A Chicago Center of Excellence in Learning Health Systems Research Training (ACCELERAT) is a K12 scholars training program established to develop the next generation of health system transformation leaders. The goal of the program is to support the training of junior faculty to be engaged in advancing patient centered outcomes research (PCOR) within learning health systems and to facilitate rapid implementation of evidence into those systems to improve the quality and outcomes of care.
The diverse institutions in ACCELERAT provide care across the patient life spectrum from pediatrics to geriatrics, and across all care settings (from pre-patient to acute inpatient care and rehabilitation). Our faculty and scholars are diverse and draw from the Chicagoland region, with several faculty who lead their own related training programs. Core training domains in ACCELERAT are led by experts in mentorship and training, health services research, informatics, patient reported outcomes, quality improvement in health systems, and fostering a culture of change. ACCELERAT serves as a national leader in teaching core LHS research competencies aimed to train our future LHS leaders to transform care delivery and advance PCOR within the context of delivering quality health care.
Project Title: Implementing patient-reported outcomes in dermatology to optimize management of chronic inflammatory skin disease
Raj Chovatiya is Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He received his MD and PhD in immunobiology from Yale University in 2016. He completed his internal medicine internship at Yale in 2017, followed by dermatology residency at Northwestern in 2020. In his last year of residency training, while serving as Chief Resident, Dr. Chovatiya was a NRSA postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Chovatiya’s area of clinical expertise is chronic inflammatory skin disease including atopic dermatitis (AD), eczema, itch, psoriasis, hidradenitis, pemphigoid, and vitiligo – especially among individuals with skin of color. He directs the Center for Eczema and Itch in the Department of Dermatology. His research project will focus on implementing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in routine care for atopic dermatitis patients and developing a learning health systems framework that can be expanded to other chronic inflammatory skin diseases. In particular, his research aims to elucidate patient and physician perspectives regarding use of PROs in AD clinical care, validate and implement PROs in the clinical setting for standard-of-care management of AD, and drive a comprehensive care management program incorporating PROs in shared decision making across dermatology clinics.
Project Title: Quality improvement to improve pediatric acute agitation management in the emergency department
Jennifer Hoffmann, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital. She received her MD from Northwestern University in 2013, completed residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center, and completed fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hoffmann’s research aims to develop quality measures for acute agitation management in the emergency department that are informed by multidisciplinary perspectives including patients and families. She will field test the developed measures to determine whether a quality improvement initiative driven by clinical decision support improves quality of care for acute agitation management in youth in the emergency department. The results of her study will inform the development of national quality measures for pediatric mental health emergencies.
Project Title: Transitioning a Shared Decision Making Dashboard to Telemedicine Clinical Encounters
Dr. Mohindra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. She is a medical oncologist at the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University specializing in the treatment of lung cancer. She received her Internal Medicine and Hematology/Oncology training at the McGaw Center of Northwestern University. Her clinical research has focused on clinical trials of novel therapeutics in lung cancer patients and efforts to improve care delivery. Her research project will focus on how to adapt and utilize a shared decision-making dashboard during telemedicine visits. The dashboard incorporates patient-reported outcome measures and clinical factors to enhance patient-centered, shared decision-making and health co-production between patients and clinicians. The overarching goal is to align health care service delivery with patient and family needs, goals, and values in the context of what is medically achievable. Dr. Mohindra will specifically focus on how to utilize and optimize this dashboard during telemedicine visits.
Project Title: A regional learning health system approach to substance use disorder care among the Cook County adult probation population
Dr. Juleigh Nowinski Konchak is an Addiction Medicine and Public Health/Preventive medicine physician at Cook County Health (CCH) in Chicago, IL. She serves as a physician advisor for CCH’s substance use disorder (SUD) programming, including medications for addiction treatment (MAT), and is the Associate Program Director for the Public Health/General Preventive Medicine Residency Program with CCH and Northwestern. She received her MD from University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, completed her residency in Public Health/General Preventive Medicine with the Cook County Health/Northwestern University program, and received her MPH and Certificate in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety from Northwestern University. Juleigh is a first year scholar focused on improving access to evidence-based SUD treatment for individuals involved in community corrections. Through a regional learning health system approach, this effort aims to support sustained systems improvement through multi-sector collaboration, elevate the patient voice to drive culture change, and address inequities in opioid-related fatality and access to evidence-based SUD care.
Project Title: School-Based Asthma Management in Chicago Public Schools: An Implementation Science-Based Approach to Coordinated Asthma Care
Andrea A. Pappalardo, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy at the University of Illinois at Chicago--UI Health. She received her BA from Washington University in St. Louis, her MD from University of Illinois at Chicago, completed a combined internal medicine and pediatrics residency at University of Chicago, and a fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. She has been practicing clinical allergy immunology across the lifespan in a variety of settings including: urban, suburban and community practice for over ten years. She is the Medical Director of the Mobile Care Chicago Asthma and Allergy Program, and the Medical Director of CHECK, a care coordination program for Medicaid recipients in Illinois. Dr. Pappalardo is now shifting her career focus to improving healthcare access through implementation-science based healthcare innovation. Her K12 project is to assess school-based asthma management practices in Chicago Public Schools and pilot a stock inhalers program in select Chicago schools with demonstrated high asthma burden. Health equity is central to Dr. Pappalardo's work as she focuses on health-related policy implementation, such as stock inhalers for schools, for communities state-wide that aim to provide critical medication access to all with respiratory symptoms during the school day.
Project Title: Universal Implementation of a Substance Use Screening & Intervention Service in a Pediatric Hospital Using a Learning Health Systems Framework
Faith Summersett Williams, PhD, is an Assistant Professor with dual faculty appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She received her PhD in 2018 and MS in 2016 from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She works as a pediatric psychologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital where she provides mental health support for the division’s growing Substance Use and Prevention Program. Faith is a first year scholar focused on establishing a system-wide standard of care within a pediatric hospital. In particular, she will examine the feasibility and effectiveness of an evidence-based substance use screening and treatment intervention in the inpatient hospital setting with a particularly vulnerable pediatric population – youth with chronic medical conditions who are at high-risk for secondary substance use disorder and health-related complications of substance use. The results of this study will inform the extension of this intervention to other settings such as outpatient clinics and school-based settings where children and adolescents also seek care and services.
Project Title: Implementing and testing heart failure patient-reported outcomes measures in a learning health system
Faraz Ahmad, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine (Cardiology) and the Department of Preventive Medicine (Health and Biomedical Informatics) in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his MD from the University of Chicago in 2009 and MS in Health and Biomedical Informatics from Northwestern University in 2017. He completed his residency at the University of Pennsylvania and fellowships at Northwestern University. Faraz is a first year scholar focused on enhancing the clinical utility of a novel, heart failure patient-reported outcome measure (the PROMIS-Plus-HF Profile Measure) using innovative health measurement science approaches and on optimizing the integration of the patient-reported outcomes measures into the routine care of patients with heart failure using principles from implementation science as part of the NM PRO initiative.
Project Title: Integrating Patient-Reported Outcomes and Remote Patient Sensor Data in Childhood Asthma
Kristin Kan, MD is an Instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at Lurie Children’s Hospital. She received her MD from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 and an MPH in 2009. She completed her residency at the University of Washington in 2013 and received her MSc in Health Services Research from the University of Michigan in 2016. Kristin is a first year scholar focused on the integration of patient-reported outcomes and remote patient sensor data in childhood asthma. The results of this study will influence how to best design future version(s) of this technology-enhanced intervention, aimed to optimize health providers’ support of asthma self-management and families’ asthma-related, self-efficacy and quality of life.
Project Title: Development of a Novel, Post-Surgical, Post-Discharge Complication Monitoring and Adaptive Intervention System Using Tailored Patient Reported Outcomes
Ryan Merkow, MD is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in Northwestern Quality Improvement, Research, & Education in Surgery at Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his MD from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 2007 and his MS in Health Services and Outcomes Research from Northwestern University in 2012. He completed his residency in surgery at the University of Chicago in 2015, and advanced fellowship training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 2017. Ryan is a first year scholar focused on the development of a novel, post-surgical, post-discharge complication monitoring and adaptive intervention system using tailored patient reported outcomes. The results of his study will improve care for patients during one of the most vulnerable and high risk periods after major cancer surgery, and build the infrastructure to generalize the monitoring system to other areas of surgery.
Project Title: The Substance Use Intervention Team: Addressing Health Disparities with a Systems-Level Strategy to Identify and Treat Opioid Misuse
Hale Thompson, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2016, his MS in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota in 2011, and his MA in Sociology from the University of Illinois in 1995. Hale is a first-year scholar conducting research to address health disparities with a systems-level intervention to identify and treat opioid misuse. The results of his study will inform the replication and adaptation of the intervention at other medical centers.
Abel Kho, MD, MS, FACMI
Patricia D. Franklin, MD, MBA, MPH
David Cella, PhD.
Ralph Seal Paffenbarger Professor and Chair of the Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.
Ronald Ackermann, MD, MPH.
Karl Bilimoria, MD, MS
Matthew Davis, MD
Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, FACP
Lauren Wakschlag, PhD
Clyde Yancy, MD, MSc
Core Program Faculty
In addition to the program principle investigators and the executive committee, faculty from throughout Northwestern support the K12 program by leading training workshops, giving didactic lectures, and working with the scholars during the Improvement Leader Training.
Scholars are supported by a rich training environment including a mentoring team and various learning activities that match the interests of the faculty scholars with core competencies. ACCELERAT training activities are designed to enable learning health system (LHS) scientists to establish foundational and emerging skills for developing proficiency over time. ACCELERAT training activities can be categorized in four general categories: LHS didactics, training workshops, longitudinal mentored research, and quality improvement (QI) and leadership training.
K12 scholars have published on their project accomplishments. Browse ACCELERAT publications here.
We are currently accepting applications for community-engaged and community-based projects, which represent under-studied opportunities to expand the reach and impact of Learning Health Systems.
Interested individuals are asked to submit a brief written application. Then a subset of the applicants will be invited for an interview (likely virtual) based on the alignment of their submission with the goals of the ACCELERAT career development program.
Key Dates and Deadlines:
- Three-page application due (details below): March 15, 2022
- Interview for select candidates: early April 2022
- Scholars chosen: April 2022
- Program start date for successful candidates: May 1, 2022
Funding and Eligibility Requirements
- Scholars must devote a minimum of 75% effort for two years (funder requirement). Up to $90,000 plus fringe benefits may be requested in salary support. Additional salary appropriate to compensating the scholar for the amount of time protected by the grant is the responsibility of the applicant’s employer and must be provided by non-federal sources.
- The two-year tailored training program includes didactic and experiential training and mentored independent research with a heavy emphasis on patient-centeredness, patient and stakeholder engagement, methodologic rigor, multidisciplinary collaboration, and embeddedness (immersive, experiential learning with Learning Health Systems navigators and mentors) in Learning Health Systems.
- Renewal of the second year is contingent on success at meeting first-year goals.
- Research development and training support of up to $25,000 per year is available for each scholar.
- A central goal of the award is for scholars to successfully apply for, and obtain, federal funding by the end of the scholar period (e.g. Individual K and/or R award).
Individuals are eligible if they are:
- Faculty with demonstrated commitment to career in clinical research including (a) previous research training in clinical research (e.g., PhD, clinical research master’s degree or research fellowship); (b) high caliber scholarship and scientific productivity, and (c) a history of academic distinction
- Faculty who are pursuing a clinical research career and who wish to acquire additional mentored research experience in patient-centered outcomes research within a learning health system to improve the quality and outcomes of care
- US citizens or have permanent resident status
- Have a full-time faculty appointment within a healthcare system
- Have a clinical or research doctorate
- Have been PI of an “F” grant or an R21 or R03 (although this is not a prerequisite)
- Women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply
Individuals are not eligible (per funding agency) if they:
- Have a federal “K” or R01 grant pending or funded
- Have a non-federal application pending or funded for research grant or contract with more than $100,000 direct costs per year
- Have been funded on any other federally funded institutional K12/KL2 or an individual K award
(Note: “F” grants, R03, or R21 grantees are eligible)
For general inquiries about the K12 Program, please contact ACCELERAT.