About the program

The goal of the PROgRESS program is to foster training of the next generation of learning health system scientists to advance and improve population health. The program will focus on three inter-related interdisciplinary areas for training:
  • PCOR - Patient-Reported Data/Outcomes; Health Behaviors/Health Communication; Comparative Effectiveness Research; Pragmatic Clinical Trials
  • Implementation Science - Process of Care; Quality Measure and Improvement; Implementation Science; Dissemination and Sustainability
  • Health Policy and Community Health - Health Policy, Value and Payment; Community Based Participatory Research; Community Engaged Research; Social and Environmental Determinants of Health; Health Care Utilization, Variation, and Quality
The PROgRESS program will have three components tailored to the scientific background, interests, and needs of the trainee: 
  1. Didactics, including coursework in advanced methods including implementation science and an option to enroll in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program for those with no prior formal training in the core disciplines of the PROgRESS program.
  2. Formal interdisciplinary mentorship and development activities designed to prepare trainees to compete for extramural funding and a competitive academic research career in learning health systems science
  3. A closely-mentored research project.
Scholarship Oversight Committee

With program faculty support, each PROgRESS trainee will identify a primary mentor after beginning the program. A Scholarship Oversight Committee (SOC) will be formed by the program, tailored specifically to each trainee’s individual career goals, research interests, and methodologic needs. Each SOC will be comprised of experienced mentors from each of four areas:

  1. PCOR Mentors are proficient in patient centered outcomes research,
  2. Implementation Mentors have methodological expertise in those aspects of implementation and dissemination science relevant to each trainee
  3. Health Policy/Community Mentors are leaders who can advise on policy integration and strategies to improve the health of the community in the trainee’s topic area and context.
  4. Content/Operational Mentor with expertise in the trainees scientific area and can facilitate integration into the health system.
Individualized Career Development

As trainees develop an individualized career development plan with their SOC, they will create an associated training timeline with milestones to enable assessment of progress and achievement of learning objectives. All trainees will be required to work with their primary mentor and SOC to prepare a minimum of 1 manuscript or program evaluation amenable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. 

Didactic Education

The PROgRESS Program trainees will participate in the Implementation Science and Measurement and Analysis for Healthcare Improvement under the MPH program. Completion of these courses will allow trainees to achieve many of the PROgRESS competencies, and to become well versed in the learning Health system research methods at the core of their learning objectives. In addition, scholars will also attend the Work in Progress Seminars, Center for Clinical Quality & Implementation Research Scholarly Series, Edge for Scholars seminars for career development awardees, and additional selected departmental or research training workshops. Trainees who need foundational research training will have the opportunity to matriculate in the Vanderbilt Masters of Public Health Program, which offers tracks in epidemiology, health policy and global health. Additionally, Vanderbilt offers a variety of didactic learning opportunities spanning health services research, behavioral science, biostatistics, biomedical informatics, grant writing, and leadership skills to support individual trainees needs. 


The primary experiential learning activity and a critical component of training is the performance of a mentored research project, designed to lead to increasing independence as a LHS researcher. Trainees work with their primary mentor in the conception, design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of the findings of the project. Trainees will consult with their SOC, the methods lead, and each mentors statistical support team multiple times during the conduct of their proposal. This collaboration will ensure comprehensive design and analysis principles are followed. Trainees will use the principles of research rigor and reproducibility to lead the process of study design, measure selection, subject recruitment, data collection, analysis, and interpretation

Dedicated Career Development Time 

Trainees are required to devote at least 40 hours per week of professional effort toward developing an academic career in implementation research. The planned period of mentored research support is up to 3 years for each trainee, though some trainees may progress more quickly and transition to an extramural K award after 1-2 years.