Texas Health Institute: Chief Research Officer


Texas Health Institute is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan public health institute with a mission to advance the health of all. Since 1964, we have served as a trusted, leading voice on public health and healthcare issues in Texas and the nation. Our expertise, strategies, and nimble approach makes us an integral and essential partner in driving systems change efforts. Through our three pronged approach of research, translation, and collaborative action we work across and within sectors to lead collaborative efforts and facilitate connections to foster systems that provide the opportunity for everyone to lead a healthy life.

As the public health institute in Texas we are also a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes which is a social, financial and information network, connecting more than 8,000 subject-matter experts with organizational partners across the nation.

Basic Function: Chief Research Officer (CRO) will provide leadership, expertise, and operational direction for all research activities at Texas Health Institute (THI), as they pertain to research needs, proposal development, implementation, infrastructure, and growth. In coordination with the senior leadership team, the CRO is responsible for leading, coordinating, and expanding research and evaluation activities in accordance with THI’s mission, and to provide excellence in the development, delivery, management, and oversight of research activities. The CRO reports to the Executive Director and is a member of the senior leadership team.


Leadership, Expertise, Infrastructure, and Development:

  • Oversees the cultivation, development, implementation, and growth of all research activities to advance THI’s impact and mission;
  • In a rapidly changing environment, grow and establish THI’s capacity as a though leader and partner for advancing data-driven, evidence-informed solutions;
  • Develops and implements a strategic vision and a related action plan for the development and funding of research and evaluation efforts, and for the upgrading and acquisition of research-related processes and infrastructure;
  • Under the advisement of the Board of Directors and in partnership with the Executive Director and the senior leadership team, implements THI’s new strategic plan, as well as develops and implements new initiatives that advance THI’s mission.
  • Proactively pursues and cultivates regional, state, and national research development and grant opportunities that are consistent with the THI mission, strategic plan, and goals; 
  • Demonstrates understanding and knowledge of THI, and the public health institute model to effectively create and pursue actionable research. Understand local, state, and national public health, healthcare issues, and leads efforts to meaningfully engage diverse stakeholder groups to systematically address short-term and long-term needs;
  • Obtains investigator-initiated grants, competes successfully for contracts, and expands the resource base available for support of THI projects and infrastructure.
  • Identifies potential financial and operational problems related to research development, undertakes a detailed analysis of alternative courses of action and their implications, addresses difficulties and problems in their execution, and devises appropriate action plans and approaches


  • Proactively pursues and leads the development and expansion of research-oriented activities with external partners and funders;
  • Coordinates with external partners on research and evaluation needs, efforts, and represents the institute as needed;
  • Cultivates resources with existing and new funders to support research and evaluation priorities

Fiscal Responsibility:

  • Oversees the operations, personnel, and related budgets of all research and evaluation activities and maintains a high level of fiscal accountability;
  • Negotiates appropriate roles, responsibilities, and compensation for staff and partners supported by contracts, fee for services agreements, and grants;
  • Identifies sustainable funding streams and business models to fund research and evaluation activities;
  • Ensures that the intellectual property of THI is appropriately cultivated and protected


  • Creates and supports a high performing culture and encourages a team-based environment to motivate and inspire staff to work collaboratively towards THI vision and goals by implementing yearly staff development plans and mentoring. Coordinates with the leadership team to identify and create professional development opportunities for THI staff;
  • Coordinates research-related activities with THI personnel;
  • Establishes and maintains effective staff recruitment, professional development, and personnel management

Other – Performs related duties as may be assigned by the Executive Director. 



  • Doctoral degree or equivalent qualifications in public health, social sciences, or health sciences
  • Minimum of eight years of research and evaluation experience, and a minimum 3 years of leadership experience in nonprofit, government, academia, or philanthropy setting
  • Demonstrated understanding of research models, methodology, and processes 
  • Experience with research and evaluation software packages including statistical analysis packages (e.g., SPSS, SAS, Stata, R), qualitative evaluation software (e.g., Atlas.ti), survey software (e.g., Survey Monkey), data visualization software(s) such as (e.g., Tableau, ArcGIS)
  • Demonstrated experience in building and/or managing a high-performing team for translational and/or applied research
  • Comprehensive working knowledge of program planning, organizational structure, budgeting, administrative operations, and fundraising  
  • Demonstrated commitment to THI values 
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and compile complex data for decision making, policy changes, and identifying potential opportunities for growth and innovation
  • Ability to compose reports, presentations, and written communication in an organized, logical, and concise manner.
  • Experience with MS Office applications, project management software(s), and financial/budgeting software(s)
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, with the ability to represent the organization externally across a wide range or stakeholders and constituencies  
  • Strong relationship builder with the ability to find common ground, build consensus and strengthen collaboration among diverse stakeholders. 
    • Leadership accomplishments in research and research funding
    • Ability to successfully navigate in a fast-paced, outcomes-driven environment. 


  • Experience directing the development and expansion of a practice based implementation research and/or evaluation program 
  • Experience in systems thinking and/or health equity
  • Experience in developing and expanding big-data projects, collaborative/s 
  • Interest in technology and innovation

Additional Information:

Position will be open until filled. We anticipate this being a highly competitive process. Only qualified candidates who meet the minimum requirements will be contacted.

To Apply:

Please complete and submit the linked THI job application along with your CV, cover letter, a brief summary (no more than 2 pages) of how you would have led THI’s response to COVID-19 if you were selected for this position, salary requirement, and three professional references.  Please include all the documents listed above into one PDF attachment and email to swilkie@texashealthinstitute.org.

All documents must be received in order for your application to be considered.

Subject lineAttn: Chief Research Officer Application

View full position description here.

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