Vice President & Chief Research and Knowledge Officer

Position Title: Vice President & Chief Research and Knowledge Officer

Reports To: President & CEO

Work Location: 425 West 47 Street, New York, New York  10036

FLSA Status: Exempt

Job Summary:

We are at a moment of both great peril and great opportunity. Chronic underinvestment in community mental health has resulted in people living with mental illness experiencing unjust cycles of criminalization, hospitalization, chronic homelessness, addiction, and deep social isolation and marginalization. This only promises to grow in scale in the wake of COVID-19, where mental health needs are on the rise, and where more of us than ever are at risk of trauma, turning to substance use, developing mental illness and of decompensating into crisis. As we have seen throughout history and again with the pandemic, this impact will be felt inequitably, with the greatest burden on marginalized people of color, immigrants, and otherwise vulnerable people. Community mental health is in dire need of rehabilitative models well beyond healthcare, that align closely with public health impact and social determinants of health, and that engage people living with mental illness to both meet their basic health and social needs, and to provide opportunities for them to achieve their goals and aspirations for a better life.

Community mental health models, especially rehabilitative models like Fountain House’s psychosocial rehabilitation “clubhouse”, have historically served as trust agents, and as necessary social infrastructure for people living with mental illness, where people choose to engage, as opposed to mandates, or simply being recipients of mental health care and services. For these approaches to attract greater investment and attention as a community-based alternative to criminalization, hospitalization, marginalization and isolation, we must design and execute rigorous evaluation and research; mental health must be further mainstreamed into routine public health surveillance and epidemiology, and nonprofits like Fountain House must be engine rooms for this development, working in close partnership with the public sector. Additionally, working with a highly vulnerable and marginalized population demands participatory research structures that center the voices and experiences of people living with mental illness in the conception, design, execution, and dissemination of research. 

Fountain House is seeking a visionary, creative and data-driven Vice President and Chief Research & Knowledge Officer to join our senior leadership team, reporting to the CEO, Dr Ashwin Vasan. We are searching for a leader with around ten years professional experience in public health, health equity, health services research, and/or policy and implementation research, with a demonstrated track record of interdisciplinary collaboration and scholarship. The right candidate will bring a pragmatic and strategic leader who fundamentally sees data and research as a way to tell stories, persuade, and to achieve key policy and organizational goals. The Vice President and Chief Research & Knowledge Officer will serve as a thought leader on the local, national, and global level, and be the driving force for using the highest-quality data and evaluation methods throughout the organization.

Fountain House is building a high-performance culture of the utmost transparency and accountability, and this requires a strong foundation of inquiry, research, monitoring, evaluation, and dissemination, which this role will lead. We are also committed to increasing the diversity of our leadership team, particularly in order to accurately reflect the communities we serve. The right candidate will be a dynamic and inspirational leader; collegial and collaborative across our organization, the Fountain House network and with our range of stakeholders; strategic and results-oriented; and able to represent us externally, inspiring confidence and support among policymakers, donors, service providers, and our members. With new leadership and galvanized by a transformative $3M investment from the Dauten Family Foundation, the Vice President and Chief Research & Knowledge Officer will be responsible for building out a first-class research team, in close collaboration with academia and national and global policy thinktanks and research organizations, that can center community-based solutions to mental illness, can advance early identification and secondary prevention of social isolation and other consequences of mental illness, and investigate the population and public health impact of such approaches. This is a full-time position, though we are open to candidates who currently have or would seek joint faculty appointments with academic institutions, and would consider arrangements that make that possible.

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact Clara Nelson Strachan at Perrett Laver at To download further information and apply for this role, go to quoting reference number 4857. The deadline for applications is Friday, 13th November 2020 at 12 noon ET.

We especially encourage applicants of different backgrounds, cultures, genders, experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply. We actively work to increase the diversity of experience and perspectives on our team, and we want to hear from you. Remember, no one comes with the entire complement of skills, and no one is the perfect candidate, so don’t let a lack of experience/ skill in one specific area deter you from applying.

Fountain House is committed to being a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, physical disability, or length of time spent unemployed.

We’re working for a world where no one is powerless, where health for all is not just an aspiration but a reality, and where creating change is a part of everyday life. We’re just getting started and hope you’ll join us.

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