Request for Applications: Learning Health System (LHS) Scholars

 2024 RFA is now closed.


Application Process

Interested individuals are to submit a letter of intent (LOI). LOIs are reviewed by LeaRRn and the health systems partners. Selected applicants are then invited to interview with a health system and mentor. After the interview, the health system and mentor decide whether to extend an offer to the scholar.

Eligibility Requirements

The LHS Scholar program is open to rehabilitation researchers with doctoral level training or equivalent training/research experience who are at any stage of their career. We welcome applicants from any rehabilitation discipline, academic location, or setting. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

Application Instructions

1. Letter of Intent: due October 31, 2023

Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and a LOI (no more than 2 pages, 1” margins, Arial 11 font, single space) that includes the following sections:

Research and Clinical Background: A summary of research interests, research experience, and clinical background including experience conducting research with health systems, analyzing health system data and/or other large data sets, and working in health system settings.

Alignment with Health Systems Priorities: An explanation of how the applicant’s experience, skills, and research interests align with the priorities of one or more health systems and how the skills and the applicant’s experience could facilitate LHS research/quality improvement.

Note: Please review the list of health system partners participating in this call and the priorities they would like addressed in this funding cycle at the bottom of this page. Click here to learn more about our health systems partners.

Developing Meaningful Partnerships: A summary of the applicant’s skills and experience in developing partnerships/collaborations with health systems, stakeholders, and/or other multidisciplinary teams.

Data Experience: A synopsis of the applicant’s experience with multivariate and other types of statistical analyses, skill in analyzing large datasets (for example, claims or EHR data), as well as experience with software to conduct these analyses (such as SAS or Stata).

Application Process:

Submit a CV and LOI to with the subject heading: “LHS Scholar application.” LOIs will be reviewed and assessed by LeaRRn and our health system partners on the following applicant criteria:

    • Research experience
    • Clinical/health system experience
    • Data experience
    • How well the applicant’s research and clinical experience align with the health system priorities
    • Leadership experience and/or potential
    • Overall fit of the applicant with the health system
    • Potential of the applicant to take the work to the next level (e.g., pilot funding)

Successful applicants will be familiar with specific health system-identified priorities and will demonstrate an understanding that the scholar year will focus on addressing a priority topic identified by the health system.  

2. Invitation to Interview: December 21, 2023

Selected applicants will be contacted by December 21, 2023 to inform them of their potential health system pairing and proposed faculty mentor. The applicant will then work with the LeaRRn team, mentor, and the health system to schedule a time for the interview (January – February 2024).

Interview Format:

a. 5 minute introductions of applicant, health system representatives, and LeaRRn team

b. 15 minute powerpoint presentation by the applicant providing the following:

    • an overview of his/her research, clinical background, and scholarly activities
    • the skills and experience they bring to the health system
    • alignment of their skills and interests with the health system priorities and needs
    • LHS research competency areas they may focus on with additional training

c. 15 minute overview of the health system from the health system partner

d. 25 minute discussion

Final award is contingent upon the applicant, identified mentor, and the health system partner confirming interest in working together.

Funding and Time Frame

LHS Scholars will receive $15,000 (inclusive of indirect funds at the scholar’s institutional rate) to conduct the preparatory work needed to develop a research question and funding proposal based on a priority topic identified by the health system. Funds can be spent over a 12-month period and support travel to the healthcare system, stakeholder engagement activities, preliminary data extraction and analysis, systematic literature review, didactic activities for the Scholar’s skills development, and salary support if necessary. The Scholar’s home institution is expected to provide most of their salary support during this time.

3. Notification of award: March 2024

The University of Pittsburgh will issue subcontracts to successful applicants to support Scholar activities.

4. Earliest start date: August 1, 2024

Please submit all inquiries and materials to:

Kristin Ressel at with the subject heading: “LHS Scholar application”

Health System Partner Priority Topics for Scholar Year

Please note that some health care systems are not participating in the 2024 call and some health systems may be interested in focusing on a specific priority. The information below outlines the health systems and priorities that are specific to this call. If you participate in an interview with a health system, the health system will share additional information about their specific priorities.

American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL)

  • Improving efficiency in improving rate to achieve functional outcomes for SNF short-stay residents
  • Workforce issues impacting care delivery in nursing centers and/or assisted living communities
  • Effectiveness of technology improvements (e.g., EHR, telehealth, remote patient monitoring) in nursing centers and/or assisted living communities
  • Effective follow-up programs after discharge home or back to the community from a SNF short-stay to improve likelihood of successful discharges (reduce 30-day readmission rates)

BAYADA Home Health Care

  • Disease specific best practice reviews to enhance patient outcomes

Boston Medical Center (BMC)

  • Optimizing utilization of Rehabilitation therapy services in acute care

The Cleveland Clinic

  • Targeting rehabilitation interventions to facilitate discharge from the hospital to home

Intermountain Health 

  • Transitions of care across the continuum

Ivy Rehab Network

Ivy Rehab Pediatric-Focused Priority Topics: 

  • Impact of pediatric-residency trained clinicians on patient outcomes and care delivery 
  • Internal quality improvement initiatives related to care quality and operational efficiencies

Ivy Rehab Organization-Focused Priority Topics:

  • The use of Ivy’s advanced data ecosystem to apply advanced/predictive analytics and Machine Learning/AI to develop smart data products & reporting to improve patient outcomes and operational efficiency and effectiveness across Ivy Rehab Network (Adult & Pediatric populations)

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR)

  • Implementation of systematic approach to mobility in the acute care hospital, inclusive of pediatrics
  • Precision Rehabilitation: Using high information content measurement to personalize rehabilitation interventions across the healthcare continuum
  • Development of rehabilitation models of care to reduce skilled nursing facility utilization

Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

  • Disparities in access, quality, and outcomes of rehabilitation
    • Traumatic Injuries as a chronic condition
    • Assessing the clinical & cost effectiveness of a Trauma Survivorship Clinic
  • Development of Chronic Care Model for Traumatic Conditions

UPMC Center for Assistive Technology (CAT)

  • Evaluation and development of a telehealth protocol for assistive technology
  • Implementation of a streamlined data collection process (on assistive technology) in clinical practice
  • Development of a new wheelchair prescription policy for seating and mobility clinics

UPMC Innovative Homecare Solutions

  • Efficient use of rehabilitation services in the home health setting
  • Use of technology in the home health setting to augment or as a substitute for nurse and/or therapist care
  • Moving traditionally hospital based care into the home setting

UPMC Rehabilitation Institute (formerly Center for Rehab Services)

  • Using outcome measures in acute care to identify at risk patients post-acutely  
  • Transitions of care across the continuum
  • Effectiveness of rehabilitation for high-need / high-cost patients
  • Adherence to clinical practice guideline recommendations and associated clinical outcomes



The LHS Scholar program is led by Janet Freburger and Rosa Baier.