ACS Clinical Scholars benefit from access to outcomes measures and mentors

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) is now accepting applications for the 2017–2019 Clinical Scholars in Residence positions. 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. The program launched in 2005 for the purposes of advancing the College’s quality improvement initiatives and providing opportunities for residents to work on ACS Quality Programs. 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 program is to address issues in health care quality, health policy, and patient safety, 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 involving data culled from the ACS’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, National Cancer Data Base, National Trauma Data Bank®, Surgeon Specific Registry, and Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. The ACS Clinical Scholars have used their findings to develop practice guidelines and accreditation standards. 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 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 curriculum focuses on these issues within institutional and health care delivery systems, as well as in the external environment that shapes policies related to quality and patient safety issues. All coursework is done at Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus, one block from ACS headquarters. The ACS also offers a variety of educational programs that may benefit Clinical Scholars, including the Outcomes Research Course and the Clinical Trials Course.

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. Whereas mentorship is one of the most important aspects of this fellowship, having guidance from and interaction with multiple individuals from diverse backgrounds will provide the best opportunity for success. In addition, a corps of ACS staff statisticians and project analysts serve as invaluable resources to the ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence.

Past successes

Since its inception, surgical residents throughout the U.S., including those from California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, and Ohio, have participated in the ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence program. These individuals say that they have had excellent, productive experiences that have been useful in launching their careers in the field of academic surgery. With eight scholars already having completed the program and six scholars currently participating, the residents have demonstrated great dedication to outcomes research and quality improvement in surgical care.

The ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence have presented their findings at numerous national meeting presentations and in high-impact, peer-reviewed publications, in addition to having contributed a great deal to the ACS Quality Programs. Furthermore, scholars have gone on to gain prestigious fellowships in several fields, including surgical oncology and pediatric surgery.

Apply now

The 2017–2019 scholars will begin their work July 1, 2017. Applications for these positions are due April 1, 2016. Currently, applicants are required to have funding from their institution or other grant mechanism.

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

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