Patrick G. O’Connor, MD, MPH, Dan Adams and Amanda Adams Professor of General Medicine and chief of general internal medicine, has been elected chair of the National Clinician Scholars Program Board of Directors. His three-year term began on January 1.
The National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) grew out of the former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program (RWJCSP), which graduated its last class in 2017. The first class of NCSP scholars graduated in 2018. The NCSP has continued the former program’s focus on training future researchers and leaders in health care. Its goal is to “offer unparalleled training for clinicians as change agents driving policy-relevant research and partnerships to improve health and health care.” Specifically, the program strives to “cultivate health equity, eliminate health disparities, invent new models of care, and achieve higher quality health care.”
Yale has been an RWJCSP and NCSP training site since 1974, with many of its graduates going on to highly successful careers in academic medicine, health policy, and healthcare leadership. When the NCSP began, the four existing RWJCSP sites (Yale, UCLA, University of Michigan, and University of Pennsylvania) transitioned over to the new program. More recently, the NCSP Board voted to expand the program to six sites, adding Duke and UCSF. In his role as board chair, O’Connor will lead the NCSP’s efforts oversee and support the activities of all six programs including curriculum development, recruitment, and future planning. A novel aspect of the NCSP (in comparison to the RWJCSP) is that nurse-scientists are partnering with physicians to address new and emerging problems related to health.
“The NCSP has effectively continued and expanded upon the incredible success of the RWJ Clinical Scholars Program,” says O’Connor, a graduate of the Yale Clinical Scholars Program. “The first cohort of graduates from the NCSP class of 2018 have already gone on to assume positions in academia, government, and community health throughout the U.S. and are already having a major impact on health care. As we move forward, the NCSP will surely consolidate its considerable early gains while continuing to innovate and create exciting new solutions to health care in the United States.”
The NSCP Board is made up of the deans (or their designees) of the schools of medicine and nursing at the six sponsoring universities along with health care leaders and innovators from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides major support for the program, and leaders from other branches of government and from academia.
O’Connor’s research has focused on the interface between primary care and addiction medicine including research examining the transfer of addiction treatment strategies from “specialty” settings to primary care and other general medical settings.