Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Center for Education in Health Sciences

Health Services and Outcomes Research

 

Our Program

The Master of Science in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR) prepares physicians and clinical health professionals for careers in academic medicine and non-clinicians for careers in academia, health systems and research and policy organizations. The degree's flexible, hybrid format allows full- or part-time study and accommodates students residing outside the Chicago area.

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Hybrid Format

A prime component of our program is its hybrid format: Courses feature both online and in person instruction, accommodating students who live outside the Chicago area and those with other full-time obligations.

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Testimonials

Pavan Brahmamdam, MD headshot

This program has given me a great foundation in statistics and different methodologies to be able to perform robust outcomes research.

Pavan Brahmamdam, MD
Pediatric Surgeon and Clinical Faculty, Beaumont Children's Hospital
Pavan Brahmamdam, MD headshot

Pavan Brahmamdam, MD

Pediatric Surgeon and Clinical Faculty, Beaumont Children's Hospital

What is your background and research interest?
I am a pediatric surgeon and I am interested in ways that we can improve care in routine and common pediatric surgical conditions.

What attracted you to the master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR)?
I was attracted to the HSOR program for a number of reasons. I was looking for a program that I could participate in remotely. The curriculum really fit my goals of learning how to do quality outcomes research. And finally, Northwestern has a great reputation for outcomes research.

What is your independent research project?
We are looking at parental decision making in non-operative treatment of appendicitis.

How is the master’s in HSOR helping you reach your goals?
The HSOR master’s program has given me a great foundation in statistics and different methodologies to be able to perform robust outcomes research.

What stands out about the masters in HSOR?
The flexibility and the effort the program puts into integrating the remote students. I am also blown away by the other students. It is really inspiring to hear their goals and to see their projects mature. Spending time with these young health services and outcomes researchers gets me excited for my own work.
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Kate Engelhardt, MD headshot

In my opinion, the experiential learning provided is the greatest strength of this program.

Kate Engelhardt, MD
General Surgery Resident, Medical University of South Carolina
Research Fellow, Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Northwestern University
Kate Engelhardt, MD headshot

Kate Engelhardt, MD

General Surgery Resident, Medical University of South Carolina
Research Fellow, Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Northwestern University

What is your background and research interest?
I am currently completing a research fellowship at the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center of Northwestern University between my years of clinical training at the Medical University of South Carolina. My research interests are the implementation of high quality care for early stage lung cancer, the effect of learning collaboratives on improving the quality of surgical care, and identifying strategies to better prepare medical students for general surgery residency.

What attracted you to the master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR)?
This master’s provides a broad overview of HSOR methodology while also providing focused, in-depth support specific to projects I am currently completing. The experiential learning provided is the greatest strength of this program in my opinion.

What is your independent research project?
I have three major projects that the HSOR program has supported. (1) A time-trend analysis of patterns of care for early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients using the National Cancer Database Public Use File. The Methods and Measurement course helped me to identify the dataset to use for my study, the two Quantitative Methods courses and the two Biostatistics courses helped provide the foundation to be able to complete this analysis independently using Stata, and the Writing for Peer Review course helped me refine the manuscript for submission. This work has been presented at national meetings and is currently under review for publication. (2) A cross-sectional observational qualitative study to examine the effect of an external peer mentoring program on organizational quality improvement (QI) ability at hospitals participating in a state-wide surgical QI learning collaborative. I completed 36 pairs of interviews with surgeon mentors and surgeon champion mentees and am currently working to code and analyze this data with the course director for the Qualitative Methods course. (3) A convergent mixed-methods analysis of survey data and interviews to identify predictors of readiness for general surgery residency and to explore resident and faculty perspectives on resident readiness. In addition to the courses mentioned above, the elective course on Survey Design and Methodology is informing this project. This work has been submitted for presentation at a national meeting and I am currently preparing a manuscript for submission.

How is the master’s in HSOR helping you reach your goals?
In addition to the coursework outlined above, the Master’s program has connected me with resources to draw upon throughout the design and execution of all of my research projects. I expect these connections to be life-long relationships for research collaboration.

What stands out about the masters in HSOR?
For me the most impressive aspect of the master’s program is the opportunity for students to use the courses as forums to workshop various aspects of their research projects. By taking advantage of these opportunities, I have been fortunate to be very productive during my research fellowship.
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Ryan Ellis, MD headshot

The faculty have an open door policy and are happy to help, not only with coursework, but also with your broader research projects.

Ryan Ellis, MD
Health Services Research T32 Postdoctoral Fellow
General Surgery Resident, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Ryan Ellis, MD headshot

Ryan Ellis, MD

Health Services Research T32 Postdoctoral Fellow
General Surgery Resident, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

What is your background and research interest?
I am a general surgery resident at Northwestern who has completed three clinical years. My surgical interests are primarily in oncology, with research interests focusing on delivery of health services in complex cancer care.

What attracted you to the master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR)?
Primarily the faculty and the ringing endorsements the program received from previous students. Studying health services is common in my peer group, and everyone I know who had previously completed the master’s program strongly encouraged me to do so as well.

What is your independent research project?
I have a few projects going on simultaneously, but my biggest project involves exploring the relationship between hospital volume and outcomes following complex cancer surgery. The tendency for patients at high-volume centers to do significantly better than those at low-volume centers is well defined in the literature, but coming up with a way to positively affect the relationship has been elusive. My work centers on further defining the association and designing ways to use it in helping hospitals improve care delivery.

How is the master’s in HSOR helping you reach your goals?
Most of the questions I am interested in require big data and rigorous methodology. I think there is a misconception that anyone with a statistics program can get access to a dataset, crunch numbers, and publish. In order for me to address the health services questions I am interested in, I believe I have to be well educated in the statistics and methodological assumptions used in health services and big data, and the HSOR master’s program provides ample training in that area.

What stands out about the masters in HSOR?
The approachability of the faculty. Because the HSOR program is relatively small, every faculty member knows your name and your research interests. Everyone has an open door policy and is happy to help, not only with coursework, but also with your broader research projects.
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Zachary Pittsenbarger, MD headshot

This program has helped me to incorporate other forms of data collection into the study for a more robust analysis.

Zachary Pittsenbarger, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Zachary Pittsenbarger, MD headshot

Zachary Pittsenbarger, MD

Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

What is your background and research interest?
I am a pediatric emergency medicine attending at Lurie Children’s Hospital. My research interests revolve around inefficiencies in decision making, cost effective medicine, and ED utilization by different populations.

What attracted you to the master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR)?
I wanted to gain more skills in project design and implementation so I can work toward becoming an independent researcher.

What is your independent research project?
I am looking at the use of orderset and history templates in the electronic health record to facilitate better patient care.

How is the master’s in HSOR helping you reach your goals?
It has helped me to incorporate other forms of data collection into the study for a more robust analysis.

What stands out about the masters in HSOR?
The variety of classes we take gives us exposure to all sorts of health services research. I never thought I would use qualitative or econcomics research methods in a project, but now I have the skills to incorporate them into future projects.
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Contact Us

We welcome your questions and comments. For more information, contact us at:

Emily McElroy, Program Coordinator
312-503-5522

Ryan Splitt, Program Assistant
312-503-3194

Center for Education in Health Sciences
633 N. Saint Clair St., 20th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
hsor@northwestern.edu

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