Skip to main content

VA Advanced Fellowship in Health Services Research


Program Description

Building Research Investigator Trainee Experiences (BRITE-IDEAS) is an interprofessional post-graduate fellowship program. The mission of the program is to develop future VA leaders in health services research (HSR) and to support trainees to achieve independent research careers through mentorship, career development, and experiential learning that focuses on the core competencies of a Learning Healthcare System (LHS). Our vision is for a community of mentors, graduates, and trainees in HSR, with the research, leadership, and mentoring skills necessary to cultivate ongoing generations of VA scientists who constantly strive to improve the quality of delivery of care to our Veterans. It is a 2-year paid full-time position under the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA). 

Utah Campus winter

About Salt Lake City

Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the West. Salt Lake and its surrounding cities are renowned for the beautiful backdrop of the Wasatch Range Mountains. The outdoor recreational activities are endless, from world-class skiing, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, climbing…you name it! It is also near many state and national parks. There is something to enjoy during each season. In addition to the natural playground, Salt Lake is also a great location for urban enthusiasts. The thriving downtown area offers local shops, restaurants, festivals, concerts, and other activities. The neighborhoods in the Salt Lake Valley are diverse with unique quirks. There is also a newly expanded international airport, robust mass transit system, bike and scooter sharing systems, and designated bike lanes making it easy to get around and explore. If you are a sports fan, it is also home to the Utah Jazz, Real Salt Lake, and many college teams. Salt Lake City has it all. It is a great place to work, live, and play.

About the HSR&D Site

The fellowship is located at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System (VASLCHCS) . It is affiliated with the University of Utah and the VA Informatics, Decision-Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences (IDEAS) Center. The mission of the IDEAS Center is to advance scientific discovery, implement novel interventions, promote cross-center collaboration, increase research capacity, and engage Veterans and operational partners to improve Veteran health. IDEAS seeks to drive the transformation or health care delivery in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) through an integrated portfolio of transitional research, specifically to apply qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry to elicit stakeholder perspectives, characterize clinical gaps, and identify information needs.

VASLCHCS has the environment, leaders, and academic, operational, and collaborative partners to train and mentor fellows for a future in VA of cutting-edge research, interprofessional collaboration, and first-class scholarly productivity focused on VA health care delivery. It has a robust interprofessional learning environment and wealth of educational resources and expertise. Our unique strengths include: 1) exceptional clinical learning environment 2) rich and diverse research programs and partners 3) extraordinary research and educational resources available 4) outstanding and committed academic affiliate. VASLCHSC hosts 5 different VA OAA fellowships, giving fellows the opportunity to connect with a wide range of mentors, collaborators, and other fellows.

Curriculum and Learning Environment

The fellowship features a national curriculum for health services research in a LHS, individualized research project development resulting in scholarly products, outstanding mentoring by accomplished local investigators and leaders, and a strong track record of training new scientists. There are specialized tracks for Policy & Health Services Methods, Implementation Science, and Informatics. Career Development Plans (CDP) will be used to individualize the curriculum, guiding the selection of objectives relevant to each fellow’s goals, and to assess fellow progress toward each core competency. The BRITE-IDEAS curriculum uses 3 pivotal conceptual models: LHS, Communities of Practice, and Cognitive Science. These models inform the intersection between complex health systems and training in HSR. Educational activities and strategies will include formal instructional methods (i.e. didactics, assignments, group discussions), experiential learning, mentoring, learning through self-reflection, and an assessment process. Click here for more details.

HSR Fellowship Overview Image

Salary and Benefits

The fellowship includes a competitive stipend with federal employee health benefits. Salary is commensurate to experience and is similar to NIH (scientists) and postgraduate year (clinician) scales. Personal workspace with office support and access to IDEAS resources will be provided.

Eligibility and Application Process

Applicants must be US citizens. Clinical (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers) and non-clinical associated health professionals (e.g., epidemiologists, data scientists, population health scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, health economists) with doctoral degrees or nearing the end of their doctoral training are eligible to apply. Master’s degrees are considered on a case-by-case basis. The application process requires a CV, cover letter, and two letters of recommendations (at least one from an individual that knows your academic performance well, including any research experience).  For a full list of eligibility requirements or more information about the program, please contact Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.