Exploring HSR: SUMR 15 at The NRSA Research Trainees Conference

SUMR Blog

Exploring HSR: SUMR 15 at The NRSA Research Trainees Conference

Getting Briefed on Career Paths and Opportunities in an Era of Health Reform
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[Click images for larger] Rick Kronick, PhD, Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (above, left) opens the 21st Annual NRSA Research Trainees Conference in the Minneapolis Conference Center. Long associated with AcademyHealth, the country's largest professional organization of health services researchers, NRSA holds its day-long conference at the annual AcademyHealth Research Meeting. NRSA (National Research Service Awards) grants provide research funding for undergraduate, predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and fellows in the health services research field. This conference brings together those trainees and their mentors from across the country.
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Above, left, University of Pennsylvania/LDI Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) scholars (l to r) Mei-Lynn Hua, of the University of Texas at Austin; Sharnarra Turner of the University of Michigan; and Francisca Bermudez of Princeton University, listen intently to Kronick's explanations of AHRQ's education and training-related services. Above, right, SUMR Scholar John Gehlbach of Penn, watches the second display screen of Kronick's presentation.
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Winner of this year's AHRQ John M. Eisenberg Excellence in Mentorship Award, James Burgess, PhD, Director of the Health Economics Program at Boston University (above, left) addressed the trainees. "Health care is not just about hospitals," he said. "We're stuck in hospitals and we have to broaden our vision. You have to sit down and engage with patients, engage with their communities. He explained that he was an economist when he came into the field 25 years and quickly realized research based on a single mathematical discipline wouldn't provide effective solutions to health care's complex problems. He spent the next five years engaging with anthropologists and organizational theorists to expand his multidisciplinary skills. Above, right, SUMR Scholar Tobi Akindoju of Yale University, listens closely.
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SUMR Scholars Adjoa Mante of Princeton University and Jerome Watts of Haverford College (above, left) focus on the panel of three experts who spoke about health services research career path realities, opportunities and challenges. Panelists (above, right) are (l to r) Ming Tai-Seale, PhD, MPH, Senior Investigator for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute; Ira Moscovice, PhD, Division Head of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health; and Andrew Nelson, MPH, Executive Director for Research at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research. All three stressed the need for trainees to appreciate that today's researchers must think more intently about the relevance of the ideas they investigate and take a more direct role in the dissemination and implementation of the evidence their work ultimately produces.
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Taking notes at breakneck speed is SUMR Scholar Kelly McClure of Cornell University (above, left). Meanwhile, above, right, SUMR Scholar Anuvrat Jha of Ohio State University listens to panelist Ming Tai-Seale who told trainees "I think you will find that where your passions meet the world's needs is where you'll find the real meaning in our work. However, it's really important to have a beginner's mind and be open to things you may not have previously expected. When we get your PhD, you're certainly well trained but you can't know how your career will unfold in a field that is undergoing such broad change. One of the most important things is to be ready to enthusiastically work with people who have training and organizational mandates different from your own. Health services research has never been more about teamwork then it is today -- or will be for the rest of your careers."