Research Program on Children and Global Adversity

Faculty Member: Theresa Betancourt

The Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA) at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) was established to advance an evidence base regarding strategies and methods for improving child health service delivery and increasing protections and effective services for children in adversity.

The RPCGA Research Assistant (RA) will work closely with the RPCGA’s Project Managers and other team members on programs for children and youth affected by multiple forms of adversity, including armed conflict and violence. The RPCGA portfolio encompasses research on cross-cultural mental health assessment of children and adolescents and intervention development in low resource settings. The program includes projects in Sierra Leone addressing the intergenerational effects of war and development of a Youth Readiness Intervention for war-affected youth, in Rwanda addressing early childhood development, and in Boston addressing mental health among diverse refugee groups.

This Boston-based position includes working with our Sierra Leone team, and other projects as necessary, on research pertaining to global child mental health problems and resilience. The intern will gain exposure to human subjects and related institutional work on human rights and children and global adversity. Students with interest in gaining exposure to global health issues and research methods are particularly encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities and Requirements: The RA will work closely with the Project Teams on data collection and management, literature searching, administrative support of projects, and study tool development, and will participate in meetings with the team and collaborators in the Boston-based office. The RA will assist with backstopping current fieldwork underway in Sierra Leone. The RA will gain a broad range of skills related to human subjects research, data management, survey programming, literature review, and tasks related to data collection and analysis. The position requires the completion of a broad range of tasks, flexibility, resourcefulness, and independence.


  • Manage incoming data from the field;
  • Program survey tools using online platform;
  • Assist in measures development;
  • Conduct literature searches on topics related to children and war-affected youth;
  • Transcription of qualitative research interviews;
  • Attend meetings with research teams;
  • General organization and some administrative tasks;
  • Manuscript editing and referencing;
  • Literature reviews and Endnote library management;
  • Statistical and conceptual analyses for the research team where applicable

Specific Requirements:

  • Harvard University undergraduate. If hired, will participate in the IQSS URS Program.
  • Self-starter, ability to take initiative and work independently;
  • Excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, and follow-through;
  • Good communication (oral and written); works well on a small team;
  • Experience with public health surveys or interest to learn;
  • Strong computer skills required, including web-based literature searches; expertise in Word, familiarity with Excel;
  • Interest in international public health research preferred and/or global mental health

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to Emily Coles at