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FDA Formative Research Support Learning Opportunity

Paid Internship

9 months ago



A fellowship opportunity is available within the Office of Health Communication and Education (OHCE) in the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CTP aims to protect Americans from tobacco-related death and disease by regulating the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products and by educating the public, especially young people, about tobacco products and the dangers their use poses to themselves and others. CTP oversees the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  

The selected fellow will have the opportunity to learn about the Tobacco Control Act and the development, implementation, and evaluation of health communication program activities, including national public education campaigns. More specifically, the selected participant will learn about health communication research conducted to support the Office of Health Communication and Education (OHCE) in the Center for Tobacco Products. Activities may include:

-- Learning about OHCE's health communication initiatives, strategic considerations, and needs geared toward understanding and reaching various audiences.

-- Learning how to design and execute formative research studies to inform communication initiatives using qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

-- Learning the interpretation and communication of complex scientific information at a level target audiences can fully understand.

-- Learning how to apply best practices and theoretical frameworks from social and behavioral theory and health equity to the creation of evidence-based strategies and approaches to formative research.

-- Keeping up to date on tobacco survey data and reviewing studies concerning tobacco products to ensure OHCE’s communications are supported by the best available science and reflect the most up-to-date information and statistics.

The learning projects will be conducted at the candidate's residence as CTP/OHCE employees are designated remote employees. There may be occasions where the Fellow is directed by the Mentor to attend a meeting at the FDA's White Oak campus in Silver Spring, MD. Travel expenses may be paid during these instances.

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participation Programs at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are educational and training programs designed to provide students and recent graduates, opportunities to participate in project-specific research and developmental activities at the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). CTP regulates the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect public health.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: April 25, 2023; start date is flexible

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and FDA. The initial appointment is for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of FDA contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Participants do not become employees of FDA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at FDA. OPM can complete a background investigation only for individuals, including non-US Citizens, who have resided in the US for a total of three of the past five years.

FDA requires ORISE participants to read and sign their FDA Education and Training Agreement within 30 days of his/her start date, setting forth the conditions and expectations for his/her educational appointment at the agency. This agreement covers such topics as the following:

  • Non-employee nature of the ORISE appointment;
  • Prohibition on ORISE Fellows performing inherently governmental functions;
  • Obligation of ORISE Fellows to convey all necessary rights to the FDA regarding intellectual property conceived or first reduced to practice during their fellowship;
  • The fact that research materials and laboratory notebooks are the property of the FDA;
  • ORISE fellow’s obligation to protect and not to further disclose or use non-public information.


The qualified candidate must have received a master's degree in a field relevant to communication, public health, and/or social science, or be currently pursuing the degree with completion prior to the appointment start date. The degree must be received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Coursework and/or work experience in tobacco or other public health or health communication research
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of social marketing, health communication science, behavioral science and/or advertising
  • Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative social science research and analysis methods
  • Knowledge of public health environments at local, state, and/or national levels
  • Experience contributing to the development and implementation of qualitative or quantitative research programs
  • Outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Intermediate to advanced experience with the Microsoft Office Suite

Employer Job ID: FDA-CTP-2023-01

Required graduation year

2018 - 2023


  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Master's Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
  • Communications and Graphics Design (1 )
  • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (1 )
  • Life Health and Medical Sciences (1 )
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (29 )


ORISE is a U.S. Department of Energy asset that enables America’s scientific competitiveness by training the next generation of STEM experts; conducting scientific and technical reviews; and evaluating radiation exposure, environmental contamination, and worker health. ORISE is managed by ORAU, a university consortium of more than 150 major Ph.D.-granting academic institutions and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. ORAU has been working with government agencies, universities, and corporate entities since 1946 to advance scientific research and education, protect health and the environment, and strengthen national security.
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Skills you'll need for this internship

    qualitative research
    quantitative research
    laboratory skills
    data science


provided by employer

What happens after you send in your application?

ORISE has not provided an expected interview date. Due to the volume of applications, ORISE has indicated that they will not follow up unless you are selected for an interview.

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