Regional Community Engagement Specialist
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Through a CDC-funded initiative striving to reduce the impact of COVID-19 among vulnerable populations in Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) seeks to develop and expand collaborative partnerships with local, regional, or state organizations who have existing community or social service delivery programs for vulnerable populations, including rural communities. To lead this effort, DSHS is building a dynamic team of Regional Community Engagement Specialists (RCES). The RCES will be part of a high-level multi-disciplinary team who travel across Public Health Region (PHR) 6/5S, and other areas as assigned, to work on-site in selected communities to reduce the burden of COVID-19. In PHR 6/5S, the RCES will work on-site, up to 50% of time, in selected communities in one or more of the following three counties: Colorado, Liberty, and Matagorda. The RCES will be based out of Houston (DSHS PHR 6/5S Headquarters).
The RCES is selected by and reports to the Director of Health Disparities and Public Health Policy in the DSHS Office of Public Health Policy and Practice (OPHPP). The RCES performs highly advanced (senior-level) consultative services and technical assistance and works to address health disparities across the state in collaboration with a network of partner organizations, with an emphasis on social services, healthcare, and public health. This work involves overseeing and implementing 1) community engagement, 2) cross-sectoral partnerships, and 3) community health improvement activities ultimately seeking to increase COVID-19 and influenza immunization rates, and improving existing chronic diseases among vulnerable populations.
The RCES works in close collaboration with the Director of Health Disparities and Public Health Policy with extensive latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment.
Essential Job Functions:
Community Engagement (40%) – The RCES is a relationship-oriented, community-based specialist tasked with establishing relationships and building trust in the community. The RCES will become educated on the community and establish a communication plan with DSHS leadership before engaging community and partner organizations (government agencies and community-based). The RCES leads the implementation and ongoing management of complex community engagement activities including conducting and facilitating listening sessions, town halls, focus groups, and interviews to gain perspective of challenges and barriers, and convening meetings to collaboratively address challenges and barriers from a community, partner organization, and stakeholder perspective. Part of this work will also include a qualitative assessment of factors that made a given community more vulnerable to COVID-19. Finally, the RCES will provide high-level technical assistance to the community to develop and implement a process that assures active involvement of community members, partner organizations (government agencies and community-based), and other stakeholders, while simultaneously creating efficiencies where opportunities exist among the cross-sectoral partnership collaborations.
Cross-Sectoral Partnerships (30%) – The RCES will work to establish cross-sectoral partnerships between public health, healthcare, and social services. The RCES will speak to community and professional groups to coordinate, improve, and stimulate interest in addressing community health needs through the alignment of cross-sectoral partnerships. This will include the RCES developing collaborative relationships with DSHS Regional Medical Directors (RMDs), Deputy Regional Directors (DRDs), and leadership teams to work collectively with hospitals, clinics, and other health care agencies as well as community-based organizations that provide social services. The RCES may also consult with other public and private agencies to help identify any partnership training needs, and to discuss collaboration effectiveness. The RCES will assist management with developing collaborative policies, procedures, standards, and activities in accordance with identified objectives and goals. Aligning health disparity efforts between these three partners will create a synergistic and focused approach of shared common goals to identify factors that contributed to worse COVID-19 outcomes and to address health disparities among vulnerable populations. The RCES is also responsible for developing a health disparities partnership directory and may serve as a lead worker providing direction to others.
Community Health Improvement (25%) – The RCES will plan, develop, and coordinate with cross-sectoral partnerships and communities to address root causes of problems through asset-based community development practices. The RCES consults with community leaders, healthcare, public health, and social service agencies to develop health disparities improvement initiatives aimed to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable communities. These improvement initiatives will address factors that made a given community more vulnerable to COVID-19 and in so doing, will help increase the community’s resilience to the next natural disaster.
Other Duties as Assigned (5%) – Represents OPHPP and DSHS at meetings and conferences and performs other related work as assigned, which may include but are not limited to actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency’s obligations for disaster response and/or recovery or Continuity of Operations (COOP) activation. CPHPP is an active partner in response activities. Such participation may require an alternate shift pattern assignment and/or location.
Knowledge Skills Abilities:
Knowledge of local, state, and federal laws, regulations, administrative rules, program policies, and procedures relevant to DSHS program areas. Knowledge of HHS programs and services. Knowledge of the Texas legislative process. Knowledge of the principles and practices of public health. Knowledge of health disparities and social drivers of health. Knowledge of community based participatory engagement and neighborhood development techniques. Knowledge of how to conduct interviews, focus groups, listening sessions, and/or town halls with community and partner organizations. Skill in writing readable documents/reports dealing with complex subject matter. Skill in communicating effectively, both orally and in writing, for a wide variety of audiences. Skill in facilitating interviews, focus groups, listening sessions, and/or town halls with community and partner organizations. Skill in management techniques and managing multiple and competing priorities. Ability to network and establish relationships with a wide array of organizations and entities. Ability to work efficiently and effectively both individually and as part of a team. Ability to demonstrate cultural sensitivity working with various populations and communities. Ability to organize and develop work plans, coordinate assignments, and adhere to strict deadlines. Ability to gather, assemble, correlate, and analyze complex facts and distill the findings into a coherent message. Ability to devise solutions to problems in a highly complex environment. Ability to maintain effective working relationships with a diverse range of internal and external contacts. Ability to manage large numbers of volunteers at different levels of expertise with diplomacy. Ability to attend and/or convene meetings outside of work hours (i.e., evenings, weekends). Registration or Licensure Requirements:
N/A Initial Selection Criteria:
1. Education (preference given for a graduate degree in public health, sociology, social work, community health, or a related discipline with relevant work experience). 2. Experience engaging with community. 3. Experience identifying and addressing health disparities and social drivers of health among vulnerable populations. 4. Experience building and sustaining effective partnerships. 5. Bilingual in English and Spanish (preferred) 6. Consideration will also be given to known past job performance, if applicable, and demonstration of career stability and advancement. Additional Information:
Candidates who applied to 00089229 job posting number will need to reapply to this new job posting to be considered.
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION PRIOR TO SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION FOR THIS POSITION:
*This is a temporary position that is grant funded through July 31, 2023. The selected candidate will be required to sign a Temporary Employment Agreement.
*Must be able to travel up to 50% of time – including significant overnight travel.
*Travel to Austin to on-board, pick-up or repair DSHS-issued equipment may be required.
**NOTE: Candidates invited to an interview will be required to bring a writing sample. The sample should feature an example of something created from previous community engagement work (i.e., pamphlet, brochure, flyer, publication, report, poster, etc.) and should speak to a particular community need that was addressed.
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Texas Department of State Health Services. The state health department of Texas.