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UC San Francisco Medical and Nursing Schools, San Francisco VA Health Care System Join National Clinician Scholars Program

By Laura Kurtzman

UCSF Parnassus campus aerial view.

UC San Francisco is partnering with the National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP), an interdisciplinary research consortium for physicians and nurses, to drive innovation and improvements in health equity and health care.  

The NCSP is a two-year postdoctoral fellowship for nurses and physicians. The program will equip future health care leaders with the skills to reduce and eliminate health disparities in their communities, invent new models of clinical care delivery and inform policy. 

“By having the medical and nursing schools at UCSF join us, we can offer opportunities for more doctorally prepared nurses and physicians who will lead change as leaders and collaborators,” said Linda Sarna, past board chair (2016-18) for the program and dean of the UCLA School of Nursing.

The UCSF Schools of Medicine and Nursing will work with local agencies and institutions to identify regional health challenges and recruit scholars looking to address health disparities. Research projects undertaken through the program will be embedded in, and informed by, the community so that scholars will be able to make a meaningful impact, even as they receive their education. 

UCSF School of Medicine Dean Talmadge E. King, Jr. sitting in his office.
Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine. 

“As an NCSP partner, we look forward to offering a tailored training to create change agents able to conduct policy-relevant research and become leaders who will improve health and healthcare,” said UCSF School of Medicine Dean Talmadge E. King, Jr. “As a public institution with deep ties to the community, UCSF has invested in developing ongoing partnerships with community-based organizations, community-based health care providers, and the public health delivery system. We are honored to partner with the NCSP to provide invaluable opportunities for clinicians to assume leadership roles in academia, health systems, government, and community-based organizations.”

Community-embedded projects make up the core of the two-year training experience. But scholars will also take part in an innovative curriculum to build a robust set of skills in organizational and social change, applied translational research methodology, community engagement, program development and evaluation, team management, communication, and leadership.

Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of UCSF School of Nursing. 

“We are pleased to partner with the NCSP program, bringing our unique blend of resources to the preparation of scholars dedicated to transforming the delivery of health care,” said UCSF School of Nursing Dean Catherine L. Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN. “UCSF is committed to advancing improvements and innovation in health care and health policy to improve the quality of life. Never has there been more opportunity to introduce positive change.”

The other sites partnering with the NCSP are UCLA, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan and Duke, and their affiliated Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is a strong community partner for the NCSP and supports numerous VA NCSP scholars each year. These scholars are committed to addressing health and policy issues relevant to veterans and reflecting priority areas in the Department of Veterans Affairs. As part of their fellowships, scholars will have the opportunity to conduct clinical work, research, and apply for policy internships. With the addition of UCSF, the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) will join the consortium.

“The SFVAHCS is thrilled to be playing a major role in the NCSP,” said Carl Grunfeld, MD, PhD, the associate chief of staff for research and development at the SFVAHCS and Professor of Medicine at UCSF. “We look forward to working with scholars and sharing with them the exceptional experience, resources and programs we have in research and quality improvement."

Since its inception, the NCSP has accepted 128 scholars. The first cohort finished in June 2018. Applications for all sites will open May 1, 2019.

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals – UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the SF VA Medical Center. The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program is a major branch of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.