The National Clinician Scholars Program aims to offer unparalleled training for clinicians as change agents driving policy-relevant research and partnerships to improve health and healthcare. The goal of the program is to cultivate health equity, eliminate health disparities, invent new models of care, and achieve higher quality health care at lower cost by training nurse and physician researchers who work as leaders and collaborators embedded in communities, health care systems, government, foundations, and think tanks in the U.S. and around the world.
At each site, consortium partners will contribute their invaluable expertise and/or resources to support the Scholars and their research, as well as the curricular and administrative core of the program. At the heart of the program, many members will work directly with each Scholar to identify and develop projects to cultivate that Scholar's unique research and leadership skills. We do so in a fundamentally innovative environment where partners play a major role in selection of Scholars, training, intensive mentorship, funding positions, and program governance.
Inter-professional training is also an important feature of the program. Integration of physician and nurse researchers in training to advance the field of healthcare from different perspectives will shape the future of health and healthcare in ways that we have not seen before. Scholars will also benefit from inter-professional mentorship and leadership experiences. Scholars who have completed their medical degree and residency training, Doctor of Nursing Practice training, or Ph.D. in Nursing, will share this important experience, enhance each other's career trajectories, and build a network of health professionals to lead change in the nation.
The four participating sites were formerly part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. Although this new program is not affiliated with the RWJ Foundation, the goals of this program are aligned with the Foundation's focus on building a culture of health, yet provide a distinctive focus on the development of rigorous scholarship to support other aspects of building that Culture. The multi-institutional and inter-professional leadership structure provides an opportunity to focus training on implementation science, state of the art methods for patient centered outcomes research, policy-relevant design, and evaluation of private and public health system innovations. Partnered research will also prepare scholars with the research and leadership skills needed to design, implement, and evaluate interventions to improve the health of the population, mitigate health disparities, and ultimately achieve the value proposition of higher quality care at lower cost. Scholars will join the community partner consortium to tackle the top health problems in the region and statewide. Executing projects to solve real world problems in real time serves as the core training experience in the program.
Ongoing clinical work helps scholars maintain essential skills and relevance. Scholars' clinical efforts are balanced with research- and leadership-focused education so that 10% of time (20% in special circumstances) is spent in clinical activities, which permits sufficient educational time for intensive learning in the two-year program.
Interdisciplinary Education for an Inter-professional Cohort
Scholars join from a wide variety of clinical specialties to offer a rich learning environment of different perspectives. Nurse and physician scholars training together offers an opportunity to create team-based approaches to address communities' most pressing health and health care needs. While inter-professional training is increasingly given lip-service in clinical settings, this program offers a unique opportunity for the Scholars to learn and innovate together, and with community partners, in the research context with deep and sustained intellectual engagement across professional boundaries.
Scholars will continue to be part of a national cohort and will attend an annual national meeting to present projects, network with peers and leaders from other institutions, and participate in workshops. The national meetings provide opportunities substantially distinct from what the scholars typically experience during their own professional societies' annual programs, because of the unique combination of common socialization, partnered research efforts, and inter-professional research training.
National Program Committee (NPC)
Oversight will be provided by a NPC that consists of the deans from each site's schools of nursing and medicine, VA representation, community representatives, prominent leaders, and RWJF Clinical Scholar Program Alumni who can provide both oversight and mentorship to the scholars. This group would also provide guidance regarding plans to expand the program to additional sites in the future.
Graduates of this program are prepared to join an active network of scholars from physician and nursing research training programs over the last several decades, whose innovations, collaborations, and leadership have helped shaped improvements in U.S. health and health care. They have also characterized and stimulated the national research agenda regarding health services delivery and community health needs. The overarching goal of this program is to emulate the outstanding rigor of research training delivered in prior programs while also providing a leading platform for the development and training of an inter-professional, community-connected, and policy-relevant cohort of outstanding clinicians who will be leading scholars that the U.S. health care system needs to thrive in the future.
The program will network with the legacy of the vast clinician alumni networks of prior Clinician Scholars Program of over 1,300, the new RWJF Clinical Scholars Program, and others such as National Research Service Award fellows (NRSA) and various VA Special Fellowships.