This grant seeks monies over a five-year period to support eight predoctoral students per year in the Harvard University Health Policy PhD training program, a program whose goal is to train investigators in health policy and health services research, consistent with the mission of AHRQ. Our students have written dissertations on topics related to many of AHRQ's strategic research goals, including quality and patient safety, health information technology, prevention and care management, disparities, and evaluating organizational and payment interventions. The PhD program is a collaboration among six Harvard faculties and is administered by a 52-member faculty committee that is appointed by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences;the Committee is chaired by Joseph Newhouse, the Program Director for this grant. The participating faculty members for the purposes of this grant, however, are the 13 members of the Executive Committee, a subset of the 52- member Committee. We have had our current training grant since 1994 and over that time have had 85 students as AHRQ trainees. We have attracted a high quality admissions pool and have many more qualified persons who could be trainees;we have always filled our training grant slots. Our trainees have taken jobs in academia, research institutions, and government and generally have had multiple job offers. Several have won awards for their predoctoral research and also for the research and teaching after their degree;in the past ten years, five students from our program have received the Academy Health Outstanding Dissertation award (in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011). Because of intensive monitoring and advising, most of our students finish their degree in six years or less. Of the 222 students who have ever begun the PhD program, 150 have graduated and 61 are currently enrolled. Our philosophy is that the students will work as part of an interdisciplinary research team and therefore need a discipline that they bring to the team as well as an understanding of the disciplines of other team members or potential readers of their work. To implement this philosophy the students choose one of seven disciplines in which they take about half of their course work;additionally they take some course work in three other disciplines. We have a faculty member in charge of minority recruiting and have for the past several years consistently attracted qualified minority students.

Public Health Relevance

This grant seeks funds to train predoctoral students to carry out research in support of AHRQ's mission and to improve public health. Our program, which has been funded by AHRQ since 1994, has during that time produced 150 PhDs in Health Policy, 85 of whom have been AHRQ trainees. These graduates have demonstrated that the training grant has been successful in achieving its aims.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHS1-HSR-X (01))
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Benjamin, Shelley
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Harvard University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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