Senior Program Officer, Newborn Health

Senior Program Officer, Newborn Health

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle, WA, United States

Position Summary & Responsibilities

This Senior Program Officer (SPO) position sits within the MNCH team and is responsible for defined areas of work under the areas of Innovation & Implementation Research, and Demonstration for Scale. The Senior Program Officer will collaborate with MNCH team members working across other initiatives, i.e. Discovery and Tools, Data & Evidence, Global Impact and Policy, Advocacy and Communications. This role may manage a portfolio of investments including defining new areas of interest in the broader maternal-newborn health field, liaising with possible grantees, developing grants, monitoring/supporting grantees, and other projects in support of programmatic strategic goals. They will also provide technical input to reproductive health questions across the foundation, in addition to maternal/newborn health, such as Nutrition, Family Planning, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Malaria.

Areas of deep involvement will be:

Ensuring appropriate investment in defined bodies of MNH work: The MNCH Strategy Refresh of BMGF in 2017-18 has articulated well-defined Bodies of Work that need execution in the coming 4-5 year period. The SPO will as a key member of the MNCH team ensure that appropriate investments are made to meet that execution plan. This implies helping to define adequate investments, identify possible grantees, and help develop investments with the selected grantees. For existing or new grants, the SPO will monitor the achievement of results, and support grantees.

Help lead innovation and research in the maternal/newborn health field: The SPO will help follow major trends in the evolution of maternal, but especially, newborn health and health care globally, with particular attention to needs and responses in low and middle income countries. This requires networking, following the scientific literature, understanding the realities of care in the environments of concern and keeping contact with both the scientific field and communities of practice.

Help lead implementation research: As the strengths and weaknesses of MNH care innovations emerge (efficacy) from research funded by BMGF or others, there will be need to test these innovations for effectiveness in LMIC settings. Design and investment into implementation research is thus one of the major responsibilities of the team working on Innovations & Implementation Research and Demonstration for Scale initiatives, including the SPO.

Help lead demonstration for scale projects in key implementation areas: Once a series of new approaches have been tested in an implementation research proposal, funded by BMGF or otherwise, there is often a need to contextualize proven interventions to more challenged and resource constrained environments, by which interventions are adapted, piloted and implemented in a purposefully chosen set of 4-5 countries; normally with a full country scale-up period of 4-5 years. The SPO will thus initiate and design investments that on a national scale demonstrate the effectiveness in context, and enable a broader set of countries to learn from and introduce similar approaches to improving maternal and newborn health.

Help triage newborn health innovation ideas: BMGF receives many unsolicited requests for funding. The steady stream of proposals needs triaging, in close collaboration with colleagues working in MNCH Discovery and Tools, Integrated Delivery, Family Planning and Nutrition. The SPO, one of few with newborn health care expertise within the foundation, will have a lead role in this collaboration.

Additional areas of Key Involvement:

Contribute to Global Impact, Policy and Evidence: In the MNCH team, the SPO will be contributing to policy setting, data and evidence gathering and analysis, and strategies for Global Impact within MNH and MNH care. Also for maintaining contacts with focus geographies and moderate engagement countries, the entire MNCH team will share the responsibilities of being a focal person for the various countries/geographies.


  • Previous work and specialization in pediatrics, with work experience and/or sub-specialization in neonatology, MD with at least fifteen years of experience;
  • At least five years of work in/with several low/middle income countries;
  • Research experience, i.e. either implementation research background or working with interpretation of research results;
  • Experience of innovation in maternal/newborn health;
  • Health system strengthening experience;
  • Excellent organization skills and attention to detail, deadlines and policy compliance;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Creative, solutions-oriented mindset;
  • Proficient in MS Office Suite;
  • Experience working in a dynamic environment;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of an integrated, diverse team and be comfortable in multiple, highly varied and ambiguous settings, and tight deadlines with different work and learning styles;
  • Ability to manage multiple and competing demands and establish priorities.

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© EuroJobsites 2019

EuroJobsites is a UK registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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