Health Data Program
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.
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.
In the first six months of 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 looking for a Product Manager-in-Residence to lead the program.
As the Product Manager-In-Residence, you will work with the USDR Administrators to discover and prioritize opportunities for the USDR to make impact by working alongside state and local government agencies. You will work with executive level stakeholders at these agencies, individual engineers or support personnel, and everyone in between. You will gain deep insight into the real challenges facing these agencies and their desire to serve their communities better.
This role is a good fit for someone who is interested in the intersection of technology, policy, and healthcare. A successful Product Manager-in-Residence brings cross-functional experience in strategy, digital service delivery, and team leadership. This is a leadership position, so we’re looking for a proven track record of problem-finding and prioritization in addition to roadmapping and execution. Mid- or senior-level technical leaders with experience building data products from scratch, managing teams, and working with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders will be best equipped to succeed in this role.
This is a full-time, paid, six-month-long position.
In this position, you will:
- Discover and prioritize opportunities for USDR to make scaled impact by talking to government agencies and other third parties in the USDR network. Problem-finding and strategic reasoning are key; you will work closely with the USDR Administrators to create direction for this program, rather than being handed a roadmap to execute on.
- Collaboratively scope out and execute on projects with our government and nonprofit partners. Drive the roadmap to ensure successful follow-through.
- Help recruit and lead a team of 3 additional full-time technologists-in-residence and as many volunteers as we can source to deliver a broad portfolio of data solutions.
- Find opportunities to take solutions designed for one local government and scale them to other places with similar needs.
- Run pilots and experiments to find out which directions are promising.
- Share learnings, best practices, and solutions with the health data community by writing playbooks or publishing open source software. Make recommendations to government partners who just need advice, not a team of builders.
- 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:
- Significant relevant experience in both driving strategic direction and driving product execution. You have a track record of leading data products from scratch, from conception to deployment and maintenance, doing market research and generating buy-in and support along the way.
- Direct experience building and deploying data products. Although hands-on experience as a data scientist or engineer is a nice-to-have, we’re looking for product leadership and data strategy experience in this role.
- Proven ability to influence cross-functional teams without formal authority. As a product leader, you’ll keep the vision in focus for the team and help every contributor understand how their work fits into the big picture.
- Excellent verbal, written, and visual communication skills. You’ll be spending time with a wide variety of stakeholders with varying levels of technical and data literacy. They’ll be looking to you to help bring their pain points and options into clear focus.
- Experience managing both internal and external stakeholders through coalition-building, aligning goals, and setting clear expectations and timelines.
- We don’t presume background knowledge in healthcare for this role. It’s a nice-to-have. More importantly, we’re looking for candidates who can quickly conduct research, synthesize information, and reason about trade-offs in an unfamiliar domain.
Applying for this role
Later in our interview process, we’ll ask you to write and present a short proposal for a project that the Health Data Program could work on that will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the US. You don’t need to submit this proposal to apply. If you are selected to be interviewed, we’ll ask you to spend some time writing one up.
A strong proposal would include:
- A clearly-defined problem statement, and evidence for why you find this to be a promising focus area
- A clear description of what the solution might be. In the spirit of “demos, not memos,” bonus points for any low-fidelity visuals you could produce.
- Measures of impact or success
- A research plan: what assumptions would you need to validate to feel confident in this solution?
- A go-to-market strategy: there are plenty of existing solutions that remain unused by governments. How would you garner adoption?
- Any resources you predict you would need to execute on this project successfully
We’re not necessarily assuming that the project you propose will be something that you or the Health Data Program will commit to. The goal of this proposal is for you to give us a window into how you reason and plan.
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 November 2020, 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.
What are you looking for in a Product-Manager-in-Residence at U.S. Digital Response?
Product managers from many different backgrounds have successfully led projects at U.S. Digital Response. In general, PMs at U. S. Digital Response are veteran technical leaders who can simultaneously focus on delivering value to our government partners as quickly as possible and gather generalizable learnings to further scale the team’s impact across multiple jurisdictions. They are collaborative leaders able to guide and motivate a team of like-minded senior volunteer technologists at U.S. Digital Response to solve immediate needs for their government partners. They also partner with experts in public policy, government tech, and other interest groups to gain broader insight into their problem space, to better solve the immediate needs and to compile the broader learnings. They will be supported by the broader U.S. Digital Response team to build out their team, to get connected to the right people, and to tell the story of what the team has accomplished.
How will the PM-in-Residence be selected?
Applications closed on October 23, 2020. 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].