting ready to administer vaccinations to the public; they need the ability to think about the game plan holistically, while ensuring that critical transition points and interactions are well-designed.
- Wireframing applications. For example, imagine a very simple-to-use test reporting app that local health jurisdictions could ask nontraditional reporters to use.
- Producing playbooks, blog posts, or other artifacts to be consumed by governments we aren’t partnering with directly. Point-of-care test reporting and vaccination readiness are concerns that are currently affecting all states, territories, and counties in the US; by working in the open with one or two partners, we can influence and reach many more.
Compensation and Employment Term
The PM-in-Residence role is a six-month appointment at U.S. Digital Response. The position is expected to begin December 2020 or January 2021, and the salary will be consistent with similar civil society fellowship roles and paid on a bi-weekly basis. This is a temporary position and does not qualify for benefits. There is no guarantee of continued employment beyond the six-month appointment.
At US Digital Response, we believe:
No matter what role you play, perhaps more important than hard skills you have is the attitude and emotional intelligence you bring to the work in a high-intensity environment.
Great members of the USDR team will:
- Recognize that we, as technologists and professionals, are in a support role. Our job is to support those on the front line of the crises. They are the heroes. Our job is to focus our support on them, including understanding their needs.
- Assume positive intent. Public servants operate under constraints but are almost always doing their best, and we must honor that.
- Follow and listen to directions and implement feedback quickly.
- Have the humility and confidence to do whatever is needed to support the project as directed by the partner, at all levels of a project or organization. You’re someone who will carry boxes, and also knows when to step up with grace if there’s a gap, and defer when there is not.
- Have high ethical standards and a deep passion for supporting your community members.
- Be willing to push for change where you can (e.g., let’s move away from expensive vendor solutions that will take months to configure), but also recognize that especially in this crisis, your number one job is to help others. That means you’re willing to get off your soapbox and work within legacy systems and other very real technical, legal, and capacity constraints.
- Come to the table asking, “how can I help” as opposed to “why aren’t we doing it a different way?”
- Be a great communicator — there will be a lot of moving pieces and email threads you’ll be dropped into. Keep the USDR updated on your work, share your learnings proactively, identify ways we can work more effectively or have more impact, and ask for help when you need it. The last piece is especially important — we want to hear more from you!
- Not offer your time and energy for credit, self-promotion, or other individual advances, but be here for the work and to help others.
U.S. Digital Response is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation), disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
How will the Technologist-in-Residence be selected?
Applications closed on Friday, December 4th. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. USDR will conduct an application and resume review, followed by a series of interviews with various members of USDR.
Will I be employed by USDR?
USDR is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives. You will be an employee of Community Initiatives for the duration of the residency.
Is this position fully remote?
Yes, this is a fully remote position. Applicants must reside in and be eligible to work in the United States.
How do I learn more about U.S. Digital Response?
You can access frequently asked questions by both governments and volunteers. You will also have the opportunity to meet several members of the U.S. Digital Response Team for deeper conversations if you advance through the interview process.
This role might not be the right fit for me. Will there be others in the future?
Who do I contact if I have more questions?
You can email us at [email protected].