Program Manager, Research Program on Children and Adversity (Boston College) - Freetown, Sierra Leone

Research Program on Children and Adversity - Boston College

Reporting to RPCA’s Associate Director of Research, the Program Manager will support a 20-year long intergenerational/longitudinal study of war affected youth in Sierra Leone (ISWAY). This study is funded by the NIMH and will advance the understanding of potential biological embedding of stress responses intergenerationally. Building on four prior waves of data collection, biological measures of stress reactivity and self-regulation (autonomic nervous system reactivity, inflammation, telomere length) will be collected in a sample of parents exposed to significant trauma in childhood and extended also to intimate partners and offspring. The research is the first known effort in Sub-Saharan Africa to examine modifiable risk and protective biobehavioral mechanisms driving the intergenerational effects of war on the mental health of offspring aged 7-24. The Program Manager is based in Sierra Leone with 1 paid trip to the US per year.

Essential Functions

  • Provide on-the-ground support in Sierra Leone and long-distance communication with the RPCA and in-country staff and partners to support local teams, field logistics, and day-to-day research team activities to fulfill the scientific aims of the program projects.
  • Maintain strong partnerships with community organizations and members to harness an existing in-country advisory board to facilitate culturally-informed programs.
  • Support the data collection process throughout the delivery of the intervention and work closely with postdoctoral fellows and research associates to report regularly on the progress of the project goals and contribute to capacity building at the local universities in Sierra Leone.
  • Support the in-country field teams and ensure that ethical IRB protocols are being followed.
  • Serve as a primary point of contact for the team: RPCA, Tulane University, Kenema General Hospital, NIHD, Caritas and University of Makeni.
  • Synthesize lessons learned from the advisory board, local NGOs, and study data to create and disseminate findings.
  • Maintain appropriate and ethical research protocols related to the collection of stress biomarker data in children and families


  • Masters in Social Work, Early Childhood Development, Psychology, Public Health, or related field required
  • Three to five years of related experience preferred
  • Supervisory experience and prior international work in a low resource or field setting particularly in sub-Saharan Africa are required.
  • Must be able to commit to living in Sierra Leone and  engage in fieldwork.
  • Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability and the ability to perform and collaborate under challenging low resource living conditions.
  • Strong planning, community mobilization, and inter-cultural communication skills required
  • Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies including mixedmethods preferred.
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Authorization to work in the USA (i.e. US citizen or green card holder)

Salary Range (Based on Experience): $63,880 - $79,850