Researcher, International Health Policy and Practice Innovations

Hiring Organization: 
The Commonwealth Fund
City and State: 
New York, NY

Job Description





The Commonwealth Fund — among the first private foundations started by a woman philanthropist, Anna M. Harkness — was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good. Today, the mission of the Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries.


The Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy and Practice Innovations program seeks to improve people’s lives by serving as a trusted source for international insights that spur change to the U.S. health care system. We inspire U.S. health care leaders to act by generating research and analysis on international policies and practices that address common health care problems and promote a high-performing healthcare system. The Harkness Fellowship helps to achieve this goal by cultivating a network of international leaders and experts to inform our work.  Key activities include:

  • Surveying the public, patients, and physicians in 11 countries to compare health system performance annually (International Health Policy Survey)
  • Benchmarking U.S. performance compared to 11 countries on indicators in five domains: Care Process, Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes (Mirror, Mirror)
  • Commissioning research on health care in other countries that can inform U.S. efforts to improve access, quality, and efficiency, including universal coverage  
  • Identifying and disseminating information about health care delivery system innovations abroad that might also work in the U.S. and working with U.S. delivery systems to pilot the most promising models, such as comprehensive primary care, mental health, and drug pricing
  • Sponsoring the Harkness Fellowships in Health Policy and Practice, which enable promising international health care leaders to spend 12 months in the U.S. conducting policy-oriented research


The Researcher reports to the Vice President, International Health Policy and Practice Innovations.  He/she/they is the member of the International Team who will lead international comparative research projects to fulfill the International Program’s primary objective and research agenda – to understand and analyze international health policy and practice to glean insights for improving health care in the U.S. The primary responsibility of the Researcher is to lead research and analytics for the Commonwealth Fund’s annual International Health Policy Survey and recurring international benchmarking analysis, with the potential to propose new studies and metrics.

With guidance from the Vice President, the Researcher is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the program’s survey and benchmarking initiatives including organizing and providing input on questionnaire development, ensuring data integrity, communicating with the survey research firms, using statistical software to analyze data, and displaying data in tables and charts. The Researcher will participate as part of Fund staff research teams in writing reports, issue briefs, blogs, and journal articles based on survey findings. In addition, responsibilities will include making presentations to the media and at public and professional meetings.


International Program Research (60%)

  • Manages large, complex research projects and ensures quality, relevance, and technical excellence across the Commonwealth Fund’s international health portfolio and findings. Two key activities include the International Health Policy Survey and the recurring Mirror, Mirror international benchmarking analysis
  • Manages and coordinates input from multiple countries on research including survey (e.g., questionnaire development); collaboration with researchers/experts on methods (e.g. Mirror, Mirror)
  • Writes reports, issue briefs, journal articles, and blogs based on survey findings and outside publications, including in peer-reviewed journals
  • Develops and maintains a robust international research agenda (intramural and extramural) and supports the generation of timely and relevant analysis that informs policy and practice
  • Generating evidence and learning that will advance policy decision-making and identify promising strategies and interventions that could be adopted in the U.S. is of vital importance
  • Works with other international organizations and programs to identify area of mutual interest, research and dissemination of research finding
  • Tracks, maintains, and builds ongoing knowledgebase on the literature, policy environment, and industry trends related to international health policy that is relevant to the U.S.
  • Conducts background research on international health access and delivery issues, including literature reviews
  • Monitors journals, working papers, OECD, WHO and other international developments, survey reports, and other information related to the program area

Research Dissemination (20%)

  • Supports dissemination of International Program’s research and work through articles in peer-reviewed journals, gray literature publications, conference papers, blog posts, social media, and other dissemination channels
  • Participates in key conferences and other forums, as well as expert groups and advisory committees, engages with key players in the international health sector, keeps abreast of critical trends, and shares The Fund’s work where it is most useful
  • Represents the Commonwealth Fund in meetings with other organizations focused on international health research
  • Liaises with members of international research organizations like OECD, WHO and individual countries health ministries and researches institutes to understand and support research activities

International Program Activities (10%)

  • Assists in the development of policy relevant, and methodologically sound grant projects for the international program. Conducts background research and literature reviews to support grant review; reviews proposals for design and methodology, prepares summaries for review and approval by the Board of Directors
  • Contributes to the International Team in managing grants; maintains knowledge of work related to grants, including publications
  • Assures high quality, policy relevant Fund publications based on grantee and staff work. Critiques grantee and staff papers submitted for Fund publication; participates in the final review, prepares executive summaries, and issues briefs based on grantee work, if necessary
  • Supports the Vice President with additional responsibility for coordinating all activities within the program, including developing and maintaining the work plan, convening program team meetings and representing the program internally to the executive management team
  • Manage a Research Associate and mentor and develop junior staff and advises leadership on talent needs

Special Projects (10%)

  • Performs other duties as assigned


The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree in health economics, health services research, health policy or relevant discipline, and a minimum of 5 years professional experience. Applicants should demonstrate strong international health policy, economic and research analytical skills, including competence in the use of quantitative data. The position requires a strong background in statistical data analysis using STATA or other statistical software. They should also have an established research record (contributions to peer-reviewed journals and gray literature publications and presentations at conferences and other expert forums).

Applicants should demonstrate strong coordination and project management skills, must be well organized with a concern for details, accuracy and deadlines, can set priorities and work with a minimum of supervision. Stellar written and verbal communication skills will include the ability to (1) convey complex technical issues to non-expert audiences and (2) present and share data and research results in a way that resonates with media, practitioners, and policymakers.

Candidates must have a strong working knowledge of the survey design and methodology and international data sources, like the OECD Health data, and a background in international health systems, with a focus on health insurance coverage, insurance markets, care delivery approaches, and drug pricing policy. Understanding of the international health landscape and a track record of engaging and maintaining international contacts at bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations, and other countries.

The applicant should have effective supervisory skills and the ability to manage, mentor, and lead staff. Experience directly managing full-time, professional staff is desired. They should also be able to work under pressure and with tight deadlines in a fast-paced, but flexible work environment. Candidate should display excellent interpersonal skills; capable of being a team member as well as a team leader and have the willingness to participate in general workflow of the office as well as supervise staff.  

The Fund has a relatively small staff and judgement, integrity, and the ability to listen with sensitivity to others are traits that are particularly important in an organization of the Fund’s size, where teamwork is essential to effectiveness. The ability to work collegially with a variety of Fund staff and interest in and strong commitment to the Fund’s mission and grants programs are key qualifications.


Commensurate with background and experience. The Fund offers an excellent benefits package.


Please send a cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume with subject line: “Researcher (International) – [Your Name]” to:

Employment at the Commonwealth Fund is based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, medical condition, disability, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

How to Apply: 
Please send a cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume with subject line: “Researcher (International) – [Your Name]” to:
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