The need to understand and ultimately improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States has never been greater. The proposed program at the University of Michigan will create a unique synthesis of resources, multidisciplinary training activities, and stakeholder involvement that will prepare both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to meet the urgent challenges in health services research. The program will be an innovative partnership between the Department of Health Management and Policy (HMP) in the School of Public Health and the Center for Healthcare Outcomes &Policy (CHOP) in the Medical School. This partnership will build on the historical strengths of predoctoral training based in HMP, which has been supported by AHRQ and its predecessors for 26 years, and postdoctoral training in CHOP, which has yielded over a dozen early investigators who have gone on to acquire K awards in recent years. This partnership will integrate the complementary strengths of HMP's and CHOP's training environments. The research and training based in HMP reflects a broad public health perspective as well as a deep grounding in theories and methods from social sciences (e.g., economics, finance, sociology/organizational studies, operations research and decision science, and political science) that can be fruitfully applied to health services research. The research and training based in CHOP reflects clinical expertise (particularly in surgery and other specialties), strong partnerships with providers, health plans, and other stakeholders, and a tight focus on many of AHRQ's priority areas (costs, effectiveness, efficiency, access, safety/quality, and disparities). The program will support five predoctoral and two postdoctoral traineeship positions annually over five years. The training program focuses on four broad pedagogic competencies: 1) understanding the fundamentals of health services problems and issues;2) understanding theory and methods from social science and health science disciplines, and how they can be applied to health services issues;3) conducting health services research, both in independent, leading roles as well as supporting team-based roles;and, 4) developing oneself continuously as a health services scholar. These competencies will be instilled through multidisciplinary course work, team-based and independent research experience, mentoring of all trainees (pre- and postdoctoral) by faculty at both HMP and CHOP, and seminars and other opportunities for professional socialization and development. The performance of trainees and the program will be assessed by the Program Committee through a number of mechanisms and metrics, including external and internal feedback, and the evaluation results will be used to improve the program continuously.
The proposed program will train the next generation of researchers to address issues related to quality, safety, effectiveness, access, and costs in the health system. The program combines clinical and social science perspectives, and leverages connections to key stakeholders such as provider organizations and payers.
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