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Associate Director of Public Policy (Environment and Health Research-related)

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
New York, Iowa, US
Closing date
Dec 14, 2021

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Academic / Research
Policy / Legal
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Associate Director of Public Policy (Environment and Health Research-related)
The Associate Director of Public Policy plays a critical role in the strategic development and implementation of MJFF's policy agenda at the federal level focused on environmental risk factors linked to PD as well as science and health research related issues.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson's disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus-thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's disease research, having funded over $1 billion in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various therapeutic strategies and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. In order to achieve our mission of finding a cure for PD it is critical that we engage with, and bring together, members of the PD community including researchers, physicians, health professionals and most important, people with Parkinson's and their families. We believe that raising the Foundation's profile with a broader audience will help us more efficiently reach and mobilize highly engaged stakeholders who are more likely to feel personally vested in helping speed progress toward a cure.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today-we therefore deliberately hold no endowment or excessive reserves. We instead seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $100 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 160 full-time employees. We offer a collegial and collaborative environment where problem-solvers and entrepreneurial, resourceful individuals can thrive and make a tangible difference for millions of people living with Parkinson's disease.

Position Description:

MJFF takes a holistic approach to investing in PD research, providing both intellectual and financial capital to accelerate drug development. As part of this strategy, MJFF is seeking to expand its activities in the public policy arena supporting efforts raise awareness and inform policymakers of the need for eliminating known environmental triggers of PD and to increase funding for Parkinson's research and drug development as well as initiatives to support optimal access to care for patients and caregivers. The Associate Director of Public Policy will play a critical role in the strategic development and implementation of MJFF's policy agenda at the federal level focused on environmental risk factors linked to PD as well as science and health research related issues. The job requires the ability to closely work with internal colleagues, members of the patient and scientific community, health and human-service organizations, environmental and agricultural advocacy groups, and government stakeholders as well as the ability to develop and manage team priority projects, inserting strategic input and oversight. The Associate Director of Public Policy will report to the Director of Government Relations and Public Policy.

Specific Responsibilities include:

Constituent Management: Create open channels of communication to ensure input from the PD patient, caregiver, researcher, and healthcare worker community on policy issues and develop strategies for pursuing policy goals and support development of strategies for grassroots advocates.

Legislative Affairs: Build and maintain strong relationships with members of Congress and their staffs on legislative priorities, including, but not limited to, environment and medical research related issues. Monitor relevant agriculture, environment, and health care legislation and recommend organizational positions; draft testimony, letters, and comments as necessary.

Regulatory Affairs: Contribute to the development of MJFF's regulatory strategy to more deeply engage federal agencies on environmental triggers of PD and impact the research continuum.Monitor action by federal agencies on issues related to Parkinson's disease research and recommend MJFF's engagement on issues as appropriate; drafting comments as necessary.

Coalition Engagement: Create and maintain strong relationships with other research, health care and patient organizations as well as environmental and agricultural advocacy coalitions. As assigned, serve as MJFF's representative in various coalitions and work groups.

Qualifications include:
  • Bachelor's degree; Master's or professional degree preferred
  • Minimum 5 to 7 years of experience in government relations and public policy with a focus on environmental risk factors associated with disease, federal research, health care delivery, and regulatory engagement; practical knowledge of the legislative process
  • Experience working for a member of Congress or a relevant federal agency on environmental policy strongly preferred
  • Knowledge about the congressional appropriations process and federal health, agricultural, and environmental agencies such as EPA, FDA, VA, USDA, and NIEHS
  • Analytical skills - ability to assess and report on legislative or regulatory proposals and make informed recommendations
  • Ability to register as a federal lobbyist
  • Ability to coordinate with environmental and other research and disease-related organizations to build collaborative efforts
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills and strong presentation skills; strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office
  • Self-directed, detail-oriented team player able to take initiative and work independently with only general supervision; ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment
  • Outstanding writing and organizational skills as well as attention to detail, including the ability to handle multiple priorities and complete multiple projects in a timely manner
  • Occasional overnight or day travel to NYC office, local events, and events around the country; occasional evening/weekend work

Ideal Candidates will also possess:
  • Environmental and disease-specific policy experience
  • Ability to work with people at all levels; openly engaging, energetic and diplomatic personality
  • Possess a very high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness
  • Sense of humor and ability to remain calm and professional under pressure
  • Thrives and enjoys working in a fast-paced and fun environment
  • Ability to juggle multiple priorities simultaneously and take initiative
  • Organizational savvy skill set, outstanding negotiation skills and ability to influence others
  • Other important qualities required; a "can-do" attitude; reasonable and enthusiastic; encourages a team environment; visionary, problem solver and decision maker; high level of accountability and takes responsibility.

How to Apply:
Interested candidates should submit a resume, writing samples and links to previous work performed in government relations and public policy. Candidates also must include a thoughtful story-driven cover letter describing their interest in the position, accomplishments that showcase their specific qualifications, and salary requirements. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation strongly encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to our efforts to build and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. Diversity may refer to characteristics including, but not limited to, race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstance, geographic background, ability and disability, political ideology and age.

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