In July 2008, Johns Hopkins was awarded a postdoctoral Family Health Services Research Training Program grant. This AHRQ-NRSA training program, centered in the Department of Pediatrics, trains generalist physicians and PhDs as interdisciplinary health services researchers who are skilled in assessing the strengths and shortcomings of health policy and practice as related to family health. We propose expanding the existing program to include comparative effectiveness research (CER) training to improve the delivery and outcomes of family health services. Training will focus on health services research, evidence synthesis, analytic methods for observational research, and using patient-relevant outcomes. GOALS: The program will prepare doctorally-trained individuals, including physicians, for academic careers of scholarship in CER targeted at quality improvement, patient/family-centered care, and reducing health/health care disparities, focusing on the needs of individuals within families. Our program will 1) attract highly qualified, diverse candidates;2) assure their acquisition of core competencies in this field;and 3) guide them to post-fellowship positions that foster professional growth and application of their skills. TRAINEES: Eligible post-doctoral candidates will be US citizens or permanent residents. Physician applicants must have completed an accredited residency program and have earned a public health or similar degree;other applicants must hold a doctoral degree relevant to health services research. We will select trainees using criteria of intellectual curiosity, academic preparation, motivation to conduct comparative effectiveness research, and concordance of research interests with those of our core faculty. METHODS: The 2-year program's well-integrated learning activities will be individualized to meet each trainee's needs. Learning activities include: 1) formal coursework to complement previous training;2) seminars to address core competencies in CER;3) national meetings for networking and presentation of work;4) consistent, individualized mentoring by core faculty skilled in CER and health services research, and 5) well-developed external training experiences if needed for additional skill acquisition.
In addition to having skills to understand the determinants of health outcomes and disparities, researchers need training to test possible solutions for reducing health disparities and improving outcomes.
We aim to train investigators in the best research methods to test what interventions work to improve the quality of care, what approaches reduce disparities in health services delivery, what interventions improve patient-relevant outcomes, and how best to target services to those who will benefit most.
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