UCLA's Department of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, in collaboration with RAND Health, the Schaeffer Center for Health Economics at the University of Southern California, and the Veterans Administration Center of Excellence for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior, proposes the renewal of its pre- and postdoctoral training grant, which has had an outstanding record of producing the next generation of scholars over the past 20 years. The primary goal of this collaboration, called the Los Angeles Area Health Services Research Training Program, is to provide comprehensive training and experience to highly-qualified pre- and postdoctoral trainees, so that they may effectively engage in, and eventually lead, research and implementation activities aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of the U.S. health care system. Taking advantage of the expertise of faculty and researchers - over three dozen of whom have agreed to be mentors - at these institutions as well as a track-record of community involvement in the Los Angeles area, the Training Program focuses on several key research topics in which the collaboration has particular expertise: health systems change; health equity; health services outside the clinic; implementation science; patient, provider, and organizational decision-making; and health outcomes measurement. Pre-doctoral trainees will complete the Ph.D. curriculum and requirements in the UCLA Department of Health Policy and Management. The Ph.D. program in is designed to provide high-level methodological skills and applied training, with depth in study design and evaluation, statistics/econometrics, and applications to the health care sector. Moreover, each student is required to choose a cognate (examples include economics, sociology, public policy, organizational behavior, and health care outcomes research) in which they take additional courses that develop competencies in cognate-related theory, conceptual models and research methods. The postdoctoral program will provide individualized training plans for postdoctoral trainees. Unlike many such programs in the sciences, trainees are not assigned to work on particular projects. Upon entry into the program, they meet individually with key faculty involved in the Training Program at the four collaborating institutions, so that they can learn about the opportunities in each institution and choose appropriate mentors and projects. During their postdoctoral experience, they collaborate with the program's faculty and researchers, develop their own research, submit journal articles, and write grant proposals to help facilitate their move to their next professional position.
There is a shortage of highly trained professionals in the field of health services research, and, historically many of those trained have not benefited from a truly multidisciplinary perspective. The Research Program forges an alliance between the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, RAND Health, and relevant divisions at the University of Southern California and the Veterans Administration, to help train the workforce needed to tackle these key societal problems.
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