Careers and Internships at PHR | Research and Investigations Consultant

Research and Investigations Consultant

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which shared in the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, is a U.S.-based international advocacy organization working at the intersection of medicine, science, and law. With a global network of thousands of medical, scientific, and legal experts, PHR uses the power of medical and scientific evidence to document violations of human rights and humanitarian law, prevent abuses, protect survivors, and promote justice and universal human rights for all.

Building upon its highly respected place in the field, and supported by a committed and talented team, PHR seeks a Research and Investigations Consultant.

Work Authorization: Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States

Location: Remote 

Reports to: Director of Research and Investigations

Organizational Overview

Physicians for Human Rights was founded in 1986 by physicians who were united in the belief that health professionals, with their specialized skills, ethical duties, and credible voices, are uniquely positioned to prevent harm and promote respect for human rights. Since its founding, PHR has built a long and distinguished record of accomplishment by conducting groundbreaking investigations and advocacy, in concert with strategic partners.

PHR’s approach includes extensive documentation of the use of illegal and inhumane weapons in armed conflicts, attacks on civilians, and the physical and psychological impacts of torture and sexual violence as a weapon of war. Other core activities include protecting the rights of those seeking asylum in the United States, the human rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and documenting attacks on medical facilities and frontline health professionals. More recently, PHR has begun exploring how to better harness science and clinical knowledge to end discriminatory and unlawful law enforcement practices that impact public health and well-being.

Role Description

PHR seeks a consultant with a strong background in qualitative research to assist with a methodologically rigorous investigation of the potential influence and interference of law enforcement presence in hospitals and emergency departments from the perspective of medical ethics, medical practice, constitutional law, and international human rights. Taking an intersectional approach, the consultant will map the types, patterns, and potential harms of law enforcement involvement in health systems — particularly emergency departments – across the United States, to inform a prospective research project.

The ideal candidate will be based in or near California, Louisiana, or New York, with the ability to travel as needed.


  • Lead in the development and refining of semi-structured interview protocols for research scoping.
  • Lead in outreach to and recruitment of clinicians, legal experts, and other relevant stakeholders to participate in scoping interviews.
  • Conduct semi-structured interviews to identify gaps in the evidence base, determine key questions, and inform the research design of a longer-term investigation.
  • Identify and participate in meetings with practitioners, civil society organizations, and activists who can serve as partners in shaping research design and/or execution.
  • Participate in scoping trips within at least two states where PHR has already identified strong networks of physicians, lawyers, academics, and community groups documenting significant rights violations related to police presence in hospitals. Spend a week in each state meeting with stakeholders, visiting possible research sites, and refining research questions and design.
  • Produce memos documenting the findings of each scoping trip.
  • Lead in the production of a detailed research plan to guide a prospective report on law enforcement presence in hospitals.
  • Publish shorter products such as op-eds, multimedia, fact sheets, and policy briefs if preliminary findings warrant public advocacy or media commentary.
  • Support relevant communications and advocacy strategies as needed.

Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate 

  • Expertise in and experience in qualitative research, including conducting semi-structured interviews (in person and remotely) and analyzing resulting data.
  • Experience working in hospital or clinical settings and conducting health-related research.
  • Experience in conducting health-related research desired.
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial/social justice and health equity.
  • Sensitivity to the impact of race, ethnicity, class, and gender on health and a commitment to intersectionality as an analytical lens.
  • Existing relationships with reproductive health organizations and health care providers in California and/or Louisiana (as well as other states) strongly desired.
  • Exceptional analytical, writing, and verbal skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, collaboratively, effectively, and professionally.
  • Mature judgment, strong sense of integrity, ability to maintain strict confidentiality, discretion, and capacity to be a self-starter.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Able and willing to undertake in- and out-of-state travel as needed

Salary and Benefits

This will be an approximately nine-month, part-time consultancy with a negotiated daily compensation rate. Travel expenses will be covered.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should submit by October 9, 2023, the following materials to

  • Cover letter detailing interest in the project and relevant background
  • Resume
  • Contact information for two references
  • Unedited writing sample (up to 10 pages)

Physicians for Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer. We recruit and hire without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, prior conviction, arrest history, disability, marital status, veteran status, or age.