Senior Health Scientist

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share our Core Values of Respect, Results, Innovation, Optimism, and Integrity, and support our Commitment to Diversity.  

Program Overview


EDF’s Health Program is committed to improving public health by dramatically reducing environmental exposures that increase the risk of disease and death, especially in vulnerable populations. We work on a range of legislative, regulatory, scientific and market-oriented projects aimed at improving chemical safety and air quality. EDF has long been a leader in reducing air pollution in the United States by strengthening and defending health-based policies, promoting market-based incentives, and building a broad based, grassroots advocacy campaign through our partner, Moms Clean Air Force. In recent years, we have expanded our efforts to harness new air pollution sensing tools and technologies to tackle air pollution within cities around the world. EDF is working with a diverse network of researchers, companies, advocacy partners, and government officials to scale new air pollution monitoring and mapping technologies to advance our understanding of health impacts, and empower local actors to identify, advocate for, and implement clean air policies around the world.   


Overall Function


The Senior Health Scientist supports EDF’s work to reduce disparities in health impacts from air pollution and other environmental pollutants. She/he will work with the EDF Health team to develop and conduct research projects that investigate the relationship between health impacts and criteria air and hazardous air toxics from multiple sources, including the power sector, transportation, and the oil and gas industry; to collaborate with community partners and local stakeholders to evaluate and assess equitable mitigation strategies; and to develop effective communications and advocacy initiatives to reduce emissions and exposures. The Senior Health Scientist reports to the Sr. Director, Health & Climate.


This position will be located in EDF’s San Francisco, Austin, Boston, New York City, Raleigh or Washington, DC office (with option for geographic flexibility for the right candidate).


Key Responsibilities

  • Manage, advise, and participate in the development of environmental health research projects with academic collaborators, including design & conduct collaborative research with goal of submitting research for peer-review
  • Manage relationships with the public health community partners & local stakeholders
  • Effectively translate and distill complex scientific concepts into accessible language for EDF donors/members, policy makers and lay audience including presentations, blogs, proposals, and other internal documents
  • Advise on the development of programmatic and strategic directions for the Health program and organization
  • Supervise and mentor EDF post-doctoral scientists
  • Represent EDF in a variety of settings, including state and federal legislatures, state and federal agencies, meetings with corporate executives, and meetings with other NGOs.
  • Help keep EDF at the cutting edge of science in Environmental Health
  • Must advance EDF DEIJ goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental challenges we face.  This includes fostering equitable systems and empowering diverse constituencies both internally and externally.


  • PhD/DrPH in epidemiology and at least 4 years of experience
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and mentor others
  • Strategic thinker who has demonstrated the ability to direct one’s own advocacy work and scientific research
  • Established publication record based on research in a relevant discipline
  • Initiates and maintains extensive contacts within a scientific community
  • Superior oral and written communication skills, including working with media
  • Desire and ability to excel at the interface of scholarship and advocacy
  • Proven ability to lead a comprehensive science-focused project
  • Ability to work with and communicate effectively with non-academics and non-scientists
  • Must demonstrate cultural awareness and the knowledge, attitude, behavior, and skills that lead to a culturally competent workplace.  Must demonstrate a commitment to continued self-assessment, learning, and growth to increase and broaden culturally competent skillsets that produce effective interactions with people across diverse cultures and backgrounds.  This includes the ability to adapt to cultural change.
  • Willingness to travel

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.