Director, Science and Health Policy

Washington D.C.
October 11 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Job Category:            Full-Time /Exempt

Department:              Science Policy and Government Relations

Location:                  1401 H Street NW, Washington, DC

Reports To:             Chief Policy Officer and Vice President, Science Policy and Government Affairs

Organizational Profile:

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), with more than 40,000 members residing in 120 countries, is the first and largest organization in the world dedicated to advances in all areas of high-quality, innovative cancer research. Its mission is to prevent and cure all cancers.  The programs and activities of the AACR foster the exchange of new knowledge among scientists and physicians in the cancer field as well as in related sciences. AACR publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals and an award-winning magazine for cancer patients and their loved ones; convenes topical scientific conferences and an annual meeting that draws more than 22,600 participants; offers educational workshops that train young investigators in a variety of scientific and clinical areas; funds fellowships, career development awards, and research grants for both senior and junior investigators; raises public awareness of the progress in and reasons for hope in the biology, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer; engages actively in advocacy for increased federal research funding and other national policies that accelerate progress against cancer; and interacts with regulatory agencies to support regulatory science and policy.

Job Summary:

Under the leadership of the AACR Chief Policy Officer, and Vice President, Science Policy and Government Affairs, the Director, Science and Health Policy, will provide specialized expertise and support to AACR leaders, including the Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee, its relevant subcommittees, and the broader advocacy community on science and health policy issues and activities to further the goals of the AACR’s Strategic Plan and policy priorities.

The Director, Science and Health Policy, plays a central role in the success of AACR’s work in this important area and guides AACR science and health policy activities to a productive conclusion. Such activities are designed to create and strengthen the dialogue between policymakers, scientists, and advocates, as well as support policies to advance cancer research and improve patient care. This person provides specialized expertise and support to science policy issues that are important to AACR leadership.  He/she takes initiative, has excellent written and oral communication skills, and has experience in project management, committee management, and consensus building. Responsibilities include monitoring, researching, and analyzing science and health policy initiatives in AACR priority areas; developing policy statements; compiling background information; attending and summarizing policy meetings and events; supporting science and health policy-related committees; partnering and collaborating with outside entities; and providing support to the AACR Chief Policy Officer, and Vice President, Science Policy and Government Affairs, on a wide array of tasks and assignments.

The Director, Science and Health Policy, is expected to manage a team of employees, work on a number of science and health policy issues, identify opportunities to disseminate the information to a broader audience, and collaborate with many of our external partners in the cancer research advocacy community.  The Director, Science and Health Policy, will also work collaboratively with others in the AACR D.C. office, such as the Director, Regulatory Science and Policy, and the Director, Government Affairs and Advocacy, particularly on the numerous policy-related issues that are cross-cutting and currently being addressed by many of them.  The list of issues and activities includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Leading and participating in innovative initiatives that advocate for federal funding for cancer research and biomedical science, such as the annual AACR Cancer Progress Report, as well as one-pagers and letters to Capitol Hill;
  • Advancing science and health policy measures that will accelerate discoveries into cures through a variety of innovative initiatives, including enhancing biomarker discovery, supporting innovative translational and clinical research proposals, increasing the number of patients participating in clinical trials, and facilitating clinical data sharing among multiple stakeholders while balancing patient privacy, etc.;
  • Advocating for and implementing tobacco control measures and other broader cancer prevention and public health-related issues to advance public health, such as improved cancer screening and early detection and using evidence-based measures to ameliorate cancer health disparities;
  • Advocating for and implementing innovative policy changes that improve the care that cancer survivors receive from diagnosis onward;
  • Working in collaboration with others in the AACR D.C. office to ensure the rapid implementation of research discoveries to improved patient care through a learning health care system and integrated health information technology systems;
  • Working on broader policy issues such as nurturing a strong cancer workforce for the future, and decreasing the global burden of cancer;
  • Formulating forward-thinking policy recommendations/policy statements/white papers for policy makers on Capitol Hill and within federal agencies, most specifically in regard to the NIH and FDA on particularly important science and health policy-related topics, such as e-cigarettes, the “common rule” for human subject protection regulations, the precision medicine initiative, cancer health disparities, among other possible topics;
  • Responding to “requests for comments” from federal agencies, most especially NIH, FDA, and CDC, on science and health policy issues that are important to the AACR membership;
  • Ensuring that the innovative AACR advocacy materials that are developed are shared and disseminated widely through various venues and means, such as at Congressional briefings and hearings, special meetings on Capitol Hill, and at AACR conferences, are effective;
  • Facilitating an innovative science and health policy track at the AACR Annual Meeting, as well as hosting special science and health policy sessions at other selected AACR conferences;
  • Working collaboratively with the broader cancer research and medical science community on many of the science and health policy-related issues that are of a high priority for the AACR.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide direction and support for AACR’s science and health policy activities and priorities in terms of providing advice, establishing needs assessment, outlining strategies for implementation, and carrying them out to successful completion.
  • Be proactive in identifying science and health policy areas of importance and conduct policy analysis and development in relation to these issues.
  • Support committee and task force activities, including coordinating meetings and providing background materials and draft reports.
  • Work collaboratively with others in the AACR D.C. office, including the Director, Regulatory Science and Policy, the Director, Government Affairs and Advocacy, and the Director, Strategic Patient Advocacy and Engagement, particularly on the numerous policy issues that are crosscutting and currently being addressed by many of them. 
  • Monitor, analyze, and assess legislation as it pertains to priority science and health policy issues.
  • Prepare issue briefs and Congressional testimonies, and contribute policy articles for AACR’s monthly policy newsletter and the annual AACR Cancer Progress Report to help inform AACR members, cancer organizations, targeted individuals, and other groups.
  • Help shape special sessions and briefings to educate Members of Congress and their staffs about important pending legislation and issues affecting cancer research.
  • Keep abreast of the scientific programs of the AACR and consider policy implications where appropriate.
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with the policy staffs of other relevant organizations and coalitions.
  • Establish relationships and collaborate with other AACR staff members who work in program development, communications and public relations, patient advocacy support, such as on the scientist-survivor program, and with the AACR Journal Cancer Discovery.
  • Attend and report on relevant scientific and science and health policy meetings and conferences.
  • Manage direct reports to achieve AACR’s science and health policy goals.

Position Requirements:

  • PhD, M.D., or other doctoral degree in a science and/or health-related field required.
  • Ten (10) years of relevant experience in a science and/or health policy-related environment.
  • An expertise and a working knowledge and keen understanding of cancer research and biomedical related science, as well as an expert understanding of various areas of science and health policy.
  • Proven accomplishments in implementing complex policy projects.
  • Superb written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • High degree of judgment and insight.
  • A self-starter with creativity and initiative.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
  • Knowledge of government policies and procedures and the political process.
  • Strong strategic thinker and someone who has shown an ability to carry through to completion an initiative and/or project.
  • A demonstrated ability to analyze complex political and policy issues, build evidence based arguments for policy proposals to AACR approval bodies, and bring conflicting points of view to consensus.
  • Ability to interact, negotiate, and work with VIPs and all levels of management on complex policy matters, including the CEO, Board members, relevant committee members, prominent scientists, Administration and Congressional officials, corporate executives, and members of the media.
  • Ability to make rational decisions about achievable recommendations based on consideration of all facts and alternatives.
  • Ability to work independently towards approved goals and objectives, while at the same time being able to predict when such approaches need discussion with AACR officials prior to final action.
  • Ability to multi-task and work under rapidly developing deadlines and priorities.
  • Ability to effectively communicate the progress and future needs of cancer research to various constituencies.
  • Ability to effectively manage direct reports.
  • PC, word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs.

How To Apply:

Please submit your cover letter and resume (including salary history) to:

Human Resources

P.O. Box 40138

Philadelphia, PA 19106


Fax: (215) 440-1045

Equal Opportunity Employer

Similar jobs

Similar jobs