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NCSP/VA Collaboration

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:

  1. Practice clinically at local VA medical centers and clinics
  2. Engage local and national VA faculty and administration officials in support of program objectives
  3. 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."


The collaboration between the NCSP and the Department of Veterans Affairs was designed to introduce new skills and training in the non-biological sciences and in health care research to young physicians committed to clinical medicine. Graduates are expected to be role models in leading and developing solutions to meet the most pressing health issues of the day. The VA/National Clinician Scholars Program has become one of the premier fellowships for physicians interested in influencing health policy. The partnership between the VA and the NCSP allows the next generation of physicians, nursing leaders, and change agents to understand and improve the health of veterans, and of the nation.