The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released a Request for Applications (RFA) inviting applications for “funding to support institutional career development awards designed to train clinician and research scientists to conduct PCOR research within learning health systems (LHS) focused on generation, adoption, and application of evidence in order to improve the quality and safety of care.” Reflecting AcademyHealth’s mission to "work together with our members to improve health and the performance of the health system," we are offering an opportunity exclusively to organizational affiliates to partner on this RFA.
Given AcademyHealth’s 35 years of experience as a convener, provider of professional development and methods workshops, and manager of several fellowships and scholarships, as well as our vast network of members and contacts, partnering with AcademyHealth can greatly enhance the strength of your proposal. Of particular relevance, AcademyHealth launched the Delivery System Science Fellowship in 2013 in partnership with several delivery system sites with the leadership of several AcademyHealth members. A recent article summarizes that program.
AcademyHealth’s expertise and competencies in the following areas are directly relevant to the principles articulated in AHRQ’s RFA and the scope of required and desired components for training the next generation of researchers to advance a learning health system:
- Developing leaders and scholars who reflect our country’s diverse population. Recognizing the need for greater diversity in the health services research (HSR) community, AcademyHealth developed a number of programs to support underrepresented racial and ethnic minority individuals in HSR, including the AcademyHealth Diversity Scholars Network and the AcademyHealth Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Minority Engagement (DIME).
- Managing competitive processes, including awards, scholarships, and fellowships. In addition to having managed the RWJF Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization research program for more than 25 years, which has solicited and awarded research grants using rigorous review criteria, AcademyHealth manages numerous national programs – including awards, scholarships, and fellowships – which require marketing, national applicant pool development, review, and selection processes (e.g. the Alice S. Hersh student scholarships).
- Creating high quality, multidisciplinary, and diverse applicant pools which are responsive to training program criteria. AcademyHealth has a demonstrated expertise recruiting top notch candidates for training and fellowship programs across a diversity of training sites, disciplines and terms. These include fellowships for in-residence training in federal agencies and health systems and serving as a partner in policy and skills development programs like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Leadership Change Programs.
- Creating networks and using technology to advance networks & communities. AcademyHealth has a long track record of success in developing learning communities and networks and has leveraged various online communities and social media to develop and nurture these. Examples include the State-University Partnership Learning Network, the AcademyHealth and ABIM Foundation Research Community on Low-Value Care, the Community Health Peer Learning Program, and the Medicaid Medical Directors Learning Network.
- Supporting curriculum development, particularly on core competencies tied to stakeholder engagement, translation and dissemination. AcademyHealth’s contributions to the RWJF Change Leadership Programs also includes support for and delivery of high quality content curriculum around communication and translation for policy impact and other core competencies. As the home for Health Services Research, AcademyHealth also regularly offers in person and online training in methods and professional skills to improve the production, dissemination and translation of health services research.
- Applying deep communications expertise. AcademyHealth has decades of experience crafting communications strategies tailored to specific audiences and purposes. For example, the RWJF Study Snapshot is designed to make research findings accessible to policy audiences.
- Supporting participatory convenings in various settings, taking advantage of regular annual meetings including the Annual Research Meeting, the Conference on Dissemination and Implementation in Health, and the Health Datapalooza. AcademyHealth is best known for its high quality major national conferences, as well as invitational meetings, workshops, and policy briefings. Our Annual Research Meeting and National Health Policy Conference are premier forums for health services researchers and health policy insiders to discuss the latest findings and their health policy implications, sharpen research methods, and network with colleagues from around the world. At our Health Policy Orientation, attendees learn the fundamentals of health policy development and implementation and gain an understanding of the Washington health policy environment and its players.
- Creating a professional home for scholars, leveraging the Annual Research Meeting as a way to facilitate the required learning collaborative across programs and networking among scholars. AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting (ARM), the premier forum for health services research (HSR), convenes the foremost experts at the intersection of health, health care, and policy to share important findings and showcase the latest research on how the health system works, what it costs, and how to improve it. The largest meeting of its kind, the ARM is packed with new research, cutting edge methods, and robust discussions of HSR’s impact on health policy and practice.
- Supporting governance and advisory bodies. AcademyHealth develops and manages numerous volunteer advisory and governance groups, including its Board of Directors and Board Committees, Steering Committees for each of its Interest Groups, three Councils – the Methods, Education, and Corporate Councils – and planning committees for each of its conferences.
- Engaging our broad network of experts and members to advise, mentor, and enrich training programs (including our Corporate, Education, and Methods Councils). We conduct mentoring, technical assistance and related programming. Examples of AcademyHealth’s expertise include facilitating the Delivery System Science Fellowship and the NCI/AcademyHealth Healthcare Delivery Research Visiting Scholars Program.
- Translating and disseminating program offerings and research findings, including through journal publications, social media and targeted stakeholder dissemination. We have deep expertise using tailored approaches for different audiences. Our Translation and Dissemination Institute undertakes activities that advance the art and science of translation and dissemination and serves as an incubator for new and innovative approaches to moving knowledge into action. Through various other funded programs, including Research Insights, we convene invitation only meetings on specific topics to bring together researchers and their intended policy audiences to discuss relevant evidence. At our annual meeting and in other venues we deliver specific training on how to communicate to policymakers and the media, and leveraging social media for impact.