The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is accepting applications for the 2014–2016 Clinical Scholars-in-Residence positions through March 15, 2013. The Clinical Scholars-in-Residence Program is a two-year on-site fellowship in surgical outcomes research, health services research, and health care policy. It was initiated in 2006 for the purpose of advancing the College’s quality improvement initiatives and to offer opportunities for residents to work on the ACS quality improvement programs. More specifically, Clinical Scholars perform research and practical projects relevant to ongoing work in the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. The intent is to prepare residents for a career in academic surgery and surgical health services research.
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 Scholar-in-Residence prepare for a research career in academic surgery. ACS Clinical Scholars have worked on projects and research using data from the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program® (ACS NSQIP®), the National Cancer Data Base, and the National Trauma Data Bank® to assist in guideline development and accreditation activities. Scholars are assigned to the appropriate group within the ACS based on their interests and the College’s needs.
In addition, participants earn a master’s degree in health services and outcomes research or health care quality and patient safety at Northwestern University during their two years at ACS headquarters in Chicago, IL. 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 how these issues are addressed within institutional and health care delivery systems, as well as in the external environment that shapes health policy. 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 an Outcomes Research Course and the Clinical Trials Course.
The ACS assigns internal mentors to meet regularly with each Clinical Scholar and provides scholars with opportunities to interact with various surgeons who are affiliated with the ACS and the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. Because mentorship is one of the most important aspects of the fellowship, having guidance from multiple individuals from diverse backgrounds will provide the best opportunity for success. In addition, a core of ACS staff statisticians, research nurses, and project analysts serve as invaluable resources to the Clinical Scholars-in-Residence.
Since its inception, surgical residents from throughout the U.S., including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, and Ohio, have participated in the Clinical Scholars program. These individuals note that they have had excellent, productive experiences that have been useful in launching their careers in academic surgery. With seven scholars having already completed the program and four scholars currently participating, the residents 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 have published 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 secure prestigious fellowships in several fields, including surgical oncology, pediatric surgery, and trauma/critical care and have subsequently earned academic faculty positions and become independently funded researchers.
The 2014–2016 scholars will begin their work on July 1, 2014. Applications for these positions are due by March 15, 2013. Currently, applicants are required to have funding from their institution or other grant mechanism, although funding though the ACS is sometimes available.