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Data Scientist (Health Policy)

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity
For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center is hiring a Data Scientist to work with researchers on a small team that develops and applies the Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model (HIPSM).  The team produces research that has had a substantial impact in many health policy areas, at both national and state levels. Findings from HIPSM have been cited in top tier media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal and referenced in the majority opinion in the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell regarding the Affordable Care Act.  The successful candidate will apply data science tools and techniques to generate new evidence, data, and analytic tools that enhance HIPSM or supplement its capabilities and inform public policy.  This role will also be a member of Urban’s Data Science Team, participating in professional development and knowledge sharing.

What you’ll do:

  • Bring creativity and technical skill to help develop innovative research methods and rigorous analyses that are used by policymakers and practitioners to make evidence-based policy and decisions.
  • Employ the state-of-the-art Health Insurance Policy Simulation model (HIPSM), a detailed microsimulation model of the US health insurance system, to analyze proposed policies.
  • Build, maintain, and modify systems and processes to collect, combine, and analyze multiple sources of data in novel ways.
  • Creatively leverage data science techniques such as machine learning to produce new analyses to incorporate into HIPSM model.
  • Translate complex public policy proposals and real-world data into sophisticated computational models using Stata, R, or Python and analyze results using both traditional statistical and machine learning techniques.
  • Effectively communicate with team members and contribute to papers, blogs, data visualizations, and other dissemination materials.
  • Debug and solve complex problems.
  • Take initiative to suggest improvements or innovations to methods or processes.

What you’ll bring:

The successful candidate will have:

  • A Masters or a Bachelors in Data Science, Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Public Policy, or a related field.
  • At least 2 years of experience in a professional or academic environment with R, Python, or Stata programming languages (code samples will be requested).
  • Experience with version control such as Git and GitHub.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate clearly in presentations and writing to both technical and non-technical staff.
  • Willingness to learn and adapt to changes in work assignments, deadlines, and team environment.
  • Ability to apply and implement research principles and goals into code.
  • Interest in domestic economic and health policy issues.
  • Ability to communicate respectfully with individuals of differing backgrounds and experience.
  • Availability to start work within 4 to 6 weeks of hiring is a plus.

What you’ll experience

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people.
Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners. It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits. Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after five months of service and 1,000 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

As a federal contractor, Urban will comply with Executive Order (EO) 14042 that requires federal contractors, subcontractors, and their respective employees to comply with Covid-19 vaccinations. All Urban Institute employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by January 18, 2022, and comply with masking and distancing requirements, regardless of responsibilities or work location. New hires must also be fully vaccinated before starting work.  Employees may request exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 based on either a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated.  Where such an exemption is approved, Urban will discuss with each employee potential accommodation.

The Urban Institute has formally recognized the Urban Institute Employees’ Union, which is part of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). Urban management and the Union work together in good faith and are motivated by a shared commitment to this institution. This position is included in the Union-represented collective bargaining unit, and specific employment terms and conditions are subject to collective bargaining negotiations.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The Urban Institute is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law.

We are committed to equal employment opportunity and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with physical and/or mental disabilities. If you have a physical and/or mental disability and are interested in applying for employment and need special accommodations to use our website to apply for a position, please contact Human Resources at Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.
The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.