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Epidemiologist (PHL Respiratory), Agency for Health Protection and Promotion

Toronto, Ontario
Deadline February 22, 2010

Position Title: Epidemiologist (PHL Respiratory)
Code: EPI-01
Reports to: Senior Respiratory Epidemiologist
Duration: Permanent
Location: Toronto Public Health Lab 81 Resources Road
Posting Date: Monday, February 8, 2010
Closing Date: Monday, February 22, 2010

Organization Summary

The Ontario Agency for Health Protection & Promotion (OAHPP) is a centre for specialized research and knowledge in public health, focusing in the areas of infectious disease, infection control and prevention, health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention, and environmental health. It provides technical and scientific assistance, rapid on-site field support, as needed, specialized communication and training, as well as standards input and practical tools for implementing best practices.

The Agency was created by the Ontario Government as a result of its commitment to Operation Health Protection, through the Health System Improvements Act (Bill 171). As Ontario’s first ever provincial Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, the Agency brings academic, clinical, and government experts together to create a centre of public health excellence in the province.

Position Summary

The Epidemiologist supports critical corporate and laboratory Agency areas as part of a surveillance and epidemiology team, specifically to build the Agency’s vigilance of, and responsiveness to outbreaks and other emerging epidemiological trends. The Epidemiologist works closely with corporate and laboratory professionals to collect, interpret, and relate episodic and regular jurisdictional surveillance data.

The Epidemiologist supports the Agency’s surveillance and outbreak detection/response strategies and tactics in conjunction with the Senior Respiratory Epidemiologist and other members of the corporate and scientific teams. In addition to resourcing the Agency’s corporate intelligence of epidemiological activities, the Epidemiologist also liaises with government, public health, research, and academic institutes to contribute to and keep apprised of best practices in surveillance methodology, information and reporting tools, and outbreak detection/response.

Reporting Relationship and Span of Control

The Epidemiologist reports formally to the Senior Respiratory Epidemiologist, and forms part of a broader surveillance and epidemiology team, which is deployed throughout the Agency as a cross-functional resource.

This post is one of a pair of positions based at the OAHPP Toronto Public Health Laboratory with a dual reporting line through the Medical Microbiologist, Respiratory Diseases to the PHL Surveillance Chief (title tbd) as part of the surveillance team within the PHL.

Key Responsibilities

As part of a team, the Epidemiologist:

  • Manages the Agency’s surveillance data-collection and data-management processes.
  • Supports epidemiological research and surveillance activities of Agency and supports surveillance activities of the Public Health Laboratories,
  • Designs and coordinates surveillance data-gathering processes to provide timely information to the Agency and its key stakeholders, either as part of regular reporting activities, or on an as-needed basis for special purposes.
  • Prepares current data to enable and support decision-making processes for the Agency and its stakeholders. Responds to requests for information from stakeholders.
  • Designs, coordinates, and participates in the Agency’s outbreak detection/response strategy and tactics for infectious disease incidents.
  • Identifies appropriate data sources and monitors current local, provincial, national, and international trends in epidemiological activity and reports these quickly and as necessary.
  • Provides subject-matter expertise and resource support to Agency colleagues, particularly the Public Health Laboratories.
  • Liaises as necessary with stakeholders and resources in various health-sector and regulatory institutions, and builds strong working rapport between these and the Agency.
  • Presents findings, initiatives, and relevant Agency activities at local, regional, national and international forums as appropriate.

Knowledge & Skills

  • Expert knowledge and experience of infectious disease surveillance, research, advanced statistics, infectious disease control, and public health.
  • Expert understanding of relevant regulations and regulatory trends in epidemiology, public health and surveillance (e.g. privacy legislation).
  • Expert communication and inter-personal skills to enable effective information presentation and deployment into teams of multi-disciplinary professionals.
  • Extensive understanding of microbiology laboratory operations and processes.
  • Strong writing and editing skills to prepare and review Agency reports, briefing notes, letters, and position papers.
  • Mature, creative, and conscientious work bearing.

Education & Experience

  • Completion of graduate-level training in microbiology and public-health, epidemiology, or biostatistics.
  • Between two and four years experience as an epidemiologist in a public-health facility, with similar involvement in identifying or working with infectious disease data sources; running surveillance systems, procuring data, preparing reports, and editing these with scientific rigour.
  • Experience managing and analysing data, including outbreak detection, trend analysis, and software such as SAS, SPSS, STATA.
  • Experience of geo-spatial analysis of data would be desirable
  • Experience working with a diverse stakeholder group, building public health, research, academic, institutional, and professional networks, and working at local, provincial/territorial, and/or federal levels.
  • Experience influencing public-health policy and practice, having introduced new initiatives and implemented them.
  • Experience of delivering training to public health colleagues or students.

In addition, the Respiratory Epidemiologist is responsible for running the Vaccine Effectiveness Study for which the following skills and experience are required:

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Able to liaise and communicate effectively with primary care physicians, establish and maintain good relationships, maintain and expand the network of physicians
  • Experience of the requirements of reporting to government and to physicians
  • Experience of ethics committee approval processes
  • Understanding of the needs of a microbiology laboratory with respect to processing and diagnosis of respiratory infections for routine needs and research
  • Experience of organizing a study involving writing instructions, organizing and sending out kits to primary care and transporting specimens.
  • Project management skills
  • Experience liaising with research partners in other organizations on study results and publications
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines

Contact Information:

Your cover letter and resume must clearly indicate how you meet the qualifications and competencies.

Please reply in confidence quoting job reference EPI-01 to [email protected]

We appreciated your interest and we will contact you if a meeting is required.