PHILADELPHIA – Seven researchers have been named to the third cohort of the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

The two-year training program, which emphasizes team-based health care, provides clinical and community-based research training through a formal curriculum and mentoring to nurse and physician researchers. Formed in 2015 between Penn, UCLA, the University of Michigan and Yale University, it seeks to promote health equity, eliminate health disparities, develop new models of care, and achieve higher quality care at lower cost. The program includes several VA Scholars, who serve at VA medical centers nationally, including the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia.

The 2018-2020 cohort, which formally begins participation in the program on July 1, 2018, includes 30 nurses and physicians nationally. The seven Penn-based scholars are:

  • Colleen Bennett, MD, a child-abuse pediatrics fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Elias Dayoub, MD, MPP (VA Scholar), a resident in General Internal Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Austin Kilaru, MD (VA Scholar), chief resident in Emergency Medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland
  • Natalie Lee, MD, MPH (VA Scholar), a resident in General Internal Medicine at Cleveland Clinic
  • Kirstin Manges, RN, MSN, a PhD candidate in nursing at the University of Iowa
  • Angelico Razon, MD, MPH, a resident in General Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan
  • Ashley Z. Ritter, MSN, CRNP, a PhD candidate in Nursing at Penn.

The National Clinician Scholars Program offers exceptional clinical and community-based research training for clinician-researchers who want to focus on policy-centered research and team care to improve access and outcomes. In today’s rapidly changing health care landscape, the National Clinicians Scholars Program aims to emphasize collaboration and information-sharing, to advance the field and benefit patients.

Components of the program at Penn include course work and a research thesis leading to a Master of Science in Health Policy Research. The curriculum includes training in statistics, the economics of health care delivery, innovation in health care, communications, quality improvement, leadership, and multidisciplinary science.

The National Clinician Scholars Program at Penn is co-directed by Judith Long, MD, chief of General Internal Medicine, Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, an associate vice president of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Julie Sochalski, PhD, FAAN, RN, an associate professor of Nursing.

More information about the program and future applications is available at

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $425 million awarded in the 2018 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Home Care and Hospice Services, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 40,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2018, Penn Medicine provided more than $525 million to benefit our community.

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