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Technical Lead / SQL Programmer

Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) is seeking a full-time Technical Lead / SQL Programmer to join Team Participatory System Dynamics (Team PSD) in leading a national quality improvement program in the Veterans Health Administration.


As the Technical Lead / SQL Programmer you will support Team PSD's efforts to change the way health care quality improvement decisions are made across all layers of the Veterans Health Administration. It is rewarding to know that your hard work makes a difference in the lives of others.

In this impactful role you will use your expert-level skills in SQL, power Bi and R to scope and develop requirements for new features and datasets. You will operate in a dynamic and highly collaborative environment, contributing to the continuous integration, deployment and documentation of workflows.

The primary responsibility for this position is use of SQL from VA administrative data for two purposes: 1) NIH and VA-funded scientific research analyzed in R Notebooks via a GitHub continuous integration and deployment workflow, and 2) Power BI dashboarding and reporting used by frontline VA addiction and mental health staff who are participating in Modeling to Learn.

This is a full-time position. You can telecommute 100% of the time and work from anywhere! There's an office space in Menlo Park, CA, if you'd like to have a hybrid schedule.

PAVIR offers generous benefits including comprehensive health insurance, 14 paid holidays, paid vacation, sick pay and a 401(k) with a fully vested 6% company match and 3% profit share. Plus, we pay for life, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance.


Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) facilitates research and education activities conducted at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). At PAVIR we work with more than 160 uniquely talented medical scientists across a broad spectrum of research areas as we fulfill our purpose of driving Veterans' health innovation. Our researchers have an active appointment with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and most maintain an academic appointment or are affiliated with Stanford University.


Healthcare Operations - Modeling to Learn SQL/CDW/Power BI Responsibilities:

Extract, analyze, and dashboard complex data from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW using expert skills in Structured Querying Language (SQL);

Using the Power BI platform, update the Modeling to Learn data resources (Excel VBA Macros  SQL) in Power BI dashboards and reports;

Ensure the Power BI Data Model is consistent with Business Intelligence Service Line (BISL) and Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP) data definitions and best practices;

Maintain and update the national Modeling to Learn Power BI data reports based on user-centered design sprints;

Estimate parameters from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW) for use in existing Modeling to Learn system dynamics simulation models and simulation user interface.

Research - Modeling to Learn SQL/CDW/R Responsibilities:

Develop datasets to analyze multi-site Phase III cluster-randomized implementation research trials testing for improved delivery of evidence-based addiction and mental health services among the Veteran population nationally;

Analyze and estimate parameters from the VA Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW) for use in research reports via SQL to R data pipelines managed on GitHub;

Lead data preparation for peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, NIH and VA oversight reports and grant submissions;

Create cohorts from detailed inclusion/exclusion criteria, creating or working with longitudinal healthcare data, etc.;

Clean data, identify problems with data or coding, and resolve technical problems;

Monitor datasets and statistical deliverables for quality assurance; Resolve any methodological issues or data interpretation issues.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment, Data Communication/Dissemination:

Use Team PSD platforms for daily workflow and team coordination – GitHub/ZenHub, Open Science Framework, LucidCharts;

Create, update and maintain documentation and provide necessary TeamPSD cross-training using TeamPSD standard documentation and quality assurance processes via GitHub;

Create detailed online and written data presentation and information for scientific, operational and frontline audiences.

Project Scoping and Management, Quality Assurance, Training, Teamwork and Collaboration:

Function as the primary technical lead in the Team PSD Quantitative Workgroup data "pipeline" who structures datasets and data dashboards for use by principal investigator and co-investigators, statistician, healthcare staff, and system dynamics modelers;

Develop goals and timelines, work breakdowns and time estimates, on the Team PSD GitHub kanbans (e.g., ZenHub board; the "issue tracker" and "feature tracker");

Advance preparation for and effective use of Workgroup Leads meeting, Support Workgroup Leads meeting and Quantitative Research and Quantitative Operations Workgroup meetings to keep the project progressing, and keep meeting time minimized;

Coordinate effectively with VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention programmers (OMHSP), VA engineers, project co-investigators and mentees, including the Business Intelligence Service Line (BISL) and Program Evaluation Resource Center (PERC) teams to meet project goals;

Collaborate with other highly interdependent workgroups across TeamPSD to achieve weekly sprint goals and monthly epic integration;

Maintain data and code management and documentation protocols to ensure high-quality, transparent and reproducible code for use by a variety of Team PSD colleagues and VHA stakeholders, including the public;

Conduct analyses independently, yet solicit input and make adjustments based on input from team members; produce analyses for iterative improvement based on stakeholder feedback.


A bachelor's degree or equivalent experience;

3 years or more of related experience using SQL and Power BI, or SQL and R, to program, manipulate and analyze large datasets;

Extensive direct experience with developing dashboards and reports using Microsoft PowerBI;

Experience creating visualizations, data models, and DAX measures from new or existing data sources.

Experience working with clinical/healthcare datasets desired;

Experience with federally funded research desired;

Exceptional written and oral communication skills;

Skill with making recommendations and scoping technical work to meet deadlines;

Comfortable dealing with large datasets;

SQL expertise;

Commitment to use of Markdown and open science principles and platforms;

Skill with synthesizing interdisciplinary expertise in a cross-functional team;

Ability to communicate data requirements, as well as limitations to team members;

Capability to produce high quality documentation and to outline work processes in writing;

Organized, detail-oriented, self-directed, and dependable;

Strong time management skills and ability to prioritize workload with input from the team and partners;

Commitment to integrating with VA regulations and procedures regarding research and operations;

Effective interpersonal skills, including active listening, user-centered empathy;

Willingness to learn with others and respond quickly to a fast-changing business environment.

ARE YOU READY TO JOIN OUR TEAM? Please fill out our initial 3-minute, mobile-friendly application. We look forward to meeting you!

PAVIR engages in nonprofit medical research and works with sponsors and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) in administering funds for conducting research to find new and improved ways to combat human disease and help people with disabilities. Please refer to our website for additional information:

PAVIR is pleased to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. Minorities, Women, Veterans, and Individuals with a Disability are encouraged to apply. We welcome and encourage diversity in the workplace regardless of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. If you need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, please contact - Human Resources department.


Location: 94025

For more information, or to apply now, you must go to the website below. Please DO NOT email your resume to us as we only accept applications through our website which can be accessed by clicking on the green "Apply Externally" button.