Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Principal Research Scientist - Health Communications Research

Apply now Job no: 495692 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Sacramento, CA Capability Area: Health Care


NORC at the University of Chicago is seeking a highly experienced Principal Research Scientist with a strong background in health marketing/communications research and strategic business development to be based in our Sacramento, California office. We are also open to someone working from a different California location. The position will be based in the Health Care Programs Research Department and will work collaboratively across the Health Care, Public Health, and Health Sciences Research Departments at NORC. The main focus of this position will be on providing leadership to California-focused projects and on expanding NORC’s client base in the state. 

NORC recognizes that talented and skilled researchers live throughout the U.S. and actively supports remote work arrangements.  Post-COVID, occasional trips to client sites or the office may be required. This position will align with our Sacramento, California office administratively.

NORC’s health communication research practice offers a full range of research, planning, and evaluation services to clients. This practice group is comprised of communication researchers who specialize in formative research including media/environmental scans; social media listening and analysis; audience descriptive and segmentation studies; concept development research; message and materials testing; and web usability research. This group also has expertise in the development of evidence-based communication strategies as well as campaign measurement, evaluation, and effectiveness studies. The group is highly experienced in the design and evaluation of advertising and earned media campaigns as well as those that entail social mobilization, materials distribution, and other elements.

The NORC health communication research practice combines a focus on both public health and health care with a commitment to the development of culturally-sensitive, scientifically-based programs that make full use of web and new media in addition to more traditional communication channels.  Supplementing their national level experience, practice group research professionals bring deep experience within California and other state as well as local health systems. The group is also able to draw on NORC’s historic leadership in survey research and a large number of in-house experts on a wide array of health topics, populations, and research methods.

DEPARTMENT: Health Care Programs

NORC’s expertise and ongoing work in health care delivery and financing — including access to insurance, payment and delivery-system reform, benefit design, and quality measurement — advance stakeholders’ understanding of policies and programs, facilitate implementation, and contribute to important improvements in cost and quality.

NORC’s expert staff has extensive knowledge of all aspects of health care delivery, from private marketplaces and employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare and Medicaid; from large health care systems to small clinics; and from the needs of children to those of older adults, people with disabilities, and ethnic and racial minorities. Our expert team includes social scientists that acquire, collect, and analyze data from health care organizations and patients; evaluators; health services researchers; health-policy analysts; and professionals with first-hand experience running and supporting health care programs

  • Provide leadership in California business development for NORC including strategy development, identification of opportunities, and outreach to potential clients and partners.
  • Independently design and direct health marketing/communications research and evaluation studies and work in collaboration with communications firms and clients to develop and refine strategies and plans based on research findings.
  • Assume responsibility for the technical and scientific oversight of studies as well performance monitoring, quality control, and contract/budget adherence.
  • Contribute to health policy, behavioral, program evaluation, and other types of health studies.
  • Participate as an active member of project teams e.g. in the design of data collection protocols, data analysis/interpretation, and reporting.
  • Provide oversight and mentoring to junior staff.
  • PhD degree in marketing, communications, or a related field is preferred; Master’s degree is required
  • At least 12 years of experience in health marketing/communication studies including both formative and outcome evaluation studies
  • At least 12 years of experience in the leadership of research project teams including responsibility for budget development, performance monitoring, project quality control, and team and client/sponsor communication
  • High level of technical competence in study design, data collection protocol development, data analysis, and reporting of findings
  • Proficiency in survey research as well as qualitative methods
  • Demonstrated success in leading business development efforts, especially in strategy development, outreach and relationship management in addition to the preparation of proposals/bids   
  • Ability to work in fast paced, multi-tasking environment across multiple projects
  • Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Strong problem solving, project leadership, and relationship management skills
  • Substantive expertise on multiple public health and health care topics; in the health care area, expertise on the Affordable Care Act and the promotion of health insurance coverage is highly desirable
  • Publication track record strongly preferred
  • Occasional travel for site visits and meetings may be required.

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, our teams have conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with us to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.


For over 75 years, NORC has evolved in many ways, moving the needle with research methods, technical applications and groundbreaking research findings. But our tradition of excellence, passion for innovation, and commitment to collegiality have remained constant components of who we are as a brand, and who each of us is as a member of the NORC team. With world-class benefits, a business casual environment, and an emphasis on continuous learning, NORC is a place where people join for the stellar research and analysis work for which we’re known, and stay for the relationships they form with their colleagues who take pride in the impact their work is making on a global scale.


NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally- protected characteristics.


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