Department: MED-Medical Social Sciences Salary/Grade: NEX/9
The Developmental Mechanisms program (Dr. Lauren Wakschlag, Director) in the Department of Medical Social Sciences conducts research at the intersection of clinical and developmental science that aims to characterize early developmental patterns marking emergent mental health and other neurodevelopmental risk as well as prenatal influences on these pathways, and application to prevention. Multiple state-of-the-art, developmentally sensitive methods are used (including EEG/ERP, MRI, and eye tracking), as well as developmentally sensitive behavioral and family assessments and assessments of the social ecology. This Research Study Assistant (RA) position will support the When to Worry About Language (W2W-L) study and the Healthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) study (PIs Dr. Lauren Wakschlag and Dr. Elizabeth Norton).
The W2W-L study advances the science of early and reliable identification of language delays and emergent mental health problems. This RA position will conduct child and family assessments, including behavioral, developmental, and language assessments of preschoolers, and parent-child interaction protocols for the W2W-L study. This individual will conduct clinical interviews with parents to assess their young children’s mental health and family functioning. Some administrative work, such as scheduling visits and assisting with the development of protocols and procedures, will also be involved.
The HBCD study aims to examine the impact of prenatal substance exposure and other adversities and protective factors on child development. Northwestern is one of 25 research sites involved in HBCD, and is the lead site for the administration and coding of parent-child observations. The RA will assist with the development of training and quality oversight materials and procedures for the video-recorded parent-child activities. Specific responsibilities include editing and compiling videos for training materials, formatting and organizing procedures and training modules, and entering data to track site-level training and certification progress. The RA will also code videos for parent and child behaviors and assist with refining the coding manual.
This individual will be joining a fast-paced and dynamic research program and will work with professionals from a range of disciplines. The ideal candidate will be eager to learn new assessment techniques and implement them with fidelity while maintaining rapport with children and families. We are looking for an energetic, flexible, proactive, highly collaborative team player. Comfort interacting with children and families from diverse backgrounds is a must. There are opportunities to be involved in research presentations and publications and career development workshops. This is an ideal position for an individual considering future graduate study in areas such as psychology, neuroscience, social work, medicine, public health, or similar fields. Spanish proficiency is preferred.
Availability for at least two years and immediate start date preferred. Evening and weekend availability is required. Applicants should describe their specific roles and responsibilities in previous research in their cover letter and/or resume.
Performs biomedical &/or social-behavioral research by administering tests &/or questionnaires following protocols; collecting, compiling, tabulating &/or processing responses; gathering information; &/or assisting in the preparation of material for inclusion in reports. Completes all activities by strictly following Good Clinical Practices (GCP) & all relevant current local, state, & federal laws, regulations, guidance, policy & procedure developed by the NU Institutional Review Board (IRB), Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), & the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH).
Recruits study participants.
Reviews & obtains informed consent.
Schedules study visits with participants.
Scores test results.
Collects survey data.
Maintains detailed records of results which may include collecting, extracting & entering data; &/or preparing basic charts & graphs.
Performs scientific literature searches in support of research.
May train other research staff to interview/test participants.
Performs other duties as assigned.
A bachelor's degree in a social or health science + no experience or 2 years practical research study or related experience is required.
Must complete NU's IRB CITI training before interacting with any participants & must re-certify every 3 years.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Infant and child experience, preferably in a research capacity
Comfort with participant outreach
Strong organizational skills
Experience with human subjects data collection, including in-person and virtual visits (e.g. EEG, behavioral assessments, or interviews)
Experience coding observations of child behavior and parent-child interactions
Prior research with or engagement of under-represented and or/high risk populations (e.g. substance use in the family context, children in under-resourced communities, children with developmental delays, prenatal or parenting women with mental illness)
Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)
Training in developmental assessments
Experience using REDcap or similar database programs
Work-Life and Wellness: Northwestern offers comprehensive programs and services to help you and your family navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. We support flexible work arrangements where possible and programs to help you locate and pay for quality, affordable childcare and senior/adult care. Visit us at https://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/work-life/index.html to learn more.
Professional Growth & Development: Northwestern supports employee career development in all circumstances whether your workspace is on campus or at home. If you’re interested in developing your professional potential or continuing your formal education, we offer a variety of tools and resources. Visit us at https://www.northwestern.edu/hr/learning/index.html to learn more.
Northwestern strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters for people who can obtain them as a critical tool for minimizing severe illness. More information can be found on the COVID-19 and Campus Updates webpage.
The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Click for information on EEO is the Law. #LI-KT1
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.