Skip to the content of the web site.

ITC Project Programmer

Date: April 2013
Reports to (Job Title): ITC Survey Manager
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): n/a
Location: Main Campus

Full-time staff - Contingent on funding

35 hours/week

Primary Purpose

To program and maintain the ITC customized database in response to the needs of SMG and other ITC personnel in order to prepare, manage and document survey questionnaires for the international evaluation of tobacco control policies.  


The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) is an international collaboration of over 100 tobacco control researchers across 22 countries whose mission is to evaluate the behavioural and psychological impact of national-level tobacco control policies of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first-ever international treaty on health. The ITC Project consists of a set of parallel annual cohort surveys of large, probability samples of tobacco users and non-tobacco users in those 22 countries: Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, China, Mexico, Uruguay, France, New Zealand, India, Germany, Brazil, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Zambia and Kenya. The ISIS database consists of questions used over time in these countries, and is substantial in size and complexity.

Our funding sources include the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the US National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK, the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research, as well as other governmental and foundation sources throughout the ITC countries.

The staff for the ITC Project at UW are housed in the Department of Psychology, and in the Propel Centre in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.  The Propel Centre for Population Health Impact is a collaborative enterprise that conducts solution-oriented research, evaluation, and knowledge exchange, to accelerate improvements in the health of populations.


 The ITC Project at UW is directed by Dr. Geoffrey T. Fong (Department of Psychology), and the Data Management Centre (which collects and manages all data from the ITC project) is directed by Dr. Mary Thompson (Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science).  Additional leadership and support is provided by other faculty members and staff, including a Senior Project Manager, country-specific Project Managers, Data Analysts, Computer Programmers, Survey Managers, Administrative Assistants, and Research Assistants.


The ITC Project is in the midst of significant growth. Funding for the entire ITC Project is anticipated to continue to increase significantly, with a concomitant increase in personnel. Equally important is that the international profile of our work has been increasing and will continue to increase.

Key Accountabilities:

In consultation with the Survey Manager, provide the following support:

  • Program the ISIS database
    • Use Visual Basic for Applications (primarily Access)  to program database
    • Use VB.Net  in the future to program an Access-free version of the database
    • Use SQL for query building
    • Create new database functions as the requirements of ITC and the Survey Management Group  (SMG) change
    • Revise, integrate, and document code from various past programmers to ensure smooth functioning of long-term database function
    • Manage the migration of ISIS to MS Sequel Server
  • Test the ISIS database
    • Conduct and supervise testing of new database functions
    • Respond promptly to Survey Management Group’s feedback
  • Communicate with the Survey Management Group about the database
    • Provide guidance to SMG staff on using the database effectively
    • In writing, inform the Survey Management Group of new functions and other improvements to the database
    • Post, document, and distribute new versions promptly
  • Proactively improve the database
    • Identify ways to make the database more efficient
    • Conduct on-going research into new coding techniques
    • Participate as necessary in the updating and maintenance of the ITC Survey Database content

In consultation with the Survey Manager, the Data Management Centre Director, and the Project Management Group/ Research Scientists and Associates, provide the following support:

  • Create epidata and other templates for data entry in multiple countries
    • Acquire familiarity with each country’s surveys
    • Coordinate with country teams to ensure that their specific data entry needs are met
    • Identify discrepancies in use of the surveys by the country teams
    • Inform the Project Management and the Survey Management groups about errors and problems
  • Create and program a read-only ISIS database for use by Project Management Group (PMG)
    • Create and customize a read-only version of ISIS database
    • Conduct and supervise testing of the PMG database
    • Train Project  Management associates  in use of the database
    • Revise database as necessary to maximize use and effectiveness
  • Other Responsibilities
    • Communicate by email and telephone
    • Install software as needed
    • Coordinate with the faculty’s IT Specialist in network issues
    • Assist Survey Management Group with any computer-related issues
    • Advise and assist Project Management Group on financial database as needed
    • Other duties as assigned

Position Requirements


Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related field, with strong emphasis on programming/ software development.


Extensive experience with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is essential, especially Access functions, form design, and Word automation.

Familiarity with health or psychology research in general, and/or survey research in particular, is an important asset.


Other skills and attributes:


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Proficient Proficient

Visual Basic for Applications


VB. Net


Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Interpersonal Contacts: Internally, communicates with all survey management team members, data analysts, research associates, and ITC team members in all groups and departments, to provide database programming support for research initiatives.

Level of Responsibility:

The position is responsible directly for database programming, for documenting and providing information related to database programming, and implementing programming requests. Responsible for working with various surveys, documents, and data sources to support programming requirements.

Decision-Making Authority:

Responsible for consulting with ITC Survey Management leadership to determine best approaches to database programming and design. Provide insight and guidance to all project team members on database programming including providing recommendations to improve efficiency and researching new concepts in database design.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of a database programmer operating within a team-oriented and multi-project office environment.

Working Environment:

Minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions typical of a database programming. Position has leadership support for prioritization of workload within multiple projects.