United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence Based Practice

Associated Health Postdoctoral Fellowship

The VA HSR&D Associated Health Postdoctoral Fellowship is a core training program of the VA HSR&D Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice at the Indianapolis VAMC, a close partner of the Regenstrief Institute, Inc. (http://www.regenstrief.org/)  and Indiana University School of Medicine.

Program Goals: The goal of the Indianapolis VA Associated Health HSR&D fellowship training program is to prepare graduates for careers in health services, implementation and operations research, with particular research skills in the areas of redesigning and transforming healthcare delivery. VA’s Associated Health HSR&D fellowship provide opportunities using VA’s internationally recognized quality improvement and medical informatics infrastructure and our research faculty and campus partners to provide outstanding training opportunities and to contribute to the improvement of clinical and management practice, scholarly pursuit of quality improvement, and Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) recruitment and retention of health services and implementation researchers.

The Indianapolis VA Associated Health HSR&D fellowship will train post-doctoral scientists and health care professionals from a variety of disciplines, including clinical disciplines (such as nursing, pharmacy, social work, physical and occupational therapy, etc), behavioral, social, engineering, informatics or other scientists to (1) understand basic health services and implementation research methods; (2) understand health services research in great detail; (3) extract, analyze, and interpret information, both clinical and patient-centered, from electronic medical records and directly from patients; (4) develop, carry out, analyze, and report the results from a prospective research project; and (5) develop productive careers in academic medicine and/or serving the VA.

Each fellow will select a primary mentor, who along with the fellow, will create a Mentor Panel of content and methodologic experts from our Center, the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indiana University School of Medicine or IUPUI, that will meet at least quarterly to assess the fellow's progress in attaining his or her research goals.

Program Overview: The fellowship provides two years of research and educational learning opportunities.  Fellows spend their time in research and educational activities relevant to the VA.  Mentors of national stature provide guidance to fellows in rich learning environments.

Curriculum:  The two-year curriculum includes an orientation to VA, a general research methodology, written and oral communication skills, and implementation science. There are opportunities to pursue more intensive training in areas such as: health services research, implementation science, operations research, decision science, system redesign, clinical information systems, decision support, evidence based medicine, organizational behavior and change management, clinical bioinformatics, computer science, health services research, research methods, and project management through Indiana University and Purdue University. In addition, the curriculum includes such content areas as quality improvement methods, leadership skills, patient safety, organizational change, leadership and other areas of significant interest to VHA. 

Fellows:  Physician fellows shall spend at least 75 percent of their time on projects and training related to health services and implementation research and no more than 25 percent in clinical care, teaching or administration. Associated Health fellows may spend up to 25 percent of their time in clinical care, if appropriate to their background. Fellows are expected to develop and implement a HSR&D research project and submit at least one (preferably more) manuscript(s) to a peer-reviewed journal. As a result of their work, they should accomplish at least one of the following: lead interprofessional teams, present at one or more national meetings and/or actively participate in and contribute to organizational change initiatives at the Roudebush VAMC.

Preceptors (mentors):  In order to select relevant projects to improving health care, fellows are encouraged to meet with institutional leaders within our VAMC and senior Center faculty. Fellows are to develop individualized learning plans in collaboration with their preceptors (mentors). Mentors should provide assistance with project and research methodology and content, as well as guidance in personal and professional development.  For these reasons, several mentors are often needed.   These individuals are expected to meet regularly with the fellows to assess their progress, serve as role models, and provide constructive feedback and assistance in meeting the fellows’ goals.  Mentors are expected to participate in formative and summative evaluation of fellows and the fellowship program.

Project:  All fellows will participate in at least one research project to which they make a substantive, independent, and identifiable contribution. The topic of the project should be of direct relevance to VHA's mission, although VA medical facilities do not necessarily have to be the sole sites of the research.

Career Development Award:  All fellows should develop a VA and/or NIH Research Career Development Award during their fellowship, working closely with their mentorship panel.  See Gill, T.M., McDermott, M.M., Ibrahim, S.A., Petersen, L.A., Doebbeling, B.N.  Getting Funded: Career Development Awards for Aspiring Generalist Investigators.  J Gen Intern Med 19:472-478, 2004.

Seminars and Lectures:  Fellows are expected to attend weekly research seminars at the VA HSR&D Center of Excellence and the Regenstrief Institute. Faculty scientists present their research at the weekly seminars, which provides an outstanding forum for interdisciplinary learning and dialogue on the latest methods and topics related to health services research, implementation sciences, geriatrics, and other related disciplines. Fellows are expected to present their research findings at our VA Center works-in-progress seminar and/or the Regenstrief Institute seminar at least once each year during the fellowship training program.

All VA post-doctoral fellows will be encouraged to complete the “Implementation Research” course during their fellowship and the Patient Safety (SPEA-H 615, PBHL-H 615, and School of Nursing J 692).  

Master of Science in Clinical Research:  Post-doctoral fellows with limited research experience or training have the opportunity to complete a Masters of Science in Clinical Research through the Clinical Investigator Training Enhancement (CITE) Program.  The CITE program is a K-30 funded grant through the National Institute of Health and prepares health care professionals for a career in clinical research.  Following completion of this program, graduates can embark on a career in clinical research with the skills necessary to successfully compete for grant funding, conduct and analyze research findings, and publish their work in scientific journals. 

Eligibility and Application:  Interested candidates should: 1) be a US citizen; 2) have completed clinical training terminal degree (e.g., nursing, pharmacy, etc) or a PhD in computer science, medical informatics, decision science, economics or related fields, and 3) Demonstrate a special interest in implementation and health services research.

Interested candidates must submit a cover letter describing their research interests, fellowship goals and career goals, curriculum vitae and three letters of recommendation.

Contact Information

Richard Frankel, PhD




Matthew Bair, MD





Mail to:

HSR&D Center of Excellence

Roudebush VA Medical Center

c/o Kathy Carlson

1481 W. 10th Street, 11H

Indianapolis, IN  46202-2884


In accordance with Federal law, the VA HSR&D Center of Excellence and IU School of Medicine do not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or disability in admission to, access to, or treatment in the Fellowship Programs.

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