Yale Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Clinical Scholars Program

Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program

Community Leaders at a RWJ Scholars planning session

Yale is one of four sites for the RWJFCSP, the flagship program among the health-related fellowship programs supported by the RWJ Foundation. The RWJFCSP trains early-career physicians to improve health and health care in the United States through clinical and health services research and its translation into health care practice, policy change and/or improved community health.

For the 2005-2015 funding period, the RWJFCSP expanded research training to include an emphasis on community-based participatory research (CBPR) and to include in the core curriculum a course on Principles and Processes of Community-based Research Approaches. The Yale RWJF Clinical Scholars spend 15 percent of their time during their two- year fellowship in a 15-month community-partnered translational project known as the community practicum.

The enhanced RWJFCSP education and training in CBPR complements an already strong curriculum in clinical epidemiology, health economics, and principles of health policy and health systems management; thus far 34 RWJF Clinical Scholars have received CBPR training and seven are currently in training. Since 2007, the RWJF has made this CBPR curriculum available to YCCI Scholars. In 2008, six community leaders participated in a pilot community-based research curriculum with the Scholars, as another step in further improving the CBPR curriculum.

The quality of the RWJFCSP clinical epidemiology curriculum has consistently attracted other postdoctoral fellows as auditors on a selective basis, including trainees from the Investigative Medicine Program.  The RWJFCSP has recently partnered with YCCI to offer community-based participatory research training to investigators from Yale health schools.  This training is both didactic and experiential, and includes classroom work, direct community engagement and community research mentoring from the RWJFCSP community research faculty. Participants will be known as YCCI Community Research Scholars. Six investigators have been selected for the inaugural class of YCCI Community Research Scholars. These include an MD from Pediatric Emergency Medicine and four PhDs, from Nursing, Psychiatry, and Public Health. The RWJFCSP will continue to hold six spots for Yale health campus investigators through 2015.

Research efforts

The RWJF Clinical Scholars Program has a Steering Committee on Community Projects, composed of leaders of health and community-based organizations and Yale research centers. The Committee is instrumental in identifying community research partners for research projects. Examples of projects that have been developed and implemented to address community-identified priorities include:

  • Understanding youth gun violence and gender differences in the experience of violence, performed in partnership with the New Haven Family Alliance
  • Identifying the success of health education in changing health behaviors for child-bearing women, in partnership with New Haven Healthy Start
  • Increasing access to specialty care for the uninsured in New Haven and surrounding communities, in partnership with the New Haven County Medical Association and community health providers
  • Reducing the incidence of pertussis, in partnership with the departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at the Hospital of Saint Raphael and with NetHaven.

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