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Career Center

Deputy Director, Maternal Health Discovery & Development

Site Name:
Seattle, WA
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Additional Information

Division Summary

Our Global Health Program harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in countries. We focus on the health problems that have an impact in developing countries but get too little attention and funding. Where proven tools exist, we support sustainable ways to improve their delivery. Where they do not, we invest in research and development of interventions, such as vaccines, drugs, devices, diagnostics, foods and microbial interventions. As we shift into the Division of Gender Equality, we will apply our work even more broadly in the context of women’s health and improving maternal health outcomes starting from preconception all the way through transgenerational effects.

The Team
The Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Discovery & Tools (MNCH D&T) team leads upstream research and product development to improve the lives of mothers and infants in low-resource settings. Our approach targets underlying biological vulnerability and aims to intervene as early as possible in the life course. We fund development on a core set of products that range in type (including drugs, foods, microbes, algorithms and devices), technical risk (from novel concepts to product substitutions) and development phase (from early discovery to late-stage efficacy testing). These products focus on the perinatal period targeting pregnancy risk, pre-eclampsia, maternal anemia, labor monitoring and post-partum hemorrhage. Our team is multidisciplinary and includes physician scientists with backgrounds in pediatrics, perinatal epidemiologists, and experts in neurodevelopment, nutrition research, engineering, global health, and strategy development.  We emphasize in-country partnership to integrate the local context into research and development.

Your Role
As the Deputy Director, you will lead strategy development and execution for the R&D portfolio on maternal health from discovery through product development. This includes overseeing a robust research portfolio aimed at improving our biological understanding of adverse pregnancy outcomes (such as preeclampsia, prematurity, intrauterine growth restriction, birth asphyxia and stillbirth) to develop new preventive interventions, as well as overseeing and/or advising on the development of a portfolio of products and tools aimed at improving maternal-fetal health during pregnancy and the peripartum period. In a leadership capacity, this role will also impact broader efforts of the foundation in maternal health and women’s health writ large.

You will collaboratively engage as a technical expert with downstream teams focused on delivery and work with external partners to drive progress. As part of this effort, you will represent the foundation with external stakeholders including Ministries of Health, the World Health Organization, scientific conferences and workshops. You will also manage relationships with grantees, biotechnology companies, contractors, and key partners to achieve impact as well as providing briefings and science updates to foundation leadership.  

What You’ll Do
  • Develop, modify and implement strategic areas in the areas of maternal health discovery and product development under the leadership of the Director. Work with the team and with foundation leadership to progress the portfolio of investments.
  • Source and assess high-impact innovations across multiple sectors relevant to maternal/fetal health
  • Progress product portfolio focused on improving metal/fetal health through to demonstration of efficacy and hand-off to partner teams
  • Serve as a foundation global spokesperson on stakeholder engagement priorities and related issues internally to foundation Co-chairs and leadership and externally to industry, academia, and other stakeholders.
  • Advise, mentor, and support colleagues within the foundation and their grantees in the design, enhancement, and execution of project, initiatives and engagements. Manage partnerships and grantee relationships to achieve impact, for example, by conducting site visits, convening meetings of key stakeholders, monitoring and evaluating components of grants.
  • This role will manage people and may be responsible for hiring the talent needed to achieve our goals, ensuring successful employee onboarding, communicating performance expectations, creating goal alignment, integrating project and change management, giving and seeking feedback, providing coaching, measuring progress and holding people accountable, supporting employee development, and recognizing achievement and lessons learned.
  • Identify areas for advancing the maternal health portfolio to achieve overall program goals.
  • Engage internal and external expertise to drive portfolio objectives. Responsible for high-quality interactions and clear and consistent communications with grantees and partners.
  • Use technical expertise to advise on maternal health and discovery approaches across the portfolio and evaluate new grantees.
  • Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals; provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding, including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review by foundation leadership.
  • Provide content expertise and participate on the team to ensure seamless integration of upstream and product development work into the overarching MNCH D&T strategy. Collaborate with partners across the foundation, offering input and review on investments.
  • Conduct data analyses, research and synthesis in support of investment portfolio and decision-making. Provide written analysis of key topics for foundation leadership.
Leadership and Culture
We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things. We believe in a collaborative, humble approach to working with partners to define the best ways to advance the field of maternal health.

What You bring

We’re looking for a leader with a deep understanding of pathophysiology of adverse intrauterine, labor and delivery outcomes, with a clinical background in Obstetrics and a strong research history in the areas of maternal health, fetal biology, placental physiology and peripartum events. Additionally, we seek:
  • Consistent track record to lead and influence others in a constructive manner and to build collaborative relationships across a multi-disciplinary, highly matrixed work environment.
  • Ability to drive development of novel therapies from target identification through to phase 3 efficacy trials, with particular focus on prevention and treatment of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  • Experience and evidence of innovation in the conception, design, review and management of strategies, initiatives, and scientific programs.
  • Demonstrated excellence in scientific writing and data analysis, written and oral communication skills, and experience advocating and communicating with a broad and diverse audience. Strong quantitative analytic ability, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus.
  • Ability to collaborate within a complex organization and with external organizations.
  • Experience working on teams with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver projects/programs, including risk mitigation and budget management in a fast-paced environment, with clear achievements and outcomes.
  • Experience as a technical resource to teams and leadership on impact, cost effectiveness and decision analyses
Education and Experience
  • Advanced degree (e.g., MD/PhD or MD) and a minimum of 10 years of clinical experience in Obstetrics and Gynecology, specialization in maternal-fetal medicine or similar experience desired.
  • Research background or development experience in one or more areas around pregnancy complications, placental biology, or peripartum events
  • Experience with global health or specific disease areas noted is preferred.
#LI-JM1Hiring Requirements
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.

If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to

Inclusion Statement
We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.
All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.