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Recruitment and Retention Core Director, Clinical Research Associate/Research Assistant Professor, THRIVE CENTER

Program Description:  The Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) at Northwestern University, founded in 2015 on Northwestern’s Chicago campus, is the nation’s largest university-wide center focused exclusively on SGM health. It promotes innovative, multidisciplinary research to improve the health and wellbeing of SGM individuals and communities. The Center for Translational Health Research and Interventions advancing Equity for Sexual and Gender Minorities (THRIVE) is housed within ISGMH and focuses on cutting-edge translational research with SGM adolescents and young adults.


The THRIVE Center Recruitment and Retention (R&R) Core is made up of staff who are involved with recruitment and retention activities on various research studies at THRIVE. Team members contribute their expertise to help guide research study implementation by designing recruitment plans for the inclusion of diverse SGM youth and adults, recruiting hard-to-reach sub-populations within SGM-specific research, providing outreach techniques and retention strategies, designing various platforms for participant tracking, and creating culturally and developmentally appropriate participant contact techniques.


Position Description: The THRIVE Center at Northwestern University is seeking a Clinical Research Associate or Research Assistant Professor to advance the recruitment and retention aims of THRIVE researchers as well as collaborators at partner sites. The focus of this position is (1) overseeing and managing SGM focused study participant recruitment and retention activities at THRIVE and (2) providing consultations on best practices in research related recruitment and retention to collaborators, both internal and external to Northwestern University, who focus on non-SGM populations.


Duties and Responsibilities:


Recruitment & Retention


  • Create and implement marketing strategies to drive participant recruitment through traditional and online sources.
  • Create and implement strategies to maintain participant engagement and retention such as scheduling tools, reminder contacts, and incentives.
  • Collaborate, brainstorm, and strategize with R&R core team to identify solutions to improve existing recruitment and retention procedures.
  • Serve as the point of contact for study PIs and team members needing assistance with overall recruitment and retention strategy considering project budget, staffing, and timeline.
  • Draft and develop visually appealing recruitment materials (with support from graphic designers as needed) such as online ads and posters.
  • Stay current with social media trends and methodologies for posting paid and organic content.
  • Analyze advertising campaign analytics and metrics to identify trends, successes, and areas for improvement.
  • Establish and maintain documentation of recruitment and retention best practices.


Community Engagement


  • Build and maintain relationships with community organizations and stakeholders that can support local research study recruitment and retention.
  • Host webinars and presentations on recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Contribute to academic and community-based dissemination when appropriate.




  • Create internship opportunities for students interested in research, SGM health, and/or social media.
  • Support projects by managing advertising budgets.
  • Supervise and train R&R core staff on tasks as needed.
  • Facilitate recurring R&R core team meetings.

Position Details: Clinical Research Associate or Research Assistant Professor, depending on education and qualifications. This is a full-time position based on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University. This position reports to Dr. Kathryn Macapagal.


Minimum Qualifications

  • Strong interest and/or experience in one or more of the following: research with sexual & gender minority populations, gender and sexuality research, health disparities and public health research, health services and implementation science research
  • Experience using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok for sales, marketing, or recruitment purposes.
  • Experience engaging with and retaining participants in research studies.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks and meet timelines.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to coordinate work with numerous contributors.
  • Master's or doctoral degree in social/behavioral science (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology), public health, humanities, marketing, advertising, or related field with expertise in recruitment and retention activities of hard-to-reach populations.

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Background in marketing, advertising, or graphic design.
  • Experience working with community-based organizations.
  • Experience in managing project budgets and financials.

To apply: Applicants should email application materials to Kathryn Macapagal at with the subject line “Recruitment and Retention Core Director.” Applications should include a CV and cover letter explaining fit with this position; relevant work or educational experiences, including experiences with research topic areas, participant recruitment and retention, managing social media ad campaigns; and the names of two references who will be contacted only for finalists. Consideration of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.


ISGMH Diversity Statement: ISGMH’s commitment to diversity is critical to our mission of advancing access to excellence in academic programs, world-class research, and health programs. Engagement in discrimination or harassment against any person because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, military service, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression will not be tolerated. Through its work, ISGMH advances the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals. Staff and trainees should expect to find a diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities among ISGMH staff, trainees, research participants, and in outreach experiences. We highlight the importance of respecting and valuing this aspect of diversity among staff and trainees.

Northwestern requires all staff and faculty to be vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to limited exceptions. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 and Campus Updates website.

The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Click for information on EEO is the Law.