SDSU Research Foundation

Research Specialist I

Req No.
Full-Time Contract
$22.00 - $34.56 per hour
Dept/Proj Name


The salary range for this position is $22.00 - $34.68 per hour depending upon qualifications and is non-negotiable. 


The Society, Equity, Stigma, and Health Lab (SESH Lab), directed by Dr. Arjan van der Star, conducts research focused on multilevel, societal systemic mechanisms driving adverse mental health outcomes among sexual and gender minorities, using a wide range of (social) epidemiological methods. The Body Image, Sexuality, and Health Lab (BISH Lab), directed by Dr. Aaron Blashill, conducts research focused on sexual orientation and gender identity-based disparities in mental health, physical health, and health behaviors. The Cancer Disparities and Cancer Communication Lab is directed by Dr. Kristen Wells. Research in this lab focuses on the development and evaluation of patient navigation, community health worker, and health communication interventions.

Drs. Van der Star, Blashill, and Wells received funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct and facilitate epidemiological research and research on suicide prevention in gender and sexual minority youth and young adults.


This position will be primarily involved in two NIH-funded research projects: 1) an epidemiological data harmonization study on the socioecology of sexual minority stigma and sexual minority mental health and 2) an intervention study focusing on suicide prevention among sexual and gender minority youth. This is a two-year position, with opportunities for extension pending availability of funding. Start date is early fall 2023. The Research Coordinator will interact with multidisciplinary research labs focused on LGBTQ+ health, clinical psychology, health behavior, social and psychiatric epidemiology, and intervention development.


The Research Coordinator will oversee and coordinate day-to-day operations of the two research projects. This individual will report directly to the PIs or Project Director for the respective projects. The Coordinator will be involved in data management and access, harmonization, construction of structural stigma indices, and data integration and analysis, as well as collaborate with other full-time research coordinators in general project management, supervising of research assistants, and IRB/NIH documentation, correspondence, and compliance reports.

In addition to the role of Research Coordinator (i.e., split equally across the projects), the Coordinator will have the opportunity to pursue independent data analysis/manuscripts on multiple existing datasets focused on patient navigation, suicide risk, and sexual orientation/gender identity health disparities, more broadly. The Coordinator will also have access to mentorship focused on career development and applications for graduate school/PhD programs. Structured mentorship will be available from Drs. Blashill and Van der Star, as well as informally from Dr. Wells, across the disciplines of epidemiology, health disparity research, and clinical psychology.


Other Duties and Responsibilities:

Attend seminars, colloquia, and other regularly scheduled educational activities at San Diego State University, the University of California, San Diego, and other identified locations. Attend weekly project and lab meetings.


Core Knowledge and Abilities

  • Ability to communicate effectively (both written and verbal), including communication with staff, faculty, students, and research participants, as well as groups
  • Ability to train and supervise staff and students
  • Ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships and interact effectively with young adults, coworkers, research teams, and administrative staff
  • Knowledge of manuscript writing and grant responsibilities such as summary or progress reports
  • Ability to understand and follow work procedures
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize different task demands
  • Ability to be well organized, meet deadlines, display detail orientation, and possess good judgment and common sense
  • Ability to work with vulnerable, marginalized and diverse populations including sexual or gender minority individuals
  • Ability to demonstrate a high level of cross-cultural sensitivity



  • Relevant research experience (e.g., quantitative research methods and analysis, epidemiological methodologies, intervention development and evaluation)
  • Relevant regulatory experience (e.g., institutional research boards, data and safety monitoring boards, funding agencies, quality management systems, reportable event management)
  • Experience using statistical software programs (e.g., SPSS, Stata, R, Mplus)
  • Experience of using Microsoft Office (e.g., Word and Excel) and Google Drive
  • Experience of data gathering software (e.g., Qualtrics) and encryption software (e.g., Keka, Peazip, 7zip)
  • Experience in leadership, group coordination, or management


Required Experience/Education

  • Bachelor’s degree awarded or near completion in relevant area (e.g., psychology, social work, other behavioral or social sciences)
  • College-level coursework/training in research design or statistical methods



Minimum Education and Experience: 

  • Equivalent to graduation from a four-year college or university
  • One-year of experience in technical research or statistical work

Preferred Qualifications

  •  Experience in working with vulnerable, marginalized and diverse populations, including sexual and/or gender minority individuals. Knowledge:
    • 1) of sexual orientation/gender identity health disparities in adolescents and young adults,
    • 2) of suicide risk literature.


  • A background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered a position with SDSU Research Foundation.
  • Candidate must reside in California or live in a commutable distance from SDSU at time of hire.
  • San Diego State University Research Foundation is an EEO/AA/Disability/Vets Employer.  



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