SENIOR PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTIGATOR

City of Houston - Health Department

Houston, TX, USA

Full time

US$21.06-25.18 (hourly)

Dec 18

The Houston Health Department (HHD) has provided traditional public health services for more than 180 years, seeking to use innovative methods to market the community’s present and future needs. Our mission is to work in partnership with city, state, and community partners to promote and protect the health and social well-being of all Houstonians and the environment in which they live. The HHD became the first health department in Texas and the second in a large US city to earn national accreditation from the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The HHD oversees several services related to public health and the environment including Public Affairs Office; Intergovernmental Affairs; Administrative Services; Environmental Health; Health and Multi-Service Center Operations; Disease Prevention and Control; Children Health Services; Human Services; Planning and Evaluation. For more information on HHD’s programs and services, visit the HHD website at houstonhealth.org.


HHD works in partnership with the community to assess, plan, and implement effective public health strategies to reduce the spread of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections in the City of Houston. Some essential functions include monitoring HIV, Hepatitis and STI trends to identify population and geographic needs and interventions; investigating newly reported cases of HIV, and sexually transmitted infections; mobilizing partnerships with key community stakeholders to identify and prevent the transmission and acquisition of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infection; developing HIV, viral hepatitis and STI prevention policies and plans that support individual and citywide health efforts; and enforcing city, state, and federal laws and regulations regarding HIV and STIs that protect health and ensure safety. 


DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES/ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS 

HHD seeks 12 Senior Public Health Investigators in the Bureau of HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention to serve as Disease Intervention Specialists, Service Linkage Workers, and Patient Navigators. These full-time positions will report to various units including HIV Field Services, STI Field Services, Congenital Syphilis Field Services, Service Linkage Field Services, and PrEP Services. 


Job duties and responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • • The main purpose of a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) is to intervene in the spread of HIV and syphilis. This position locates and interviews patients and their sexual partners to gather information on infections or exposures to HIV and STIs.
  • • The main purpose of a Service Linkage Worker is to provide non-medical case management to people living with HIV or viral hepatitis who are not connected to primary care or treatment. This position facilitates their clients’ entry into care and works to keep them in care once they have engaged with the care and treatment system.
  • • The main purpose of a Patient Navigator is to work with patients to overcome barriers and understand the system of prevention and care. This position helps patients get the biomedical HIV prevention services (e.g., PrEP, nPEP, etc.) and follow-up services they need. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily use of antiretroviral medication to prevent acquisition of HIV infection. PrEP is used by HIV-negative people who are at risk of being exposed to HIV through sexual contact or injection drug use. Non-occupational Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (nPEP) is a short-term emergency treatment started =72 hours after a potential nonoccupational exposure that presents a substantial risk for HIV acquisition to reduce the risk of infection.

  • Senior Public Health Investigators also assist Public Health Investigator Supervisors in the training of new Public Health Investigators and other personnel involved in disease intervention activities. Job duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • • Conduct confidential interviews and investigations of individuals diagnosed with or suspected of being at high-risk for HIV and/or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • • Perform field investigations throughout Harris County to locate individuals who have or are suspected of having a communicable disease and motivates them to seek appropriate treatment and medical follow-up.
  • • Visit private and public clinical laboratories to assure compliance with reporting labs timely in respect to laboratory reporting laws and regulations.
  • • Handle highly confidential information.
  • • Protect, maintain, and ensure client confidentiality according to HIPAA regulations and other HHD policies and procedures.
  • • Provide transportation to clients for any clinic follow-up appointments as needed.
  • • Conduct reminder calls and recalls for missed appointments to ensure appointments are maintained.
  • • Assists with the compilation of monthly and quarterly statistics.
  • • Administer HIV testing via oral and/or blood specimens and give results as needed.
  • • Perform phlebotomy (venipuncture) on an as-needed basis.
  • • Coordinate with local, state, federal and private partners.
  • • Communicate with community members and internal/external stakeholders.
  • • Provide services during non-traditional hours on HHD mobile clinics.
  • • May assist with emergency response activities.
  • • Performs other duties as assigned by Supervisor. 

WORKING CONDITIONS    

The position is physically comfortable; the individual has discretion about walking, standing, etc

 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Requires a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, Public Health or a closely related field.


EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

One (1) year of experience in the public health field is required.


Pertinent professional experience in the public health field may be substituted for the above educational requirement on a year-for-year basis.


LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

Requires a valid Texas driver's license and compliance with the City of Houston's policy on driving. 

PREFERENCES

**Preference shall be given to eligible veteran applicants provided such persons possess the qualifications necessary for competent discharge of the duties involved in the position applied for, such persons are among the most qualified candidates for the position, and all other factors in accordance with Executive Order 1-6.**


• Bilingual (English/Spanish), the ability to speak, read, and write fluently in English and Spanish

• Demonstrated experience in conducting services in the field

• Demonstrated experience in conducting phlebotomy

• Working knowledge of infectious diseases such as HIV, STIs, and viral hepatitis (history, epidemiological profile, transmission, prevention, treatment, sociopolitical issues)

• Ability to work non-traditional hours

• Excellent written and oral communication skills

• Exceptional organizational skills with strong ability to prioritize tasks and duties

• Possess critical thinking skills with the ability to multi-task

• Great interpersonal skills with the ability to interface and work with internal and external partners

• Ability to navigate within and among diverse assignments with competing priorities

• Demonstrated cultural sensitivity and ability to work comfortably with communities highly impacted by HIV, including but not limited to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals, gender non-conforming individuals, people who inject drugs, etc.

• Proficiency with Microsoft Office programs and other basic email and web software. 



GENERAL INFORMATION

SELECTION/SKILLS TESTS REQUIRED

None. However, the Department may administer a skills assessment test.


SAFETY IMPACT POSITION Yes

If yes, this position is subject to random drug testing and if candidate is promoted into this position, he/she must pass an assigned drug test.


SALARY INFORMATION 

GRANT FUNDED POSITION

Grants & Special funded positions are dependent upon continued available funds. If funding is no longer available, employee may be laid off or transferred. Factors used in determining the salary offered include the candidate's qualifications as well as the pay rates of other employees in this classification.


 Pay Grade 16


APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Only online applications will be accepted for this City of Houston job and must be received by the Human Resources Department during active posting period. Applications must be submitted online at: www.houstontx.gov

 

To view your detailed application status, please log-in to your online profile by visiting: http://agency.governmentjobs.com/houston/default.cfm or call 832-393-4632.

 

If you need special services or accommodations, 832-393-4632 (TTY 7-1-1).

 

If you need login assistance or technical support call 855-524-5627.

 

Due to the high volume of applications received, the Hiring Department will contact you directly, should you be selected to advance in our recruitment process.

 

All new and rehires must pass a pre-employment drug test and are subject to a physical examination and verification of information provided. 

 

EEO Equal Employment Opportunity

The City of Houston is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and providing a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment based upon any legally protected status or protected characteristic, including but not limited to an individual's sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, gender identity, or pregnancy.


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