About the National Clinicians Scholar Program
Greetings from the Program Director
Welcome to the Yale National Clinician Scholars Program! The Scholars program at Yale has been preparing clinician leaders to improve health and health care in the United States for over 40 years. Initially part of the RWJ Foundation Clinical Scholars, we are now excited to be in our third year as a National Clinician Scholars Program site. Notably, our long-standing educational partnership with the Veterans Health Administration continues, providing Scholars with unique research and clinical opportunities. Our interprofessional program seeks to identify, nurture, and strengthen a cadre of diverse individuals, whose scholarship will positively influence population health, and inform the redesign of the health care system.
Yes, we teach research methods – we are committed to rigorous science and this is a research fellowship. But the NCSP at Yale is much more than that. We are deeply committed to providing trainees not only with the tools necessary to conduct high-quality research, but also to inculcating a commitment to health equity, a nuanced understanding of systemic racism and other complex determinants of health, and a recognition that engagement of stakeholders at all levels is a foundational premise of improving health. Our Scholars impact policy. We change healthcare. We improve the health of our communities. We take great pride in the Program’s credibility in building research capacity among local Community-Based Organizations in New Haven that can help them advance their own missions.
We are looking for individuals who are impatient with the status quo – who are skeptical of conventional wisdom and want to use research as a lever to promote change. And what path do our Scholars take? Our Scholars are pluripotent – some aspire to work in a federal, state, or local government setting. Others will join community-based organizations, or work in large health systems. Others will pursue academic careers. We work with Scholars, tailoring their experiences to ensure they have the skills and experiences needed to succeed, and we have fun along the way. Please peruse our website, and let us know if you have any questions about the program.
The mission of the National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) at Yale is to prepare future clinician leaders to improve health and health care in the United States. To accomplish this goal, the NCSP will identify, nurture, and strengthen a cadre of diverse physicians and nurses, whose scholarship will positively influence communities and the health care system.
The National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) builds upon the legacy Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program (RWJF CSP). The outcomes of the RWJF CSP – and of the new NCSP – can best be understood through the transformative work being carried out by its graduates in health and health care efforts across the country. Below please find a small sample of the more than 1,300 RWJF CSP alumni currently acting as change agents in the United States and beyond. More to come as our new NCSP alumni follow in their footsteps!
Oni J. Blackstock, MD, MHS
Class of 2010-2012
Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
As a Clinical Scholar, I participated in a leadership seminar where I shadowed the Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of HIV/AIDS for NYC. Now seven years later, I’m in that very same position. By enabling me to build a strong foundation in research, policy, and leadership, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program opened the door to this opportunity and helped to make it a reality.
Nicole M. Brown, MD, MPH, MHS
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Montefiore Medical Center
My time as a Clinical Scholar exposed me to the importance of forging strong partnerships with community based organizations and systems outside of health care to positively impact health and psychosocial outcomes. The skills that I developed in the conduct of Community Based Participatory Research—inviting communities to participate in all phases of a research project, from asking the question to disseminating findings—continue to inform my work today. The Clinical Scholars program was critical in expanding my view of how health care systems work, and how they can be transformed to positively impact communities beyond the walls of the hospital or clinic.
Kate Goodrich, MD
Center for Clinical Standards and Quality and Chief Medical Officer, CMS
In my role at CMS I oversee the development and implementation of quality measures for value-based purchasing programs, coverage decisions for Medicare patients, national quality improvement activities, and health and safety standards for all healthcare facilities in the country. In making these decisions, I rely heavily on the research methodology and critical thinking skills I acquired during my time at Yale. In addition, Yale’s strong focus on organizational psychology and leadership has greatly helped me to do my job in a highly complex organization where I must take into account numerous internal and external interests, while ensuring that CMS can carry out its mission in the most effective and efficient way possible.
SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS, FACS
Associate Chief of Staff
Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, TX
My time as a Scholar was the most formative experience of my life. Since then, my journey as a healthcare public servant has spanned tackling the opioid crisis, ensuring Medicaid beneficiaries have access to breast cancer care, coordinating medical disaster hurricane response efforts, and serving our nation’s veterans. The training I received as a Scholar equipped me with the tools, the skills, and most importantly, the courage to take on these challenges. I learned that giving up is never an option and that yes, you can be the change you want to see.
Theodore Long, MD, MHS
Vice President for Primary Care
New York City Health + Hospitals
The Clinical Scholars Program taught me how to apply the skills and mentality of health services research to the field of health policy. Since completing the program, I have been honored to hold several leadership roles in healthcare policy and delivery, applying what I learned in the Clinical Scholars program. I am currently the Vice President for Primary Care at New York City Health + Hospitals, the largest public healthcare system in the country with more than 70 primary care clinic sites. I previously served as Senior Medical Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and as Medical Director for the Rhode Island State Department of Health. The Clinical Scholars program prepared me with the necessary knowledge and context to understand broad aspects of health policy and healthcare systems.
Ilse R. Wiechers, MD, MPP, MHS
National Director, Psychotropic Drug Safety Initiative (PDSI)
Associate Director, Northeast Program Evaluation Center
Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (10NC5), Department of Veterans Affairs
The Scholars program was critical in helping me develop the analytical and leadership skills that have allowed me to excel in the work I do now leading several national programs for the Veterans Health Administration. The Scholars program helped broaden my understanding of health systems as well as refine my understanding of leading change within a large organization.
At Yale University, partnerships include the Yale School of Medicine, Yale School of Nursing, Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), YNHH-Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, Columbus House, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), Project Access New Haven, New Haven Family Alliance, and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System which offers a rich array of clinical services.
The Program's array of strong partnerships with communities, local and state government, and health systems continues to thrive and support the work of our Scholars. These partnerships have been essential to the rigorous and relevant training of Scholars and continue as central keys to programmatic success in the future.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) and the National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) have partnered to offer training for clinicians to become change agents and health system leaders through a collaborative enrichment program offered competitively to nursing and physician fellows. The enrichment will involve a standardized curriculum, health system and research projects, career mentoring, policy work, and clinical and patient care activities, all in the context of interprofessional engagement. The program emphasizes the importance of community health, consistent with VA's goals to optimize the health of the veteran, the VA community, and to contribute to the health of the Nation. VA NCSP Clinician Scholars participate in activities at their designated VA Medical Center as well as participate fully in the overall NCSP program at the affiliated institution. Experienced mentors of national stature provide guidance to fellows in rich learning environments.The collaboration between OAA and NCSP will enrich the awardees' experience by providing the opportunity for VA-funded Scholars to:
- Practice clinically at local VA medical centers and clinics
- Engage local and national VA faculty and administration officials in support of program objectives
- Receive advice regarding VA priorities and career opportunities within the VA
Core to the program, Scholars work closely with community partners. Scholars addressing real-world, highly relevant problems in real time is the central mechanism of the Program training experience. Mentorship is provided for Scholars by Program faculty, community partners, and subject matter experts. Recent Scholar projects include "End of Life Care in the Veteran's Health Administration vs. Fee for Service Medicare among Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer" by Dr. Carolyn Presley, "Factors Associated with Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder" by Dr. Alicia Agnoli, and "Musculoskeletal Disease - Rheumatoid Arthritis Study" by Dr. John McDougall. There is also work in progress by Shelli Feder, PhD "Use of Palliative Care Among Patients with Heart Failure within the Veterans Aging Cohort Study."