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Data Specialist II, Non-Fatal and Risks Quality Enhancement

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent research center at the University of Washington. Its mission is to deliver to the world timely, relevant, and scientifically valid evidence to improve health policy and practice. IHME carries out its mission through a range of projects within different research areas including the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors; Future Health Scenarios; Cost Effectiveness and Efficiency; Resource Tracking; and Impact Evaluations. Our vision is to provide policymakers, donors, and researchers with the highest-quality quantitative evidence base so all people live long lives in full health.

IHME is committed to providing the evidence base necessary to help solve the world’s most important health problems. This requires creativity and innovation, which are cultivated by an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment that respects and appreciates differences, embraces collaboration, and invites the voices of all IHME team members.

IHME has an outstanding opportunity for a Data Specialist II to join the Non-Fatal and Risks Quality Enhancement team.

This position will work with a dynamic team of researchers, faculty, and staff at all levels. The Data Specialist II will exhibit an understanding of the operational relationships between data, analytic tools, and results in the disease modeling process. This role will specifically focus at the outset on DisMod-AT, our newly developed method for analyzing nonfatal GBD estimates and recalibrating our analyses on disease modeling, aimed at increasing our scientific excellence and maximizing the impact, policy-relevance, and applications of the GBD study and its affiliate products.  This role requires an individual who has the ability to code and document code at a high level so that it is repeatable, reliable, and optimized in R and Python.  The Data Specialist II is needed to develop diagnostics and code other commonly needed analytic practices to ensure research team-specific processes maximize the alignment with central analytic machinery, common coding practices, and documentation standards while effectively using and feeding into centrally maintained data.

The individual must be adept at navigating complex databases and analytic engines, be able to design and interpret diagnostics, and troubleshoot problems to resolve them. They must be able to independently interpret results to assess their quality and must be able to assess, transform, and utilize a broad array of quantitative data. Frequently, the individual will be given assignments where a desired result is identified but there is no preset path laid for achieving it. The individual therefore must carry out individual planning and problem solving to resolve computational questions and produce results. 

This position will additionally work alongside other research staff on complementary projects and will require knowledge, skill sharing, mentorship, and collective problem solving. Overall, the Data Specialist II will be a critical member of an agile, dynamic research team. IHME is a grant funded organization and this position is contingent on project funding availability.

Research command

  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of team-specific analyses, analytic strategies, data and enterprise-wide inputs to interpret whether the results produced are sensible or need improvements.
  • Work directly with researchers to identify the source of data used in models and results, understand the context of the data, and ensure that they are relevant to the analyses themselves.
  • Expected to learn the fundamental elements of the Global Burden of Disease framework and especially how the work of their team specifically fits into it.

Data management and analytics

  • Independently design ways to improve routine computational processes, including the relevant tradeoffs of different approaches, for decision-making purposes.
  • Transform, format, and standardize datasets for use in ongoing analyses. Perform quality checks.
  • Problem-solve computational and analytic challenges by investigating the data, understanding the root questions, and coming up with alternative measurement strategies.
  • Develop and execute diagnostics to assist in testing various analytic strategies and to evaluate modelling results.
  • Enhance and execute analytic code, statistical models, and tools to carry out functions responsive to the analytic questions to be resolved. Address and improve team-specific analytic strategies that will get used frequently by multiple people within the team.
  • Produce novel analytics, charts, graphs, and other materials to support the needs and requests of researchers, collaborators, and other stakeholders.
  • Assess results and provide input on validity.
  • Standardize code for team-specific data transformation needs (e.g. DisMod-AT) to draw upon centrally maintained databases and tools. Demonstrate understanding of code functionality and relate it to the analytic strategy.
  • Ensure team specific processes align with central analytic machinery and can draw upon and feed into that machinery seamlessly as needed.
  • Uphold Institute-wide coding, documentation, and data cataloguing standards.


  • Provide technical and analytic mentorship to junior employees. May lead the work of others.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively while contributing as a member of the Institute.
  • Work closely with other team members to assist with relevant tasks, facilitate learning new skills, and help resolve emerging problems on different projects.
  • Serve as a resource to others in explaining analytic approaches, describing data, and instructing how to implement code. Participate in and/or lead internal trainings.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, engineering, computer science, or related field plus four years’ related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.


  • A commitment to working alongside others at IHME to illuminate the health impacts of systemic racism and to work within IHME to make our organization more diverse and inclusive. See IHME’s DEI statement here:
  • Demonstrated expertise in developing code in R and/or Python.
  • Previous experience providing successful coding and analytical mentorship to others.
  • Demonstrated self-motivation and evidence of self-direction. Agility with detailed information and data. Demonstrated flexibility and mature communication skills with an ability to thrive in a fast-paced, energetic, highly creative, and entrepreneurial environment.
  • Ability to learn new information quickly and to apply analytic skills to better understand complex information in a systematic way.
  • Strong quantitative aptitude and agility making sense of new data.
  • Familiarity with the Global Burden of Disease framework.
  • Ability to teach and train others on the major tenets, principles, and purpose of a subset of the analytic work.
  • Experience interpreting results and developing diagnostics in order to help manage quality control system of the input data and results.
  • Ability to compartmentalize, illustrate, and explain how code implements analytic strategies.
  • Interest in global health, population health, and/or ways in which quantitative research and data science can be used to create valuable global public goods.


  • Weekend and evening work sometimes required.
  • Office is located in Seattle, Washington. This position is eligible to work fully remote in the US.

Application Process:   The application process may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Work Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others. Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.