2016 Summer Intramural Fellowship Program

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is soliciting applications for time-limited Fellowship opportunities.

Position Title: Junior Service Fellow (multiple positions)
Open Period: February 22, 2016 – March 9, 2016
Position Information: Temporary, Full Time, Not To Exceed 89 Days
Salary Level: $25.60
Duty Location: Rockville, MD
Who May Apply: United States Citizens

Job Summary

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a component of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is soliciting applications for time-limited Fellowship opportunities. AHRQ's mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable and to work with the HHS and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

Fellowship Program Description

The AHRQ Intramural Fellowship Program provides opportunities for individuals to work with leading health services researchers in the conduct and support of research on "real life" issues that support the Agency's mission and contributes to improvements in health care. Fellows are also afforded the opportunity to work with administrative protocols, gain access to AHRQ-sponsored data sets, and apply statistical analysis methods to broaden the Fellow’s understanding of health services research and the Agency’ effect on the health care system.

Junior fellows are generally involved as part of a team responsible for conducting research and performing research-related activities. At this level, research studies generally have clear and specific objectives and involve investigations having a limited number of variables and self-directed work in planning and carrying out research activities.

Topics for research projects include:

  • Work with staff in the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (CQuIPS) Quality and Disparities Report team on chart books scheduled for release during the summer: Person-Centered Care, Care Coordination, or Effective Treatment. The project may also produce an abstract or research paper.
  • Work with staff in CQuIPS to support the use of the online version of AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) administrative inpatient data to compare frequencies, demographic characteristics, inpatient outcomes and costs for patients with ischemic strokes, subarachnoid hemorrhages, and other hemorrhagic strokes. The Fellow could be involved in literature searches analyzing aggregate data, and helping to write manuscripts. Involvement in the clinical, analytical, methodological, and or presentation-related aspects of the project would depend on his/her background, interests, and career goals.
  • Work with staff in the Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets (CDOM) to conduct research to examine relations between hospitals and external service area providers for reducing hospital readmissions and admissions for ambulatory sensitive conditions (ACSs) in an all-payer, global budget environment. The Fellow will assist in preliminary analyses of ACSs using HCUP data on Prevention Quality Indicators.
  • Work with staff in CDOM using SAS run regressions in Stata to examine the impact of systems, Accountable Care Organizations, etc., on hospital quality indicators and readmissions in CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) data.
  • Work with staff in the Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends (CFACT) to compare MEPS (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey) data to CMS Medicare and Medicaid claims to better understand household underreporting of health care use and underrepresentation of high expenditure cases. The objectives will be as follows: reassess the validity of household reporting of health care use in the MEPS by Medicare beneficiaries using more current data; assess the validity of household reporting of health care use in the MEPS by Medicaid recipients; quantify the extent of underrepresentation in the MEPS of high expenditure populations covered by Medicare and Medicaid; identify populations most at risk of underrepresentation in the MEPS; refine methods to adjust MEPS data to align better with aggregate spending estimates for the purposes of health policy analyses and simulations.
  • Work with staff in CFACT to determine the effect of prevention provisions on the use of health care services. The focus will be on whether the use of preventive care services increases in comparison to the health care services for which the price did not change.
  • Work with staff in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement (CEPI) to review primary care research literature and general conceptual models of primary care research, to compile a list of federal data sources of potential in supporting primary care research, to review each data source and identify variables of interest to primary care research, and to conduct one or more analyses.
  • Work with staff in CEPI to establish methods for eliciting patient perspectives.  This project will sample online communities, blogs, and chat rooms where patients are discussing among themselves what their concerns are, and will pilot a method of using on-line patient discussions to identify patient perspectives for Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) reports and assess the effectiveness of this proposed approach for eliciting input and the feasibility of supplementing current methods with an Internet-based approach.  The final report will include a summary of methodology used, assessment of effectiveness, and recommendations for future EPC reports.
  • Work with staff in CEPI to assist in developing a system to identify and document case studies of how past EPC reports have been used, by whom, and what impact they are having on decisionmaking and patient outcomes.
  • Work with staff in CEPI to write a paper evaluating the barriers and facilitators to the utilization of systematic reviews in health care decisionmaking.  This project would build on a literature review that summarizes what is already known and would involve interviewing a sample of current and potential end-users of EPC systemic review evidence reports to elicit feedback on how content, structure and evidence tables in the EPC products either facilitate or discourage their use in clinical practice guidelines development, clinical and policy decisions. The resulting paper will serve as a resource for AHRQ to improve product development and dissemination strategies.
  • Work with staff in CEPI to assist with a project that is being developed that will help primary care teams create, with patients with multiple chronic conditions and their families, meaningful and achievable care plans that improve health, optimize the use of resources, and increase patient and clinician satisfaction. This project will assist in conducting a literature review to identify what is already being done in this area and by whom.

Qualification Requirements

Only U.S. citizens or citizens who have gained U.S. citizenship through naturalization may be considered. Applicants who are non-immigrant visa holders or immigrant green card holders (i.e., permanent residents) are ineligible for consideration. Successful applicants should possess an advanced degree (a master’s degree or higher level degree) with a concentration in health services research, health policy (e.g., public health, economics, sociology, biostatics, epidemiology, or political science), or a health-related or research field. In addition, applicants should possess and be able to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of research, statistics, and scientific terminology and an ability to communicate information orally and in writing.

Junior Fellows will be assigned a senior-level researcher, who will provide guidance and direction regarding the assigned research projects as well as the principles and protocols that guide the conduct of health services research. Additionally, the senior-level researcher will establish a curriculum for the Fellow to ensure a successful experience with the Agency. The curriculum will include, but is not limited to:

  • Identification of background materials relevant for research assignments to ensure the Fellow’s success.
  • Attendance at Agency seminars and brown bag lectures and external experiences to clarify the Agency’s role in the field of health services research and the broader health care community.
  • Information regarding the Agency’s programs, vision, and activities to fully understand AHRQ’s research endeavors and goals.

* This Fellowship opportunity does not convey any Federal benefits due to the temporary nature of the appointment, and travel and relocation and housing expenses will not be paid.

Evaluation Method

Applicants who meet the qualification requirements described above will be further evaluated by determining the extent to which their work or related experience, education, training, etc., demonstrate that the applicant possesses the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities associated with the Fellowship assignment.

Application Procedures

Applicants should submit the following documentation:

  • Résumé articulating relevant experience including amount of hours and the month and year the experience was gained.
  • Unofficial transcripts documenting educational experience (official transcripts will be required if selected for this opportunity).
  • Proof of citizenship to include a copy of birth certificate, passport, or naturalization paperwork

Application materials must be sent to: summer.interns@ahrq.hhs.gov

Applications must contain all of the documentation cited above and be submitted by the closing date to be considered.

Questions may be referred to:

Karen Webb
301-427-1516

AHRQ provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and/or hiring process, please contact the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at 301-496-6301. The decision on granting a reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

Additional information regarding the Agency and its activities may be obtained by visiting our Web site at www.ahrq.gov.

 

AHRQ Is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Page last reviewed March 2016
Internet Citation: 2016 Summer Intramural Fellowship Program. March 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/cpi/about/careers/summerfellows.html