Communications Specialist, US COVID Response IN, New York 619 views

Department Prevent Epidemics

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Job Brief

Communications Specialist, US COVID Response IN

Vital Strategies is a US-based international public health organization working in more than 70 countries to address important and challenging health issues. We develop and oversee programs to strengthen public health systems and address leading causes of morbidity and mortality, providing expertise in project implementation and management, strategic communications, epidemiology and surveillance, and other core public health capacities.

Resolve to Save Lives is a global health initiative of Vital Strategies that since 2017 has been working closely with governments, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, academic and other partners in a number of countries to strengthen national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats. For more information about our Prevent Epidemics initiative, visit: and

Vital Strategies has formed a COVID-19 Incident Management System to control and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries and the United States. Our work in the US is focused on strengthening the technical, policy and operational capacity of city and county health departments to effectively control COVID with an emphasis on vulnerable communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We are working with a small number of model jurisdictions to demonstrate innovation and document and disseminate best practices.

Vital Strategies aims to recruit a consultant who is best suited to work within our US COVID response team and welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds – men and women, people of all ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions and beliefs. We particularly encourage applications from Black and Latinx candidates, given COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on these communities.

The Communications Consultant will be a member of the Vital Strategies / Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response Team and will be embedded in Marion County Public Health (Indianapolis area) to support the health department’s COVID response efforts and ensure an equity and access approach to our jurisdiction engagements and learnings.

This role will primarily operate as an embedded team member of the local health jurisdiction, reporting to a senior member of the health department while receiving technical guidance from and collaborating with Vital Strategies/Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response cross-functional team of communications staff, epidemiologists, evaluators, and program consultants for knowledge sharing and to ensure consistency of messaging.

This is a full-time employment contract for a period 12 months with the employee working remotely until on-site work is possible. Once it is possible to work on-site, the Communications Specialist will be expected to be based at or spend considerable time at the appointed jurisdiction. A very strong preference will be given to applicants residing in or near to Marion County, Indiana.

Main responsibilities:

Provide embedded support to Marion County Department of Health to identify and engage key communities vulnerable to COVID-19 that require deeper engagement to enhance adoption of contact tracing and other public health behaviors important to stop the spread of COVID-19

Provide support on messaging that supports the jurisdiction’s existing efforts to build public trust in contact tracing and other COVID-19 public health initiatives

Support perceptions research and campaign evaluation initiatives

Collect and compile metrics to evaluate the success of jurisdiction’s traditional/digital communications and community engagement efforts

As appropriate, engage community organizations, partners and stakeholders and build trusting relationships with key leaders to foster collaboration with the public health initiative

Provide support for implementing public campaigns – including media placement, working with community spokespeople, and using digital platforms

Develop communications materials to support contact tracing program efforts, such as fact sheets, brochures, posters, op-eds, blogs, public service announcements, success stories, panel remarks, and other project collateral

Support jurisdiction in identifying opportunities for media outreach, as needed

Liaise with RTSL communications staff, and any other RTSL embedded tech and program staff, to provide updates and align on ongoing strategic approach to jurisdiction support.

Other duties as assigned

Required competencies and qualifications:


community organization


global health

health policy

health systems

oral communication

public relations

strategic communication

Minimum 7 years of progressive community relations or public health communications experience

Experience in health communications (eg, health policy, strategic communications, public relations, or digital communications) – preferably within the US public health system

Bachelor’s degree and / or higher in social science, communications, public health, or another relevant field

Positive attitude and strong interpersonal skills, including ability to build trust and maintain relationships with community partners

Demonstrated cultural proficiency and experience working with diverse communities in urban neighborhoods

Exceptional written and oral communication skills

Experience with planning and implementing targeted community engagement initiatives

Self-motivated, excellent organizational skills, detail-oriented, ability to prioritize, multi-task and meet deadlines

Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with multiple stakeholders

Ability to work collaboratively

Enthusiasm for working within the US public health system

Proficiency in Spanish preferred


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