The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is accepting applications for the 2015–2017 Clinical Scholars in Residence positions. The Clinical Scholars in Residence Program is a two-year on-site fellowship in surgical outcomes, health services, and health care policy research. The program began in 2005 to advance the College’s quality improvement initiatives and to offer unique opportunities for residents to work on ACS quality improvement programs. More specifically, Clinical Scholars perform research relevant to ongoing projects in the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care.
About the program
The primary objective of the fellowship is to address issues in health care quality, health policy, and patient safety, with the goal of helping the Clinical Scholars in Residence prepare for a research career in academic surgery. The ACS Clinical Scholars have worked on projects and research within the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), the National Cancer Data Base, and the National Trauma Data Bank®. They also have played a role in guideline development and institutional accreditation programs. Scholars are assigned to the appropriate area within the ACS based on their interests and the College’s needs.
In addition, during their two years at the ACS headquarters in Chicago, IL, participants earn a master’s degree in health services and outcomes research or health care quality and patient safety. The goal of this aspect of the program is to educate clinicians to become effective health services and outcomes researchers. The health services and outcomes research curriculum focuses on these issues in institutional and health care delivery systems, as well as the external environment that shapes health policy centered on quality and safety issues.
The program takes approximately two years to complete. All coursework is done at Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus, one block from the ACS headquarters. The ACS also offers a variety of educational programs that may benefit Clinical Scholars, including Outcomes Research and the Clinical Trials Methods courses.
The ACS assigns internal mentors to meet regularly with each Clinical Scholar. Scholars also have opportunities to interact with various surgeons who are affiliated with the ACS and the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. Mentorship is one of the most important aspects of this fellowship. Guidance and interaction with multiple individuals from diverse backgrounds will provide the best opportunity for success. In addition, a core of ACS staff statisticians and project analysts serve as invaluable resources to the Clinical Scholars in Residence.
Surgical residents from throughout the U.S., including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, have participated in the ACS Clinical Scholars program since its inception. These individuals report that they have had excellent, productive experiences that have launched their careers in academic surgery. Six scholars have already completed the program and six scholars currently are participating. The ACS Clinical Scholars have demonstrated great dedication to outcomes research and the improvement of the quality of surgical care.
The ACS Clinical Scholars have presented their findings at numerous national meetings and in high-impact, peer-reviewed publications, in addition to having contributed a great deal to the ACS quality improvement programs. Furthermore, scholars have gone on to gain prestigious fellowships in several fields, including surgical oncology, trauma surgery, and pediatric surgery.
The 2015–2017 scholars will begin their fellowship on July 1, 2015. Applications for these positions are due April 11, 2014. Currently, applicants are required to have funding from their institution or other grant mechanism, although funding though the ACS may become available in the future.