Director of Applied Research

Community health initiatives offer the public access to programs and health services that promote overall wellness.  These programs also provide job opportunities for individuals who want to make a difference in the health of their community and in the development of better interventions.  As a director of applied research you would be able to accomplish all of this.

Public health departments across the nation are finding that program development is an ideal way practice preventive medicine as well as address concerns that are specific to the population.  The position of director of applied research helps to fine tune the application of these programs, and is a rewarding career track for many people in the administrative field of healthcare.

What Is A Director Of Applied Research?

A director of applied research essentially tests theories of healthcare application and practice in a real world situation.  You would not only be responsible for making sure that the program itself runs smoothly, but you would also need to consider how the program is impacting the public.  This information is then used to make changes within the practices.

This position would also allow you to asses if the public health program is meeting the community needs.  The director of applied research would also take part in assessing community health and suggesting possible alternative interventions that reach a wider range of the population.  Within the assessment of the project, you would be able to determine if practices have a general or specific community application. 

The director of applied research has the following tasks as part of the job expectations:

  •   Direct and oversee the program through testing and assessment of implementation.
  •   Act as mediator between different teams within the project as well as the project developers.
  •   Conduct further research into best practices and implementation methods for greater productivity.
  •   Create written reports and educational documents that can serve project participants and the public.
  •   Evaluate implementation methods to refine the process of providing public health services.
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These personal skills are also important if you are considering becoming a director of applied research:

  •   Organization:  You will be required to keep track of a number of tasks and timelines.  You will also need to organize the data that you record through your observations and evaluations.
  •   Critical thinking:  You will need to be able to assess situations and outcomes efficiently.  This will include team member function and practices as well as impacts and changes within the community. 
  •   Management skills: Your ability to manage will apply to the people you are working with and also the resources at hand.  This will require you to be able to both lead and delegate at the appropriate times. 
  •   Problem solving:  Since this job is the application of information, you will also need to be able to use your knowledge and insights to overcome obstacles and enact changes in practice to result in better outcomes. 
  •   Communication:  You will be engaged in a variety of practices to disseminate information.  This can include verbal and written reports, as well as communicating between teams, management, and the public.

Nature Of The Work

Most directors of applied research are employed through the department of public health, universities, or community and non-profit organizations.  This job is usually a combination of administrative and office work, and on site practical application.  In overseeing staff members and practices, you will be required to participate in the functional environment and lead by example. 

Directors of applied research also spend much of their time correlating cause and effect and generating reports that convey this information.  You may spend much time analyzing demographic data through computer programs and tracking finances to determine benefit outcomes.  The information that you gather will then be further applied to the program in order to fine tune practices in public health initiatives. 

Education And Training

Directors of applied research will require a Master’s degree in either healthcare administration, business, or public health program development.  You will also need to have knowledge of statistical analysis, practical biology, and health and wellness.  Research practices are a part of necessary experience, and these may be gained through completing your Master’s thesis or through prior participation in other health services programs.

Credentialing for this position is often required.  States have different requirements for this process, but it is usually through proof of experience, such as credit hours in service, and examination.  Once the Administrative Services Certification is attained, it must also be maintained with continuing education.

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Directors of applied research face exciting job prospects over the coming decade.  The use of community outreach and intervention programs is rapidly growing as the healthcare system focuses on greater public access to services and community wellness initiatives.  It is expected that as many as 7,400 entry level positions will become available in the next ten years, which means a 27% growth rate for this career track.  This position also has a fairly high median wage, with average pay close to $100,000 per year.  The position of director of applied research can offer you a stable job with good benefits, and also give you the opportunity to connect with the community through wellness programs.

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