Stanford University, Palo Alto

Institutional Training Programs

AHRQ funds 28 institutions which recruit and train predoctoral and/or postdoctoral health services researchers. Details on characteristics of the Stanford University program and its self-identified areas of research interest are described.

School of Medicine


Douglas Owens, MD, MS
Program Director
Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (PCOR/CHP)
School of Medicine
Stanford University
117 Encina Commons
Stanford, CA 94305-6019

For more information about this program, please contact:

Christine Geibel, Coordinator
Phone: (650) 725-3389

Web site:  

Content Areas

  • Health Policy.
  • Health Economics.
  • Quality of Care.
  • Medical Informatics.
  • Clinical Epidemiology.
  • Technology Assessment.
  • Guidelines Development.
  • Evidence-based Medicine.
  • Biostatistics.
  • Primary Care.
  • Outcomes Research.

Program Description

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-supported Health Care Research and Health Policy Fellowship at Stanford is designed to provide postdoctoral trainees with the skills needed to make major contributions to academic health care research. The program draws upon Stanford's heritage of interdisciplinary health care and health policy research. Program faculty are drawn from the Schools of Medicine, Humanities and Sciences, Business, Education, and Engineering at Stanford. The program combines formal classroom instruction and research experience obtained under the close supervision of one or more faculty members.

Upon successful completion of the program, fellows will have:

  1. Acquired competence in methodological tools of health services research.
  2. Become familiar with the major current issues in health policy research.
  3. Developed the sophistication and insight to anticipate future issues.
  4. Gained a working knowledge of the institutional structures of health care.
  5. Learned to collaborate effectively with investigators whose disciplinary background differs from their own.
  6. Through firsthand experience, learned how the results of their research can be incorporated into patient care or health policy.

By the time they complete their training, fellows should be fully capable of initiating and leading research projects.

The program provides 3 years of support for postdoctoral trainees and is geared primarily toward physicians. Most physician trainees have completed their residencies, although some may elect to combine the program with subspecialty training. These trainees have the option of pursuing either a Master's degree in a field related to health care research (most obtain degrees in Health Services Research) or pursuing a Ph.D. The Master's degree requires 45 units of coursework (9 of which may be double-counted to meet other university requirements) plus a research thesis. Fellows are encouraged to average approximately half-time for research during the first 2 years of their training and full time in the third year, with allowances made for the requirements of course scheduling and sequencing.

The fellowship now includes specialization tracks with a practicum component intended to deepen trainee understanding of the ways that health services research can be used to improve medical care and health policy. The tracks include quality improvement and patient safety, evaluation of technology and medical practice, and general health services research. Practical experiences are gained by working with affiliated organizations that directly apply the results of health services research. These include the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the American College of Physicians, and Stanford-affiliated hospitals and clinics.

Nearly all graduates of the fellowship program obtain academic positions.

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Page last reviewed June 2013
Internet Citation: Stanford University, Palo Alto: Institutional Training Programs. June 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.