The EPA National Student Services Contract has an immediate opening for a part-time Environmental Quality Index Research position with the Office of Research and Development at the EPA facility in Chapel Hill, NC.

The Office of Research and Development at the EPA supports high-quality research to improve the scientific basis for decisions on national environmental issues and help EPA achieve its environmental goals. Research is conducted in a broad range of environmental areas by scientists in EPA laboratories and at universities across the country.

What the EPA project is about

The Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment (CPHEA) provides the science needed to understand the complex interrelationship between people and nature in support of assessments and policy to protect human health and ecological integrity.  Within CPHEA, the Public Health and Environmental Systems Division (PHESD) focuses on the interrelationships between people and their environment, promotes human health and well-being, and fosters healthy and safe communities.

Part of the research within PHESD focuses on the adverse public health impacts of environmental exposures. The research utilizes human subjects data and publicly available databases to investigate the human health effects of air and water pollutants and other environmental exposures. Researchers in the Epidemiology Branch of EPHD have created an Environmental Quality Index (EQI) for all counties across the U.S. for the time period 2000-2005. Five environmental domains were created: air, water, land, sociodemographic and built. The researchers are currently updating the index for 2006-2010 and also exploring different spatial aggregations (e.g., census tract, neighborhood). The researchers have used the EQI as an exposure metric in health outcome research utilizing health databases with millions of records.

What experience and skills will you gain?

As a team member, you will assist an EPA researcher with analytical, management and administrative responsibilities and communication responsibilities required to support and maintain a robust research program, including the administration and management of large (millions of records) data sets.

How you will apply your skills

Analytical responsibilities

  • Using large (millions of records) datasets to investigate overall environmental quality and adverse health outcomes;
  • Using large publically available datasets to investigate environmental ecological conditions, goods, and services and adverse health outcomes;
  • Developing coding for statistical analyses; and
  • Running developed code for statistical analyses.

Management and Administrative responsibilities

  • Conducting literature searches and organizing results from the searches;
  • Extracting, cleaning, linking, merging, documenting and managing large complex databases from both environmental quality (e.g., EPA air quality system, Safe Drinking Water Information System, Toxic Release Inventory) and health data platforms (e.g., National Center for Health Statistics natality and linked birth certificate/infant death certificate databases, National Birth Defects Prevention Network data, mortality data);
  • Organizing electronic and hardcopy records and files;
  • Researching and summarizing information relating to environmental quality and health outcomes; and
  • Maintaining records of meetings, correspondence, and action documents, and maintain a system to track projects in progress.

Communications-related responsibilities

  • Assisting in the logistics and coordination activities for briefings, meetings, workshops, and other collaborative efforts;
  • Assisting the team in developing oral presentation results and impacts using graphics and other interactive formats;
  • Assisting in developing summary analysis documents of results and impacts from data analyses;
  • Assisting in writing study results in manuscripts, presentations, and fact sheets; and
  • Creating abstracts for scientific meetings and present work at meetings.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Work Experience, and Education

  • Demonstrate proficiency with advanced programming in SAS, STATA or R including statistical analyses of regression modeling (including multivariate logistic, linear, and poisson);
  • Demonstrate working knowledge of programming hierarchical/multilevel modeling, principal component analysis or factor analysis, and time to event/cox modeling;
  • Demonstrate proficiency with extracting and cleaning large (millions of records) databases;
  • Demonstrate education and/or experience in epidemiologic methods with an emphasis on large (millions of records) datasets;
  • Demonstrate experience in administration support functions (i.e., recordkeeping, filing), managing and organizing records (electronic and hardcopy), and management of extremely large (millions of records) databases; and
  • Possess strong written, oral and electronic communication skills.