ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence Program: Celebrating 10 years of training surgeons

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is now accepting applications for the 2016–2018 Clinical Scholar in Residence positions, and celebrating the tenth year of this well-recognized program. The ACS 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 2005 to advance ACS quality improvement initiatives and to offer opportunities for residents to work on these programs and do related research. More specifically, ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence 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, patient safety, and health policy, with the goal of helping the ACS Clinical Scholar in Residence prepare for a research career in academic surgery. The ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence have worked on projects and research within the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, the National Cancer Data Base, the National Trauma Data Bank®, the Surgeon Specific Registry, the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, measure and guideline development initiative, and accreditation programs. 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 from Northwestern University during their two years at the 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 with a strong fundamental knowledge of research methods. The health services and outcomes research curriculum focuses on these issues within institutional and health care delivery systems, as well as in external environments that shape health policy centered on quality and safety issues. The program takes approximately two years to complete. All coursework is done at Northwestern University’s Chicago campus, one block from the ACS headquarters. The ACS also offers a variety of educational programs that may benefit the Clinical Scholars, including Outcomes Research and Clinical Trials courses.

The ACS assigns internal mentors to meet regularly with each ACS Clinical Scholar in Residence. 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 and Northwestern staff statisticians and project analysts serve as invaluable resources to the ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence.

Past successes

Surgical residents from throughout the U.S. have participated in the ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence program. These individuals report excellent, productive experiences that have been useful in launching their careers in the field of academic surgery. Eleven scholars have already completed the program, and six scholars are currently participating, with three more beginning in July 2015. The ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence have demonstrated great dedication to outcomes research and the improvement of the quality of surgical care.

The ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence have presented their findings at numerous major national meetings and published in high-impact, peer-reviewed publications, including several recent publications, in the Journal of the American Medical Association and other top surgical journals. In addition, the scholars contribute a great deal to the ACS quality improvement programs. Scholars have gone on to attain prestigious fellowships in several fields and faculty positions in academic surgery.

Apply now

The 2016–2018 scholars will begin their work on July 1, 2016. Applications for these positions are due April 3, 2015. Currently, applicants are required to have funding from their institution or another grant mechanism.

For more information about the program and the application requirements, visit the ACS website, or send an e-mail to


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