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Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC)

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CIVIC Post-Doctoral Fellowship

 VA Advanced Fellowships in Health Services Research and Development

VA Portland Health Care System

Portland, Oregon

Program Description

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Portland Health Care System is one of 14 sites offering Advanced Fellowships in Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D). The goal of this national program is to provide two years of advanced interdisciplinary training to physicians, psychologists, and doctorally-prepared social scientists and nurses in research and quality improvement methods in HSR&D. VA HSR&D works to identify and evaluate innovative strategies that lead to accessible, high-quality, cost-effective care for Veterans and the nation. Upon completing this training program, some Fellows will proceed to research career development awards or positions in VA that bridge research to policy and operations.

About the Portland HSR&D Site

The VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) provides a full range of patient care services to U.S. Military Veterans; it is physically connected to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and serves as a training site for most OHSU clinical trainees. In addition, VAPORHCS has a thriving research environment, including approximately 175 funded research investigators, 550 active research protocols, and a research budget in fiscal year 2016 that exceeded $37 million in direct costs. 

Fellows will be affiliated with the Portland HSR&D Center of Innovation called the Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC). CIVIC's mission is to conduct research that empowers Veterans to improve their health by enhancing active participation of Veterans and their supports in health care. CIVIC has a specific focus on understanding and assisting patients with psychological challenges or other vulnerabilities that may impact self-management and recovery. The CIVIC currently supports 16 funded investigators who conduct qualitative and quantitative research on health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, suicide, psychiatric disorders in cancer patients, substance abuse, long-term opioid use, and traumatic brain injury, as well as health disparities, pulmonary nodules, palliative care, clinician-patient communication, and health informatics. A strength of CIVIC is the degree to which investigators are also clinicians actively working with patients and managing patient care programs. More information about CIVIC and its investigators is available at  http://www.portlandcoin.research.va.gov/.

Read about current VAPORHCS HSR&D Fellows here

Training/Experience in Research and Scholarship

HSR&D Fellows will receive specialized training and experience related to one (or more) of four unique tracks: Clinical Innovator, Research Synthesis, HSR&D Informatics, and/or Independent Investigator.

Clinical Innovator Track

Fellows on the Clinical Innovator track will develop HSR&D skills with a focus on patient safety and clinical innovation, capitalizing on opportunities at the VAPORHCS through its Northwest Innovation Center.

Research Synthesis Track

Fellows in the Research Synthesis track will focus on developing research synthesis skills under the mentorship of Portland's internationally recognized leaders in evidence synthesis; each Fellow will take the lead in developing one evidence synthesis report, may participate in other ongoing reports, and will work with leaders on the methodology around research synthesis.

HSR&D Informatics Track

Fellows in the HSR&D Informatics track will focus on developing research skills in the emerging field of clinical informatics, including the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and technology for scientific inquiry, problem solving, and decision making, to improve health services and human health.

Independent Investigator Track

Fellows on the Independent Investigator track will focus on developing, completing, and publishing the results of an independent research project in HSR&D, publishing additional manuscripts with their mentorship team, and obtaining pilot data, thus optimally positioning themselves to compete for subsequent training and research grants.

Structure of Program

Training for each track will include the following core components:

Didactic Training: Methods and content education will be obtained primarily through resources at OHSU. Fellows may receive training through the OHSU Human Investigations Program (HIP), in other OHSU graduate programs, seminar series and conferences at OHSU and VAPORHCS, guided independent study, and in methods conferences locally and nationally.

Mentorship: Fellows will receive several forms of mentorship: a faculty mentor team, a peer mentor, and group mentorship. The faculty mentor team will include a primary mentor, secondary mentor with methods and content expertise, and a local, regional or national VA operations partner mentor. Fellows will meet with their primary mentor weekly. In addition, each Fellow on the Independent Investigator track will have a peer mentor, with whom they will meet more informally. Group mentorship activities will include participation in an ongoing HSR&D junior investigator research-in-progress workshop.

Experiential Training: Each Fellow will be assigned to a primary mentor who will begin to incorporate them into their research team. Fellows will be placed with a mentor based on the Fellow's interests, their track, and the capacity of the mentor to accept a new mentee. Fellows in each track will be expected to develop and complete at least one independent project that will be summarized in a manuscript submitted for publication by the end of their Fellowship; and/or presented at a national conference; or presented to VA leadership.

Eligibility and Benefits

Candidates must be U.S. Citizens. Eligible physicians must have completed a residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical education (ACGME) or the Bureau of Professional Education (BPE) of the American Osteopathic Association; be board certified or board eligible; and have an active unrestricted U.S. medical license. Associated Health Fellows must have a doctoral degree in psychology, nursing, the social sciences, or other related fields. Though most fellows start in July or August, start dates can be flexible. The fellowship includes a competitive stipend with most federal benefits. Personal work space with office support and access to CIVIC resources will be provided.

How to Apply
Interested candidates should submit a curriculum vitae, two letters of reference and/or letters of recommendation, and a letter of interest by January 1st. The letter of interest should be 2-4 pages in length, and describe the candidate's interests and experience in health services research, their goals for the fellowship, and their desired training track. Proposed mentors, research subject areas, and research or project ideas may also be included. After initial review, references and/or letters of recommendation may be requested.

Documents may be emailed to kathleen.carlson@va.gov, or mailed to:

Linda Ganzini, MD, MPH and Kathleen Carlson, PhD
Co-Directors, VA Associated Health Fellowship Program
Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC)
VA Portland Health Care System (R&D 66)
3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road
Portland, OR  97239

For More Information
Contact Kathleen Carlson, PhD at 503-220-8262 x52094 or kathleen.carlson@va.gov.