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/patient reported outcomes; (including methods related to measurement, implementation); Health Behaviors/Health Communication; Comparative effectiveness research and Pragmatic Clinical Trials
  • Implementation Science- Process of Care; Quality measure and improvement; Implementation Science; Dissemination and Sustainability
  • Community and Health Policy- 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 3 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 the three methodologic 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.


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 review journal. 


Didactic Education

The PROgRESS Program scholars will participate in Implementation Science Coursework under the MPH program. Specific topics of concentration will include patient outcomes and satisfaction; analytics in public health, and health policy; and predictive analytics in healthcare. Completion of the Implementation Science coursework (either separately or as part of an MPH degree) will be required for all trainees in their first year of training. 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 Works in Progress Seminars, Translational Bridge Seminars, Center for Clinical Quality & Implementation Research Scholarly Series, Vanderbilt's Elliot Newman Society activities for career development awardees, and additional selected departmental or research training workshops. Scholars 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 Scholar needs. On average, didactic coursework will comprise an estimated 20% of each Scholar's time commitment.



The primary experiential learning activity and a critical component of Scholars’ training will be the performance of a mentored implementation research project. Each Scholar will work with his or her RAC in the design, performance, analysis, and interpretation of the research project. Scholars are expected to lead the process of study design, measure selection, subject recruitment, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. All Scholars are expected to fulfill a minimum of one research project during their training. The mentored research project will typically begin in Scholars’ first year and continue through their 2-3 year period of support. The program offers a diverse clinical laboratory for implementation research that spans academic, community, inpatient, outpatient, adult, and pediatric settings.


Dedicated Career Development Time 

Scholars 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 Scholar, though some Scholars may progress more quickly and transition to an extramural K award after 1-2 years.