May 08, 2012
Yale’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars make a point of engaging the community in their research and making the world a healthier place.
In 1973, Yale was one of the founding sites for the nascent RWJF Clinical Scholars Program, a two-year fellowship that teaches research skills, health policy, leadership, media/communication skills, and community health. The other three sites are the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Marjorie Rosenthal, M.D., M.P.H., the program’s assistant director, said that the ideal clinical scholar candidate is someone who is interested in the interplay between research and policy. “We’re looking for people who, when they’re on rounds, are continually asking the next question,” she says. “If the patient has anemia, they’re not satisfied asking, ‘How should we treat this?’ They want to know why the patient has it; is there something about the social structure that contributed to this?”
Central to scholars’ training is the expectation that they will conduct two or more health services research projects during their fellowship and contribute to scholarship in clinical research. They are encouraged to undertake at least one project that involves primary data collection and tackle projects that use different methodological approaches. Scholars are also expected to maintain their clinical skills through interactions with patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, or affiliated clinic, hospital, or community-based health centers.