The health status of the United States is challenged:

  • Despite spending significantly more than any other developed country, the U.S. lags behind on important indicators of health, such as infant mortality and life expectancy;
  • In most states,  rates of adult obesity have increased to over 25% of the population;
  • The costs of treating chronic disease (e.g., diabetes) continue to skyrocket;
  • Disparities in access to health care services persist, as well as significant disparities in health outcomes; and
  • Health care systems—providers, hospitals, insurers, public health departments— often don’t communicate or coordinate with each other to tackle these real-time issues.

The burden of costly and preventable disease continues to grow, as well as the burden of skyrocketing health care costs on individuals, employers, and society. The nation is scrambling to identify solutions to these challenges. Adding to the complexity is the important and increasingly urgent need to address factors that contribute to poor health outside of the health care system—the social, behavioral, environmental, and biological influences on health. While the field of health services and policy research has contributed a vast evidence base, systems science (e.g., complexity science, system dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, social network analysis, discrete event simulation, microsimulation) has not been used to its potential to inform changes to the nation’s health care system. To stimulate systems science approaches to these challenges, AcademyHealth is offering travel scholarships to systems science experts.

Travel Scholarships Available:  

Academy Health awards travel scholarships for its Annual Research Meeting (ARM) and Public Health Systems Research (PHSR) Interest Group (IG) Annual Meeting.

The purpose of this scholarship is to introduce systems science methods to the health services research (HSR) community. In particular, the scholarship seeks to foster collaboration between the scholars and those in HSR who are investigating systems-level challenges related to public health.  It is hoped that these interactions will demonstrate the applicability of systems methods, while exposing more systems scientists to the challenge of transforming the U.S. health system. Ultimately, it is hoped that this scholarship will foster a synergy between these two fields so that more systems science methodologists will become actively engaged in HSR and PHSR.  


Ideal candidates will have formal training in one or more systems science methodologies (e.g., complexity science, system dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, social network analysis, discrete event simulation, microsimulation) and will have significant practical expertise in applying these methods. Experience in health or health care is not required. However, while preference will be given to applicants from outside of the health space, applicants should show an interest in understanding the complex nature of population health improvement.

Scholarship Funds:

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, AcademyHealth will provide travel funds for up to five scholars to attend the ARM and the PHSR IG Meeting. Scholarship recipients will receive a travel stipend up to $1,500 and complimentary registration. At the meetings, scholars will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend a variety of sessions in HSR, PHSR, health data and methods, data analysis, etc.;
  • Engage in networking events with researchers interested in applying systems approaches;
  • Demo the latest innovations in health data, methods, tools; and  
  • Connect with a HSR expert (“meeting mentor”) prior to the conference for assistance with navigating the agenda, identifying potential sessions of interest/importance, utilizing on-site resources, and connecting with other relevant experts.


If you need additional assistance for scholarship related questions, please contact Clare Roche or call 202-292-6788.