Senior Diagnostics Advisor

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 26 November 2018
  • Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, United States
  • Closing on 24 February 2019
  • Current

Job Description


The Senior Diagnostics Advisor (SDA) will lead the diagnostics systems capacity building work for the USAID Infectious Diseases Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) project that serves the Global Health Security Agenda, TB programs and other related initiatives. IDDS supports select governments and their relevant ministries in the strengthening of human and animal health diagnostic systems for infectious diseases, TB and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The work will focus primarily on public health systems but may include private health and other non-governmental diagnostic facilities (laboratories and point-of-care facilities). The position will be based in the Rockville, MD office of the prime, and involve frequent international travel. The SDA has both administrative and technical responsibilities. The administrative responsibilities include managing assignments, associated staff, logistics and budgets. The technical responsibilities include working with the project prime and USAID to develop terms of reference and providing technical oversight of diagnostic facility assessments; capacity building of human and animal health diagnostic facilities and broader networks; supporting strategies for serving the broader surveillance systems; and support for point-of-care diagnostic services. The primary responsibility of the SDA is to ensure the successful implementation of the project’s activities for diagnostic networks capacity building in project countries, and the achievement of all FHI 360 targets and deliverables while managing and remaining within the approved budgets.

Technical Responsibilities:

The SDA provides technical, and strategic leadership to the design, implementation and monitoring of technical strategies to strengthen diagnostic networks that provide comprehensive coverage and universal access to diagnostic services. This may include assessments, capacity building initiatives, and development and implementation of strategies, programs or tools to support diagnostic network and facilities network capacity building of both human and animal health diagnostic networks. Specifically:

  • Leads the management of technical country and US-based FHI 360 working on the project.
  • Leads the development and coordination of technical assistance, and the design of diagnostic network and facility strengthening and quality improvement interventions in line with joint external evaluation (JEE) reports, country national action plans (NAPs) and other assessment reports.
  • Contributes significantly to the development of country-specific workplans and budgets for diagnostic network activities aligned with JEE and local stakeholder improvement goals, ensuring complementarity with other, non-diagnostic interventions by the project.
  • Leads and provides oversight to the implementation of diagnostic network strengthening activities in countries. This will include identifying and implementing capacity building activities for core diagnostic components such as specimen transport and referral mechanisms, quality management systems, diagnostics network supply chain, equipment maintenance, laboratory management information systems, diagnostic SOPs and tools, qualified workforce, expansion of point-of-care diagnostic service points, and biosafety and biosecurity.
  • Leads the reporting of diagnostic network strengthening activities implemented in project countries and submits completed reports to the prime as per contract requirements.
  • Provides technical advice based upon expertise and knowledge of evidence-based methods and strategies, current practice, and established diagnostic and operational standards to ensure quality and rigorous design while also being locally relevant and sustainable.
  • In close collaboration with project staff and diagnostic network leaders, monitors implementation of diagnostic network enhancement activities as per approved work plans.
  • Develops and implements continuous improvement initiatives to build diagnostic network and facilities capacity and quality with reference to accepted standards and requirements.
  • In close collaboration with IDDS surveillance staff, provides technical assistance to diagnostic networks to strengthen the accuracy and timeliness of reporting into national reporting databases such as DHIS2.
  • Encourages and assists laboratories with preparing for and seeking accreditation through locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally accepted accreditation agencies, contingent on country demand.
  • Builds capacity in country-level, regional or global diagnostic staff.
  • Provides guidance to ensure that program implementation adheres to appropriate diagnostic technical standards and guidelines and that programs are technically sound.
  • Provides technical leadership by staying current of evolving diagnostic technical standards, guidelines, and program developments in area of expertise.
  • Responsible for staying abreast of the diagnostic capacity building work of other partners and lead strategies to complement these.
  • Responsible for sharing best practices and contribute to the knowledge base through participation in scientific forums and technical networks and working groups.
  • Shares new knowledge/evidence and best practices with the project team, partners and host countries.
  • Will be required to coordinate and work with a diverse group of organizations, such as the Ministry of Health and Agriculture, diagnostic leaders and facility staff, international and national development partner organizations, and the donor.

Applied Knowledge & Skills:

  • In-depth functional knowledge of clinical diagnostics and diagnostic networks and quality management systems.
  • In-depth functional knowledge of the diagnostics for infectious diseases (including TB) and anti-microbial resistance
  • In-depth knowledge of the mechanisms and strategies that are being deployed under the Global Health Security Agenda and other similar mechanisms to combat emerging infectious threats and anti-microbial resistance
  • Strong diagnostic network capacity building skills.
  • Good understanding of the external environment and how it affects diagnostic network functioning in general, including political, legal, environmental, financial and social influences.
  • Strong diagnostic, analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to exchange information, present recommendations and collaborate with colleagues and peers within IDDS and externally.
  • Ability to influence others of the benefits/importance of an idea or plan of action and to gain their support or commitment.
  • Strong negotiation skills and ability to reach mutual points of agreement and benefit among peers and colleagues.


  • A minimum of a PhD, MD, DVM, or DrPH in clinical diagnostics;
  • At least eight years of experience (combination of long-term in-country placement and short term technical assistance) in diagnostics strengthening in developing countries
  • Proven knowledge and experience in the diagnosis of infectious diseases (including TB) and anti-microbial resistance including specific hands-on clinical diagnostics experience.
  • Competent in current developments in the diagnosis of infectious diseases including point-of-care and molecular methods.
  • Knowledge and experience with strengthening laboratories to achieve international quality standards.
  • A demonstrated ability to work with multiple partners on collaborative projects;
  • Familiarity with international biosafety regulations;
  • A demonstrated ability to create and maintain effective working relations with host country governments and international organizations, (including senior government officials), and U.S. Government Agencies.
  • Strong experience to manage projects, set realistic priorities, and plan for the successful implementation of activities.

Problem Solving & Impact:

  • Is sought out to provide advice or solutions in clinical diagnostic activities.
  • Is informed about current developments in the diagnosis of infectious diseases.
  • Works under broad direction with considerable latitude for independent action.
  • Specific actions are guided primarily by professional standards and expected outcomes of the project.
  • Decisions and actions have an impact on the smooth operation and timeframes of the project.
  • Problems encountered are complex and may involve unprecedented circumstances; resolution requires investigation, analysis and review of professional/organizational standards.
  • Faulty decisions or recommendations will normally result in critical delays and modifications to projects or operations, cause substantial expenditure of additional time, resources, and funds; and jeopardize future business activity.

Supervision Given/Received:

  • Will supervise other FHI 360 IDDS staff members in multiple countries (including in Asia and Africa) and the USA.
  • Work is reviewed in terms of meeting the organization’s objectives and schedules.
  • Accomplishes results through managers or senior members of team.
  • Manages technical area staff and function area within the organization.
  • Plays a coaching and mentoring role for others.
  • Works under the overall guidance of the IDDS project director, or its technical director.

Travel Requirements:

  • At least 35%

This job description summarizes the main duties of the job. It neither prescribes nor restricts the exact tasks that may be assigned to carry out these duties. This document should not be construed in any way to represent a contract of employment. Management reserves the right to review and revise this document at any time.

FHI 360 fosters the strength and health of its workforce through a competitive benefits package, professional development and policies and programs that support healthy work/life balance. Join our global workforce to make a positive difference for others — and yourself.

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FHI 360 is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. FHI 360 is an equal employment and affirmative action employer whereby we do not engage in practices that discriminate against any person employed or seeking employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other status or characteristic protected under applicable law.

About the Organization

About FHI 360: FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Our staff includes experts in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender, youth, research and technology — creating a unique mix of capabilities to address today's interrelated development challenges. FHI 360 serves more than 70 countries and all U.S. states and territories. We are currently seeking qualified candidates for the position of: Senior Technical Advisor

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