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Postdoctoral Fellow, Urban Public Health Network (req4701)

The University of Saskatchewan values diversity, and Indigenous engagement is a strategic priority.

Department: Community Health & Epidemiology
Location: Saskatoon
Status: Term, up to 24 months 
Employment Group: Post-Doctoral Fellows - PSAC
Full Time Equivalent (FTE): 1.0
Salary Information: The salary range, based on 1.0 FTE, is $50,000/annum. The starting salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
Posted Date: 7/15/2019
Closing Date: Until Filled.
Number of Openings:

Summary: The Urban Public Health Network (UPHN) and the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan invites applications for a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow and/or Research Associate to work with its members and their public health units to coordinate and advance the research agenda of the organization. The position will be anchored by a cornerstone project which the Fellow will spearhead working to streamline the national collection, integration, and analysis of regional health surveillance data in Canada. 

Position and responsibilities: The Fellow will be responsible for coordinating and advancing the research agenda of the UPHN and spearheading work on the cornerstone project. This will involve supervising a team of researchers working on the surveillance project and adjacent UPHN research projects, including one on city-level health inequalities generally and another on public health governance and capacity. The Fellow will also liaise with external research partners, like the Canadian Insitute for Health Information (CIHI) and Statistics Canada, and coordinate with granting agencies as needed.

In order to advance the cornerstone project, the Fellow will work with the UPHN members and their respective staff throughout the country. This will involve working closely with regional public health units to establish best practices, concepts, and definitions for collecting and integrating public health surveillance data. With the support of their faculty supervisor, the Fellow will call and coordinate meetings and report regularly on the status of the project.

The Fellow will steer the collection and integration of public health surveillance data among the membership. Depending on the facility of the Fellow with data management and analysis tools, they will either spearhead the creation of the integrated database themselves or they will coordinate staff to do so. The Fellow should have advanced familiarity with Epidemiological concepts and methods and be generally familiar with the basic concepts of data management and analysis.

Finally, the Fellow will support the efforts of research partners to access, analyze, and report on the data and will be encouraged to pursue their own research agenda using it. They will also support the use of the data by the membership to guide decision making.

Cornerstone project: The overarching aim of the cornerstone project is to advance comparative research about city-level health status and health inequalities using public health surveillance data in Canada. Although PHAC collects and reports on public health status at national and provincial levels, the manner in which it does so does not permit comparative analysis at lower levels. This project will work directly with the creators and managers of this data to develop processes for doing so.

The project will learn from and build upon work already undertaken by the UPHN and others, including, pilot studies that have collected and integrated public health surveillance data on specific disease and immunization outcomes; ongoing research on health system service inputs and organization; and, a growing body of research exploring health status and health inequalities in other source of data, including hospital administrative, survey, and vital.

New project development: The Fellow will have the opportunity to work with the regional public health units of UPHN members on new and emerging projects in their priority areas. It is anticipated that they will attend bi-annual UPHN meetings to hear about UPHN priorities and interests and work with the executive to turn these interest areas into proposals for research funding, grants, and partnership opportunities.

Professional development: The Fellow will have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand public health leaders from the largest health systems in Canada as they strive to improve population health and influence health systems toward more upstream thinking, health promotion actions, and positive health outcomes. The position is ideal for candidates interested in pursuing a career in applied public health and/or public health research.

About the UPHN: The UPHN is a network of Medical Officers of Health who oversee public health in Canada’s leading urban centres. Representing 23 cities across the country, the network’s members are responsible for overseeing the population health of more than half of Canadians. As the senior public health officials in the largest public health bodies in their respective provinces and regions, they are often the first to encounter emerging public health problems and to develop effective interventions to address them.

The UPHN provides an opportunity for its members to collaborate, support, strategize, and learn from one another in order to advance population health and equity. The organization's objectives include:

  • Sharing of best practices in the delivery and evaluation of public health programs and initiatives in urban centres
  • Raising awareness of urban public health issues
  • Fostering collaborative action on issues of mutual interest
  • Advancing policy change by developing a collective voice for urban public health issues
  • Facilitating practice-based/intervention research opportunities in public health settings

Priority areas: The UPHN is the voice of local, urban public health in Canada, and their advice is often sought by Federal and provincial counterparts. Current areas of focus for UPHN include:

  • Healthy built environment, healthy Canada by design
  • Reduction of sexually transmitted infections
  • Enhancing immunization coverage in the under-immunized
  • Improving the public health/primary health care interface
  • Population health perspectives on health system transformation
  • Early childhood development
  • Health equity over time in Canadian cities (collaborative with CPHI and stat can)
  • Intersectoral action to improve health

Desired competencies: Based on the Public Health Core Competencies, UPHN is seeking a Fellow with experience (e.g., Ph.D.-level training and/or work experience) in the analysis and evaluation of public and population health and health-related policies and programs; analysis of data, evidence and critical thinking; and knowledge translation. Advanced writing skills, curiosity, and the desire to learn, experiment and innovate, are important in this role.

Remuneration: The position is a full-time position renumerated at $50,000-year, including benefits. The Fellow will also be provided with a budget of up to $10,000 for project-related research, training, and travel expenses. If the researcher is located in Saskatoon, a workspace will be provided for them on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

Duration and Location: 24 months. Start time Fall 2019 (TBD according to availability but no later than January 2020).

Supervisor(s): The Fellow will be supervised by and work closely with Dr. Cordell Neudorf, a professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Neudorf is also the Medical Director of Health Surveillance and Reporting for the Saskatchewan Health Authority and President of the UPHN.

Important Dates: Applicants interested in exploring this Fellowship opportunity with UPHN should submit an application package consisting of a cover letter, CV, and academic writing sample (this is ideally at least one published paper or report) to Dr. Neudorf. We will begin reviewing applications on August 21st, 2019.

Contact: Dr. Cordell Neudorf,


The University of Saskatchewan is strongly committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace that empowers all employees to reach their full potential. All members of the university community share a responsibility for developing and maintaining an environment in which differences are valued and inclusiveness is practiced. The university welcomes applications from those who will contribute to the diversity of our community. The University must, however, comply with federal immigration requirements. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.