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PhD Position in Public Health at University of Basel

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The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) is a world-leading institute in global health with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries. Associated with the University of Basel, Swiss TPH combines research, services, and education and training at the local, national, and international level. About 850 people from more than 80 nations work at Swiss TPH focusing on infectious and non-communicable diseases, environment, society, and health as well as health systems and interventions.

The Department of Medicine at Swiss TPH is built on a foundation of clinical medical services, diagnostics, pharmaceutical medicine, and clinical research. The Clinical Research Unit is currently looking for a

PhD Student (100%)

to contribute to, and support implementation of, mental and behavioral health clinical and intervention research in Lesotho and South Africa.

Our team has been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to conduct a randomized controlled trial to test a novel behavioral intervention for depression and substance use in people living with HIV in Lesotho. The intervention will adapt the WHO’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP), an evidence-based intervention guide for non-specialist mental health providers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), by including loved ones in treatment. The PhD student working on this project will have the opportunity to learn the following: (1) developing and adapting behavioral interventions, (2) implementing behavioral interventions in LMICs, (3) designing and conducting clinical trials for behavioral interventions, (4) using mixed-methods (i.e., quantitative and qualitative) and implementation science research approaches.

This project is led by Dr. Jennifer Belus and is situated in a team of researchers who conduct clinical trials and other clinical research on a variety of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Dr. Belus leads a growing team of social science research within the Department of Medicine. You can learn more about the team’s ongoing work here: https://www.swisstph.ch/en/projects/gmh-in-ssa/

We are looking for a motivated and dynamic student who is interested in developing expertise at the intersection of behavioral/social sciences and global health. The recruited PhD student will have the opportunity to develop their own program of research within this project and/or other ongoing projects of the team.

PhD student responsibilities include:

  • Adapting clinical training and intervention materials
  • Developing qualitative interview guides
  • Conducting qualitative coding and analyses
  • Conducting quantitative data analyses
  • Data management
  • Writing and submitting ethics protocols and amendments
  • Spending time in-country building relationships with collaborators and stakeholders
  • Producing scientific output, including writing manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication and presenting results at scientific conferences

Interested applicants should have the following experiences and skills:

  • A Master’s degree in psychology, public health, global health, or a related discipline
  • Experience with scientific writing or presenting, such as peer-reviewed publications, conference abstracts, or conference presentations
  • Interest in developing one’s own research agenda
  • Interest in scientifically evaluating psychological and behavioral health interventions in low-resource settings
  • Ability to work with team members from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Ability to be flexible and adaptable
  • Previous research or clinical experience in low-resource international settings is a plus
  • Experience with qualitative data collection and analysis is a plus
  • Fluency in English speaking and writing

We offer:

  • Diverse team with various scientific backgrounds including psychology, medicine, public health, epidemiology, nursing, and virology
  • Opportunities to travel to collaborating sites in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Opportunities to contribute to a growing social science team in the Department of Medicine
  • An interactive and motivating work environment that provides opportunities to start, or further develop, an academic career in global health
  • Swiss TPH is an equal opportunity employer, valuing multicultural backgrounds and perspectives. Swiss TPH employs individuals from over 80 countries worldwide.

Please submit your application online via the link provided below.

If you are interested, please submit the following application materials:

  • CV
  •  Personal statement. Please be sure to describe the following: (1) prior academic and research experiences; (2) current and future research interests; and (3) how your academic and research goals fit with the described project and the research group’s interests
  • Diploma
  • Scientific writing sample, preferably a first author paper (does not have to be accepted for publication)
  • Names and contact information (email and phone) of 3 references

Individuals from underrepresented groups, including ethnic and racial minorities, women, and people with disabilities, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please note that we can only accept applications via our online recruiting tool: https://recruitingapp-2698.umantis.com/Jobs/All. Applications via e-mail or external recruiter will not be considered.

For full consideration, please submit your application by 22 March 2022.

Contact: If you have questions about this position, please contact Jennifer Belus, PhD at [email protected].

Job Profile:

Start Date: Preferred August – September 2022, but flexible (can be mutually agreed upon)

Location: Allschwil, Switzerland

Duration: 3 years

Percentage: 100%

Travel required? Yes. The primary project will be based in Lesotho, though travel to other collaborating sites is possible (e.g., South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe). One to two trips per year is likely (total travel time per year is expected to range between 2 to 12 weeks). Longer stays can be arranged, if desirable.


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