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Alumni Quotes

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
Class of 2011-2013
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
Class of 2008-2010
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
Class of 2007-2009
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
Class of 2013-2015
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
Class of 2012-2014
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.