A new program is being created to replace and expand upon the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program as that effort broadens its reach beyond doctors to a wider range of healthcare professionals.
The new National Clinician Scholars Program will be for physicians and nurses. It's being launched by four medical schools that have served as Clinical Scholar training sites since 2002: the University of California at Los Angeles, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.
The goal of the National Clinician Scholars Program is to inspire the health system to change from within, said Dr. Cary Gross, a professor of medicine and co-director of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program at Yale.
“Even though the foundation is moving in another direction, we thought the program was too much of an asset to go away,” Gross said. “Our hope is to not only educate the next generation of scholars, but to motivate and inspire them to creatively reshape the healthcare system. The creativity of the scholars will start driving changes that are both dynamic and meaningful.”
Dr. Carol Mangione, co-director of both UCLA's RWJF Clinical Scholars Program and the new program there, said in a release that, “This new national program that builds on the over 40-year legacy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program will create leaders and change agents with the needed skills to transform healthcare delivery and ultimately the health of our nation.”
Scholars will be called upon to identify problems and develop projects to solve them in an effort to “shape the future of health and healthcare in ways that we have not seen before,” the release stated.
The scholars program has been looking at team-based care for some time, but had remained a physician-only program. The new launch gives the sites the freedom to change that.
“With challenges come opportunities,” Gross said. “We decided that, since we were going to make a fresh start, it was a good time to reimagine and expand the program to include nurses.”
Yale has served as an RWJF Clinical Scholars training site since the program began 40 years ago. The Tampa, Fla.-based American Association for Physician Leadership, formerly American College of Physician Executives, has also been offering programs to develop and train physician leaders for 40 years.
Dr. Peter Angood, president and CEO of the AAPL, said he doesn't see the new organization as a competitor and welcomed its arrival.
“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program was a highly respected program that contributed significantly to American healthcare,” Angood said. “The announcement that UCLA is leading a group of institutions that include Yale University, the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania to launch the new National Clinician Scholars Program is an important replacement to the original concepts of the RWJF program.”
The RWJF program will be enrolling its final cohort this July. The 2015-17 class will be the last group to go through the program as it now stands. A revamped clinical scholars program will start next year with the stated goal of developing an “interprofessional group of clinicians who seek to expand their understanding of and, and influence on, the culture of health.” Along with nurses and doctors, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists and others are invited to apply for the foundation's new scholars program, expected to start in 2016.
Notable alumni of the Clinical Scholars Program include RWJF President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey; Dr. Robert Wachter, chief of the hospital medicine division at the University of California at San Francisco; Dr. David Nash, founding dean of the Thomas Jefferson School of Population Health in Philadelphia; and the late Dr. John Eisenberg, founding director of HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
A notable physician in the 2013-15 class is Dr. Lauren Hughes, a family physician and former president of the American Medical Student Association. Hughes has had articles published in JAMA and the Annals of Family Medicine this year.
Cardiologist and New England Journal of Medicine national correspondent Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum is an alumna of the 2012-14 class.
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