The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease in our lifetime. The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s disease research worldwide, having funded more than $800 million in research projects in academic and industry labs worldwide. We exist to put ourselves out of business, so we deliberately hold no endowment but instead spend what we raise quickly and efficiently; 88 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to research programs. Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various treatment ideas and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. Today, the Foundation has about 145 full-time employees.
Within MJFF, Research Partnerships helps support the Foundation’s mission of developing new and improved Parkinson’s therapies through its focus on four key activities: 1) increasing engagement and developing partnerships with various stakeholders, including biopharma, government, nonprofits and patients; 2) developing and managing clinical studies that inform drug development and disease understanding; 3) promoting data accessibility and sharing across the Parkinson’s and broad neuroscience community; and 4) integrating the patient experience and viewpoint across the research spectrum. This position is focused on supporting our efforts to integrate patients and volunteers in clinical research.
Finding new therapies is dependent on an informed, mobilized patient population and trial teams that are innovative and diligent about how to reach their target population. The Associate Director will assist in leading strategic development and implementation of activities that leverage the Foundation’s brand to get members of the community engaged in clinical research for Parkinson’s.
The Associate Director will work closely with internal colleagues from several teams, members of the research and patient communities, and additional external stakeholders to further develop MJFF’s presence as a trial recruitment resource. The Associate Director will also play a crucial role in priority team projects, inserting strategic input and oversight. Primary roles and responsibilities include:
Project Management: Executing strategic action plans and actively managing tasks
- Design project concepts and execute them in an efficient manner
- Perform due diligence on new strategies, tactics and potential partners; recommend and implement on next steps
- Trouble shoot and problem solve as issues arise; excellent decision-making and ability to make judgment calls on tough issues
- Ability to think big picture and strategically while maintaining excellent attention to detail
- In the near term, specific projects will be to:
- Develop and execute approaches to engage Parkinson’s patients, caregivers and individuals at risk for Parkinson’s in the MJFF-sponsored study Fox Insight – including development and oversight of volunteer communications, retention incentive programs and collaborations with referring physicians, clinical centers and partner organizations
- Develop and maintain a data reporting process for Fox Insight volunteer engagement and channel performance toward the long-term goal of 100,000 volunteers
- Make presentations and staff tables at meetings and conferences to expand presence of Fox Insight and other MJFF-sponsored studies
- Manage inquiries and requests from biopharma, research centers, and the Parkinson’s patient and family community to engage further with MJFF’s trial recruitment team and Foundation-sponsored studies
Strategy Development: Shaping MJFF’s ‘point of view’ and developing strategic action plans to achieve MJFF’s goal of increasing the number of clinical trial participants
- Work with others at the Foundation to solicit input and opinions from a variety of advisors and then translate them into action steps for MJFF (strategic perspective is critical here)
- Focus on ‘connecting the dots’ and thinking creatively about next steps for the Foundation, as well as anticipating opportunities and/or challenges
- Specifically, develop and implement MJFF’s plan to engage volunteers in an online research collaboration with 23andMe; also, assist in the strategic development and implementation of partnership and clinician outreach strategies for key MJFF-sponsored studies.
Relationship Management: Develop relationships inside and outside of the Foundation and conduct outreach with the clinical trial and Parkinson’s patient community
- Cultivate relationships with clinical trial staff across academic research centers, biopharma and partner organizations
- Work with Steering Committee representatives from MJFF-sponsored studies, patient and family Ambassadors, Community Partners and other advisors
- Represent MJFF at appropriate meetings, conferences and other venues
Key attributes of an outstanding Associate Director are excellent decision-making and judgment, creative ‘out of the box’ thinking and strong project and time management skills. An innate sense of urgency as well as an ability to work productively and proactively – both independently and as part of a team – are key. This role reports to the Director of Research Partnerships.