Senior Vice President for Research and Chief Science Officer

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

Job Description



The Commonwealth Fund


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, greater equity, and increased 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 has made a commitment to become an antiracist organization. That commitment extends not only to our research agenda, our grantmaking, and our communications, but also to all aspects of our internal operations.


The Senior Vice President for Research and Chief Science Officer (SVP/CSO) reports to the President, supervises a Senior Research Associate, and serves as a member of the Fund’s Executive Management Team (EMT). In this inherently cross-cutting role, the SVP/CSO adds value to the organization’s work in all its core areas. This includes working with other Fund staff to develop the research design of grant proposals and future publications, as well as reviewing those proposals or publications.  The SVP/CSO participates in deliberations about the Fund’s strategic direction, leads initiatives that are critical to the mission of the Fund, and contributes to Fund publications and journal articles as co-author or lead author with analyses based on findings from Fund surveys or external databases. As a spokesperson for The Fund, the SVP/CSO promotes Fund work on social media, through media inquiries, and with public presentations. As the senior research leader at the Fund the CSO participates in external advisory roles in areas consistent with the Fund’s goals and priorities.  

  • The SVP/CSO advises the President and works closely with the EVP for Programs on all foundation-wide analytic and research activities. The SVP/CSO creates his/her/their own research agenda that aligns with the Fund’s mission and cuts across multiple programs. A few recent examples are here and here.


  • The SVP/CSO is responsible for directing key cross-cutting Commonwealth Fund research initiatives. Most recently this has included leading the Fund’s COVID research agenda; contributing to the Fund’s new Race Equity Scorecard; advising on the development of the Advancing Health Equity program; and reimagining the Fund’s international Mirror, Mirror triennial publication (and the surveys that support it).


  • The SVP/CSO is a core member of the Proposal Review Committee and therefore participates in all grant review meetings. As projects are under development, the CSO serves as a sounding board for all program officers on methodological issues and vetting research designs for projects in advance of review and approval. The SVP/CSO will bring to bear a wide range of experience on health equity, health insurance, payment and delivery system reform, and health care policy.


  • The SVP/CSO participates in the Fund’s Publications Review Committee. In this capacity, the SVP/CSO serves as a crucial quality control officer for Fund reports and publications, ensuring that the information is accurate and timely and that the key issues are communicated effectively.


  • The SVP/CSO serves in an advisory capacity on all Fund-initiated surveys and works with senior Fund staff to develop Fund surveys. The position has traditionally provided thought leadership in identifying key trends and messages in Fund surveys. 


  • The SVP/CSO is a highly visible ambassador for the Fund, contributing to Fund publications and journal articles as co-author or lead author. The SVP/CSO actively promotes Fund work through social media, presentations, and by responding to requests from journalists. The CSO serves on various external advisory committees on topics of interest to the Fund.


  • As a member of the Fund’s Executive Management Team, the SVP/CSO participates in annual review and discussion of each program’s strategic plans and the assessment of completed projects and grants. 


  • Equity is a central and cross-cutting priority for the Fund. The SVP/CSO advises on all research related to health equity across the foundation, both intramural and through our grantmaking, to help dismantle systemic racism in health care policy and practice.

The Fund’s philosophy regarding successful performance in the job includes the willingness on the part of all senior staff members to handle any assignment necessary to further the goals of the institution. This may include taking on responsibility for other program areas or departments or specific projects if the need arises.


Successful candidates must have extensive experience as a researcher or policy analyst and must have demonstrated an ability to manage complex qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation projects and to produce high quality analytic work.

Specific job qualifications include extensive experience managing a research or evaluation team, a PhD or equivalent research training, and at least ten years of experience in health policy research. Formal economics and statistics training at the graduate school level or the equivalent in job experience is necessary. This training should include demonstrated skill and experience in managing and analyzing databases.

This person will have demonstrated communication skills, including writing for policy audiences, strong social media presence, and peer-reviewed publishing record as a policy analyst and researcher. The ability to work independently and creatively across a range of social and health policy issues is required, along with the expertise and familiarity with health services research and economics literature related to health and social policy issues, and racial equity.  This person must have experience leading or participating in DEI efforts. This person must have the ability to lead and manage team efforts, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to work constructively and collaboratively with both senior and junior research staff.

The Fund has a relatively small staff, and judgment, 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 is a key qualification. So too are an interest in, and strong commitment to, the Fund’s mission and grants programs. 


This position is based out of our NYC office. Part-time candidates may be considered.


Please send a letter of interest and resume with the subject line: “SVP for Research/CSO” 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 letter of interest and resume with the subject line: “SVP for Research/CSO” to:
Publish date: