Brandeis University

Institutional Training Programs

AHRQ funds 18 institutions which recruit and train predoctoral and/or postdoctoral health services researchers. Details on characteristics of the Brandeis University program and its self-identified areas of research interest are described.


Jon Chilingerian, Ph.D.
Program Director
Schneider Institute for Health Policy
Heller School for Social Policy and Management
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
Phone: (781) 736-3828

Wendy Colnon
Predoctoral Training Program
Schneider Institute for Health Policy
Heller School of Social Policy and Management
Brandeis University
415 South Street, Mailstop 035
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
Phone: (781) 736-3964

Web site: or  

Content Areas

  • Financing and Organization of Health Care.
  • Health Care Market Reform.
  • Managed Care.
  • Priority Populations (underserved populations, older adults, racial/ethnic minorities, low-income populations).
  • Alternative Delivery Systems in Long-term Care.
  • Cost-effectiveness and Cost-benefit Analyses.
  • Appropriateness and Effectiveness of Alternative Treatments and Technologies.

Program Description

The AHRQ Doctoral Training Program in Health Services Research at the Heller School at Brandeis University prepares students to become scholars for teaching and research careers in universities, government agencies, research organizations and major service delivery systems. It has been an integral component of the Ph.D. program at the Heller School since the training grant's beginning in 1995. This program in health services research specifically focuses on how organization, management, and financing make a difference in the effective delivery of health services. In this competitive renewal, the successful leadership and program structure and content of the current AHRQ multi-disciplinary training program is maintained. The same number of pre-doctoral training slots for the next 5-year cycle is requested. Three new students enter the program each year and are typically supported for three years. Average time to completion is 5 years with nearly 100% success rates.

The AHRQ health services research training program at the Heller School embeds trainees in a rich interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for collaborations beyond traditional health services research, such as behavioral health or assets and inequality. Doctoral educational goals focus on the intersection of three domains: theory, applied research and policy. The training programs add to this intensive discipline-based mentoring, and hands-on research experience throughout the delivery system, including hospitals, multispecialty group practices, nursing home and community based organizations.

Trainees are offered a unique education at the forefront of health policy and health organizational research, focusing on the design and financing of a patient centered delivery system. They are trained to disseminate cutting-edge knowledge to policymakers, clinicians, provider organizations and managers. The progress and commitment of the current and former trainees of the Heller AHRQ Doctoral Training Program provide evidence for the success of this approach to doctoral training as we continue on a strong trajectory.

The AHRQ training grant at the Heller School, Brandeis University is focused heavily on patient centered delivery system redesign which is likely to benefit a number of population groups, including those with complex co-morbid conditions, frail elders and populations that have traditionally had limited access to mainstream providers. As these groups move through the delivery system more rationally, cost and unnecessary utilization should go down as outcomes improve leading to better quality of life, reduced bed days and hopefully slower progression of illness.

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Page last reviewed October 2014
Page originally created August 2010
Internet Citation: Brandeis University. Content last reviewed October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.