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Four top universities launch program to train doctors and nurses to become health care researchers and leaders

U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation one of four sites for new National Clinician Scholars Program

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan, University of California Los Angeles, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University have teamed up to launch a new initiative  to educate nurses and physicians together to serve as leaders, researchers, and change agents in health care, community health and public policy.

Called the National Clinician Scholars Program, it will train scholars to lead policy-relevant research and catalyze partnerships to improve health and health care. At U-M, the program will be based in the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, and will be called the IHPI-CSP Program.

The program fills the gap left after the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced in 2014 that it will end its Clinical Scholars program for physicians. U-M has trained RWJF Clinical Scholars since 1995, and awards a master's degree in health and health care research to those who complete the program.

This new program, however, expands on the RWJF program by including nurse scientists in addition to physicians to address new and emerging issues related to health care delivery and improving the health of communities.  .

Rodney Hayward, M.D.

Dr. Hayward

“For decades, Michigan has trained some of the brightest young physicians at our Medical School to study health care from many angles, and to test new ideas for care delivery,” says Rodney Hayward, M.D., who directs the RWJF Clinical Scholars program at U-M and will direct the IHPI Clinician Scholar Program as well. “Now, working with the U-M School of Nursing, we’ll continue this commitment together with our partners at the other three institutions.”

“We’re delighted to make the new Clinician Scholars program a key part of IHPI, as it fits exceptionally well with our Institute’s focus on evaluating how health care works and how it can be improved through changes in practice and policy,” says John Z. Ayanian, M.D., MPP, IHPI’s director. “More than 45 of the 450 faculty members in IHPI are alumni of the RWJF Clinical Scholars Program, and we look forward to training the next generation of leaders in health services research.”

The VA Center for Clinical Management Research, based at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, is also a partner in the U-M program.

The new National Clinician Scholars Program will partner with organizations sponsoring a number of individual scholar positions and inter-professional training between nurses and physicians.  

Consistent with the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s “Future of Nursing” report, this new program will help to transform the health care system by providing opportunities for nurses and physicians to serve as full partners in health care redesign, improvement, and research. Fundamental elements from the RWJF program such as high-quality mentoring, a tailored curriculum, clinical work, and a national annual meeting will be 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 healthcare from different perspectives will shape the future of health and healthcare in ways not seen before.  

The program will include those who have completed their medical degree and residency training, Doctor of Nursing Practice training, or Ph.D. in nursing. Individuals selected for Cohort 2016-18 will begin the program on July 1, 2016. The new national program website at includes information for interested applicants. Applications will be accepted via .

Additionally, the program will distribute a call for applications for new sites to join the consortium after this initial year.

NCSP graphic

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