The AHRQ NRSA postdoctoral program is intended to provide advanced, specialized training in the methods of health services research to individuals who have already completed all requirements for MD, DDS/DMD, PharmD, PhD, DrPH or other relevant doctoral degrees. The postdoctoral fellows accepted for enrollment will enter the program for one or two years, depending on the nature of their chosen areas of topical interest and the time required of the kind of project activity they will identify in partnership with a program mentor. While postdoctoral fellows are not required to pursue a formal degree program, trainees with previous degrees in either medicine or dentistry may elect to pursue one of several degrees through the UNC-CH School of Public Health as part of their training program. Some advanced degree programs (such as the Doctor of Public Health or Doctor of Philosophy) include dissertations which usually require as much as two additional years beyond the completion of formal coursework. The Program will assist fellows who choose this route with the search for additional financial support from other sources for the completion of this part of their research. A particular area of emphasis for several of the current postdoctoral positions is comparative effectiveness research (CER). If interested in pursuing this area of investigation, their application should illustrate the applicant’s ideas for CER research.
Fellows who do not pursue formal degrees are still encouraged to enroll in selected courses relevant to their research program and career goals, either for credit or as an auditor. In addition, all fellows in the Program will participate in a regular, two-hour course seminar on health services research which will meet weekly throughout the year.
The Mentoring Relationship
All postdoctoral fellows are expected to have worked out the general scope and foci of a formal mentoring arrangement with one or more of the core faculty affiliated with the Program prior to beginning of the fellowship. Applicants of the Program accepted for admission will be facilitated in their attempt to establish such a relationship. Such relationships may include either the involvement of the fellow in the research activities directed by a faculty mentor, or a preceptorial arrangement whereby the mentor may oversee the fellow’s work on his/her own research.
The fellowship pays an annual stipend which is based on the number of years of relevant experience beyond the doctoral degree. Stipend amounts are set by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Current information can be found at www.ahrq.gov. Additional funds are available to cover most of the tuition and fees for relevant courses and for some additional expenses associated with the training program. Health insurance costs for all fellows will be covered by the University of North Carolina.