Research Fellowship in US Indigenous Community Wellbeing

Feb 11, 2020

Research Fellowship in Indigenous Community Well-Being

The Project

The Department of Global Health and Social Medicine seeks a postdoctoral fellow to coordinate a new action-research project dedicated to advancing Indigenous Partnerships for Community Well-Being. Many Indigenous peoples in the USA experience overwhelming social problems stemming from legacies of conquest and dispossession that have led to unremitting poverty. These problems include mental health inequities such as high community rates of trauma, addiction, and suicide. And yet, conventional clinical approaches to helping individuals with psychological distress and disability are not always well-tailored for Indigenous communities. By engaging in participatory fashion with knowledgeable and resilient Indigenous community partners, the Indigenous Wellness project will assess the relevance, efficiency, and effectiveness of mental health and psychosocial helping services and, together with community partners, re-imagine and re-design such services toward greater cultural consonance, therapeutic benefit, and community self-determination. In-depth consultation with community leaders, traditional healers, and other local knowledge carriers—and circulation of lessons learned through routine academic publication and community dissemination—will be essential to the success of these endeavors. Contributions to scientific knowledge may include formal outcome evaluations of innovative services, as well as more basic research that will elucidate Indigenous experiences and understandings of health, healing, and well-being. In sum, the signature contribution of this endeavor entails the reflective, collaborative, and documented development of innovative interventions for mental health problems in (post)colonial Indigenous settings in the USA.


Under the supervision of Prof. Joseph Gone, Faculty Director for the Harvard University Native American Program, and in collaboration with regional and national Indigenous community partners, the fellow will assume mentored responsibility for: (1) advancing research projects, analyzing associated data, writing manuscripts, and submitting these for publication; (2) coordinating existing partnerships and supporting new partnerships toward efficient and effective action-research dedicated to services innovation; (3) managing the logistics of community-engaged action-research, including ethics review, financial reporting, grant preparation, etc.; (4) consolidating a relevant network of community-engaged researchers and Indigenous knowledge keepers who are committed to promoting innovative Indigenous wellness projects; and (5) supervising students, trainees, and volunteers who contribute to these efforts. Ability to travel routinely to project sites, whether regional or national, is required.


Applicants must have a doctoral degree in a field relevant to this project (e.g., psychology, medical sociology, medical anthropology, social work, public health). Other desirable qualifications include:

  • Record of scholarly publication, including first-authored scientific journal articles  
  • Expertise in research design, intervention outcomes assessment, and/or qualitative data analysis (e.g., thematic content analysis, ethnography) 
  • Experience working in or collaborating with Indigenous communities in the USA 
  • Prior supervision of research team and/or coordination of community research activities 
  • Current knowledge of mental health problems and services in the USA

To apply

Email the following items in one PDF with the surname as the first word of the PDF file: (1) cover letter stating long-term career aims, interest in the project, and suitability for the position, specifically referring to the criteria listed above; (2) curriculum vitae; (3) two or three relevant publications; and (4) contact information for three to five potential references. Applications should be emailed to:

Minimum salary: $55,000 Start date: September 1, 2020

Location: Boston/Cambridge, MA, USA

Other information: This project is expected to be ongoing. The research fellow position will be hired on an annual basis with renewal depending on continued funding and satisfactory performance.

For additional information regarding the PI, associated research, and project institutions, see:

For additional information regarding the project or the post, please email: Professor Joseph Gone (

Harvard University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer and applications from women and underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged.

Category: Jobs


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