Health + Behavior

National Clinician Scholars Program, co-founded by UCLA, forms partnership with VA

First cohort of nurse, physician scholars to begin in July 2016

Linda Sarna

Linda Sarna

A program launched earlier this year by UCLA and three other top research universities has formed an educational partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The partnership, between the National Clinician Scholars Program and the VA, will allow the next generation of leaders and change agents to understand and improve the health of veterans, and of the nation.

In Los Angeles, the NCSP will work with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

“Interdisciplinary collaboration among health care providers is critical to the future of quality health care and nurses are central to these efforts,” said Linda Sarna, program director for the UCLA NCSP and interim dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. “The NCSP will provide the opportunity for nurses and physicians to work together to address the critical health care challenges and promote positive patient outcomes in our diverse community.”

The NCSP, a partnership among UCLA, Yale University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania, educates doctorally prepared nurses and physicians to serve as leaders, researchers and change agents in health care, community health and public policy.

The program’s new collaboration with the VA builds upon a strong foundation: In 1978 the VA Office of Academic Affiliations, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, established the VA Advanced Fellowships Program for RWJF Clinical Scholars at selected VA medical centers.

Eight physicians and two nurses have been selected for the UCLA–Southern California Clinician Leaders Program cohort for 2016 through 2018; they will begin the program on July 1, 2016. The scholars’ bios and more information about the program are available at the NCSP website. The application cycle for the 2017–19 cohort opens in January 2016; applications will be accepted online.

Dr. Carol Mangione

The program also will distribute a call for applications for new sites to join the consortium in April 2016.

The NCSP and each of the regional programs preserve and build upon a legacy begun by the RWJF, which recently ended several human capital programs including the Clinical Scholars Program for physicians and Nurse Faculty and Executive Programs, among others. The NCSP expands on these RWJF programs by integrating innovative training of nurse and physician scientists to address new and emerging issues related to health care delivery, and to improving the health of communities.

“The National Clinician Scholars Program enthusiastically builds on the successful 40-year partnership with the VA to now enhance our collaborative leadership and research training program by joining forces with a broad array of private and public Southern California partners to create the UCLA–Southern California Clinician Leaders Program,” said Dr. Carol Mangione, co-director of the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program and of the UCLA–Southern California Clinician Leaders Program. “Our goal is to train the clinician workforce needed to address the most pressing health problems in our region.”

Consistent with recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s  2010 “Future of Nursing” report, the new program offers an interprofessional training opportunity for nurses and physicians to prepare them to serve as full partners in health system transformation through health care redesign, improvement and research. Fundamental elements from the RWJF program, such as high-quality mentoring, a tailored curriculum, clinical work, a community engagement focus and annual meetings, are retained in the new program.

At the heart of the program, partners at each institution work directly with each scholar to identify and develop projects to solve current, real-world problems and to cultivate the scholar’s unique research and leadership skills. Integration of physician and nurse researchers in training to advance the field of health care from different perspectives will shape the future of health and health care in ways that we have not seen before.

Follow the National Clinician Scholars Program on Twitter at @NationalCSP

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