INSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
INSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Instruction and Development is based on a multidisciplinary developmental approach to population health. The program's content lies within the three sides of a triangle, each representing interactions among
(a) the social, economic, and physical contexts in which human populations exist (b) those individual and collective behaviors implicated in health and disease, and (c) aspects of vulnerability and resistance driven by human biology (including genetics)
This triangular territory is defined not so much by the points, but by the sides depicting the interactive conjunctions among context and behavior, behavior and biology, and biology and context.
Structured seminars offer scholars an overview of the determinants of health, in-depth exposures to relevant research, and sustained experiences in an interdisciplinary research environment. Scholars will have some shared core course experience, coupled with an individualized curriculum oriented around the scholar's specific educational background and professional goals.
Two seminars and one ten-week course on the "Responsible Conduct of Research" constitute the core aspects of our curricular plan.
Core Curriculum (required of all scholars)
The core curriculum at the UCSF-UCB Health & Society Scholars program is limited to one on-going session per week. This session includes the Health & Society Research Seminar and the Scholars Workshop.
1. In the Health & Society Research Seminar, scholars meet faculty who will discuss their own disciplinary perspective and what, in their discipline, would be helpful in understanding determinants of health. This will expose scholars to a range of perspectives and research methods, and will build an understanding of what each offers the field. The presentations will be organized around the conceptual model, with each presentation explicitly linked to the part of the model in which the faculty member is working (e.g. is this someone working only on a behavioral or contextual determinant, or on the intersection of context and behavior?) The presentations will be planned to take a life-course perspective, and will be grouped according to the point in the life cycle in which the research is focused.
2. In the Scholars Workshop, scholars present works-in-progress (e.g., articles, policy analyses, grant applications, conference posters or presentations) and receive input from faculty and scholars. This will provide both an opportunity for receiving helpful critiques and suggestions and experience in providing constructive feedback, an important skill for teaching and collaboration.
3. Scholars will also take "Responsible Conduct of Research", a one-quarter course addressing the foundations of ethical research practices and covering topics such as: publication practices, data management, authorship, conflicts of interest, intellectual property, human subjects review, scientific misconduct and professional development.
Additional seminars, courses, workshops, and modules
A member of the Program Leadership Committee and a faculty mentor will meet with each scholar to determine what other training opportunities would be appropriate. Depending on the research experience of the scholar, he or she may want to take a formal research methods course, or substantive courses/seminars to deepen understanding of the health problem, population, or contributing factor on which they are particularly focused.
Three types of working research relationships underpin and ensure the success of each scholar's research experience during the two program years. First and most centrally, each scholar will be asked to identify faculty mentors (1 research and 1 career) from the program faculty list. These mentors can come from any of the core faculty or affiliated faculty. Scholars can also bring in other faculty to be their mentors (as long as there is at least one RWJ affiliate faculty as a mentor). The selection of the mentor and the negotiation of expectations surrounding the scholar's planned work with the mentors will be facilitated and guided by a member of the Program Leadership Committee. Preparation for the mentoring relationship will begin in the Spring at the annual meeting, where the incoming scholars will receive information on how to identify and contact potential mentors. Scholars will be encouraged to make initial contact with potential mentors prior to beginning the program in the Fall.
Scholars will also be expected to join a working research group focused on a population health problem (e.g., low birth-weight, cardiovascular disease, or cancer) or a contributing risk factor (e.g., low socioeconomic status, ethnicity, smoking, neighborhood violence, maternal depression). The group will explore interactions among contextual forces, behavioral predispositions, biological susceptibility, and developmental timing and influences.
Third, in addition, or in conjunction with research group activities, scholars may negotiate to participate in research activities of our partner institutions, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Northern California Cancer Center, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, The Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), and the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Scholars may gain experience in the translation of research to practice, for example, through short-term internships in practice and policy settings. Scholars could choose to spend an intensive one-to-two month internship, returning to campus weekly to attend programmatic seminars.
Additionally, our collaboration with Noralou Roos, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and with Dr. John Frank, formerly at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Population and Public Health and is now Director of a new Medical Research Council Unit in Edinburgh, Scotland, gives scholars access to international comparative studies as well as to the experiences of institutions that are taking innovative actions to develop the field of Population Health in their countries.
Expectations for scholars will reflect their own backgrounds and plans, but there are some general guidelines. While scholars will often have prior research that they will want to submit for publication, we will want them to go well beyond what they came in with. Thus, by the end of the two years, they will be expected to have at least one paper submitted for publication based on new research, to be involved in one or more jointly authored papers, and to have presented at both professional meetings of his or her own discipline and outside of that discipline. The scholar should also have developed a grant proposal that may be submitted for funding (although actual submittal may be deferred until the scholar is on-site at his or her next institution). The scholar should also have prepared an editorial/opinion piece, testimony, or other work for a non-academic audience.
Our program builds upon three decades of experience with post-doc programs with a longstanding commitment to continual improvement. We see our scholars not as trainees, but as junior colleagues with their own areas of expertise in need of guidance in maneuvering their individual ways though the complex worlds of academia and policy. The Health & Society Scholars program presents a special challenge and opportunity to collectively shape a new field of knowledge and practice. The excitement of our collective faculty is palpable, and we look forward to having our scholars join us in this effort.