Junior Service Fellow - Office of the Director

Rockville, Maryland
Jan 14, 2022
Jan 15, 2022
Executive, Director
Full Time

This is an Excepted Service position under Title 42. Applications will be accepted from all groups of qualified persons (i.e., U.S. Citizens). No previous federal experience is required. This appointment does not confer any entitlement to conversion to a position in the competitive service.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is soliciting applications for time-limited Fellowship opportunities. AHRQ's mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable and to work with the HHS and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

The AHRQ Intramural Fellowship Program provides opportunities for individuals to work with leading health services researchers in the conduct and support of research on "real life" issues that support the Agency's mission and contributes to improvements in health care. Fellows are also afforded the opportunity to work with administrative protocols, gain access to AHRQ-sponsored data sets, and apply statistical analysis methods to broaden the Fellow's understanding of health services research and the Agency' effect on the health care system.

Junior fellows are generally involved as part of a team responsible for conducting research and performing research-related activities. At this level, research studies generally have clear and specific objectives and involve investigations having a limited number of variables and self-directed work in planning and carrying out research activities.

Topics for research projects include:

Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement (CEPI)
1) Project: Electronic-Care (E-Care) Planning for People Living with Multiple Chronic Conditions and Disability

Work with staff in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement on a project to develop an accessible, interoperable, person-centered electronic (e-) care plan, including standard data elements, that facilitates movement of clinical, contextual/social determinants of health (SDoH), and individual goals and preferences data across healthcare settings (e.g., primary care, specialty care, hospital, community).

2) Project: Using Real World Data to enhance Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) reports

Work with staff in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement to test as a proof-of-concept the use of primary data analysis using resources available from AHRQ to supplement the findings of an existing AHRQ systematic review of the published literature. The successful candidate will have a basic understanding of public health, epidemiology and/or health services research concepts and skills in statistical programming (e.g. STATA, R, SAS).

3) Project: Stakeholder analysis to support implementation of Shared Decision Making (SDM)

Work with staff in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement to conduct a mixed-methods stakeholder analysis of the adoption and sustained implementation of Shared Decision Making (SDM), a collaborative model of patient/provider communication in which patients and their care teams work together to make health care decisions.

4) Project: Exploring novel approaches for dissemination of Health Services Research (HSR) with a focus on Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) reports and Digital Healthcare Research

Work with staff in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement to explore and evaluate the use of novel approaches to communicate findings from AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) reports and digital healthcare research to professionals and the public. Approaches might include use of infographics, videos and animation through web and social media platforms.

Office of the Director (OD)

5) Project: Analyze and inform AHRQ strategy related to climate change, environmental justice, and healthcare.

Climate change is a large and growing threat to health and the ability of the U.S. healthcare system to provide high quality, equitable care. The Fellow will work with senior staff in AHRQ's OD and with a cross-agency working group to develop and implement a strategic plan for how the Agency can best use its resources to address climate change through its core competencies of health systems research, practice improvement, and data & analytics.

6) Project: Support Strategic Planning for AHRQ's Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (PCORTF)

Work with staff in the Office of the Director. The Fellow will assist AHRQ's senior leaders in a cross agency strategic planning effort, as we seek and integrate external stakeholder input into AHRQ's evolving PCORTF strategic plan. The Fellow should have an interest in the organization of healthcare delivery, quality improvement, health policy and financing, and a passion for addressing public health challenges and social determinants of health.

Project list continues below.


Conditions of Employment


1. Security and Background Requirements: If not previously completed, a background security investigation will be required for all appointees . Appointment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements may be grounds for appropriate personnel action. In addition, if hired, a background security re-investigation or supplemental investigation may be required at a later time. Applicants are also advised that all information concerning qualifications is subject to investigation. False representation may be grounds for non-consideration, non-selection and/or appropriate disciplinary action.

2. E-Verify: If you are selected for this position, the documentation that you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 will be verified through the DHS "E-Verify" System. Federal law requires DHS to use the E-Verify System to verify employment eligibility of all new hires and as a condition of continued employment obligates the new hire to take affirmative steps to resolve any discrepancies identified by the system. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is an E-Verify participant.

3. Direct Deposit: All Federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choice.

4. All qualification requirements must be met by 11:59 PM (EST) on 01/14/2022.

5. Financial disclosure statement is required.

6. Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses may be paid: NO

7. Bargaining Unit Position: NO

8. Recruitment incentives may be authorized: NO

9. Student loan repayment incentive may be authorized: NO

10. Annual leave for non-federal service may be authorized: NO



Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations (OEREP)

7) Project: Portfolio Analysis of our Training Programs

Work with Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations staff to analyze existing databases to explore trends and outcomes such as grant application activity, funding success, and analysis of topic areas funded by AHRQ.

Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends (CFACT)

8) Project: Marketplace and Medicaid Enrollment Modeling

Work with staff in the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends. The Fellow will work to develop models of health insurance enrollment for Marketplace and Medicaid coverage. Working with data on Marketplace premiums and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data and/or other nationally representative datasets on families and their characteristics, the Fellow will build models to predict enrollment.

9) Project: Telehealth Use and Quality of Care During the Pandemic

Work with staff in the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends on Telehealth Use, Spending, Quality of Care, and Disparities During the Pandemic. The research Fellow will help run data analyses on various datasets at AHRQ to evaluate the shift to telehealth, as well as the socioeconomic barriers to telehealth.

10) Project: Insulin Affordability and Adherence

Work with staff in the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends on the affordability of insulin is of great concern to individuals with diabetes, health care providers, private and public payers. The Fellow will work with researchers at AHRQ to select a diabetic patient population from multiple data sources, then construct the insulin adherence measures during the post-index follow-up period (the index date will be defined as the initiation of insulin with a 6-month washout period). The Fellow will help formulate results tables and draft a manuscript intended for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

11) Project Title: Research on Healthcare Workforce and Hospital Resources

Work with staff in the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends on traditional approaches in health services research relies on rigorous methods, the most recent data available, and a peer-review process to assure the quality of analyses.

Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQUIPS)

12) Project: Network of Patient Safety Databases (NPSD)

Work with staff in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, on data in the Network of Patient Safety Databases (NPSD). The Fellow will do a "deep dive" on at least one area of the NPSD data to analyze what the data reveal, how the data aligns with existing evidence about patient safety concerns, and what further research questions the data suggest need answered. The results of this project may be featured as an NPSD Data Spotlight.

13) Project: Standard Data Elements for Patient Safety Data

Work with staff in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, projects dealing with standardizing data elements for patient safety data. This will involve environmental scans of data elements collected by other systems and synthesizing information from existing research.

14) Project: The National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (NHQDR)

Work with staff in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, on The National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. The (NHQDR) team compiles data from across the Department of HHS and from multiple other data partners () to produce an annual report to Congress; periodic chartbooks, state snapshots, data spotlights, and infographics; and a data search tool.

15) Project: The AHRQ Quality Indicators (QIs)

Work with staff in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, on The AHRQ Quality Indicators, (QIs) are measures that use readily available hospital administrative data to monitor clinical performance, quality of care, patient safety, and outcomes. This work will result in a set of recommendations to guide AHRQ on developing this topic area.


Basic Requirements:

Applicants must possess a Bachelor's or graduate/higher level degree: major study in an academic field related to the medical field, health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of the position. This degree must be from an educational program from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education at the time the degree was obtained.

Additional Qualification Requirements:

In addition to the basic requirement, a Master's degree (or equivalent graduate training) in a health related or research field. (Career civil service equivalent GS-09.)

Only U.S. citizens or citizens who have gained U.S. citizenship through naturalization may be considered. Applicants who are non-immigrant visa holders or immigrant green card holders (i.e., permanent residents) are ineligible for consideration. Successful applicants should possess an advanced degree (a master's degree or higher level degree) with a concentration in Health Services Research, (e.g., public health, economics, sociology, biostatics, epidemiology, or political science) or a Health-related or Research field. In addition, applicants should possess and be able to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of research, statistics, and scientific terminology and an ability to communicate information orally and in writing.

Junior Fellows will be assigned a senior-level researcher, who will provide guidance and direction regarding the assigned research projects as well as the principles and protocols that guide the conduct of health services research. Additionally, the senior-level researcher will establish a curriculum for the Fellow to ensure a successful experience with the Agency. The curriculum will include, but is not limited to:
  • Identification of background materials relevant for research assignments to ensure the Fellow's success.
  • Attendance at Agency seminars and brown bag lectures and external experiences to clarify the Agency's role in the field of health services research and the broader health care community,
  • Information regarding the Agency's programs, vision, and activities to fully understand AHRQ's research endeavors and goals.
*This Fellowship opportunity does not convey any Federal benefits due to the temporary nature of the appointment, and travel and relocation and housing expenses will not be paid.

To preview the occupational assessment questionnaire, please click on the following link: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/11306427


This position has an education requirement. You must submit a copy of your transcripts (or a list of your courses including titles, credit hours completed and grades) to document that you have met the education requirement. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted in the application package. Official transcripts will be required prior to your starting work.

Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov .

Applications can be accepted from students who expect to complete qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. However, agencies must verify that the education was completed successfully before the applicant can be appointed.

Additional information


Vaccination Mandate :

In accordance with Executive Order 14043 , Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to exceptions that may be required by law. If selected, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before your entrance on duty if you are selected after the compliance date. Your HR Consultant will provide a list of documents acceptable as proof of vaccination and instructions for how to submit a request for a legally required exception, if needed, to comply with vaccination requirement.

Expanded/Maximum telework Posture :

Due to COVID-19, the agency is currently in a maximum telework posture. If selected, you may be expected to telework upon your appointment. As employees are permitted to return to the office, you may be required to report to the duty station listed on this announcement, even if your home/temporary telework site is located outside the local commuting area. Your position may be eligible for workplace flexibilities which may include remote work or telework options, and/or flexible work scheduling. These flexibilities may be requested in accordance with the HHS Workplace Flexibilities policy.

Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450 form) is required. The Ethics Reform Act of 1989, Executive Order 12674, and 5 C.F.R. Part 2634, Subpart I, require individuals who are assigned to certain designated positions in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, to file an annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450 Form). Please be advised that you will receive an OGE-450 form and it is required that you complete and return this form. A formal official job offer cannot be extended until you have submitted this form and been cleared by AHRQ's ethics officials. As an AHRQ employee, you will also be required to file an annual Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-450). In addition, you may be required to: (1) divest of certain financial interests, or (2) maintain certain financial interests below the de minimis levels of: (1) $15,000 (individual stock) and (2) $50,000 (stocks or sector-specific mutual/exchange traded fund combined). 5 C.F.R. 2640.202

Beginning January 1, 2010, agencies must seek prior approval from OPM before they can appoint a current or recent political appointee to a competitive or non-political excepted service position at any level under the provisions of title 5, United States Code. If you are currently or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employee in the executive branch, you MUST disclose that to the Human Resources Office.

Selective Service: The Defense Authorization Act of 1986 requires that all male applicants born after 12/31/59 who are required to register under the Military Selective Service Act, be registered or they are not eligible for appointment to this position. For further information concerning Selective Service requirements, please visit http://www.sss.gov/.Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in the vacancy announcement may result in your ineligibility for this position.