Request for Applications: Learning Health System (LHS) Scholars

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Application Process

Interested individuals submit a letter of intent (LOI) due January 10, 2022. LOIs are reviewed by LeaRRn and our 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 January 10, 2022

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: Discuss your research interests,research experience, and clinical background including your 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: Discuss how your experience, skills, and research interests align with the priorities of one or more health systems and how the skills and experience you bring could facilitate LHS research/quality improvement. 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: Discuss your skills and experience in developing partnerships/collaborations with health systems, stakeholders, and/or other multidisciplinary teams. 

  • Submit your 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: March 1, 2022

Selected applicants will be contacted by March 1, 2022 to inform them of their health system pairing and faculty mentor. The applicant will then work with the LeaRRn team, mentor, and the health system to schedule a time for the interview

Interview format:

  • 30 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 competencies they may focus on with additional training
  • 10 minute overview of the health system from the health system partner
  • 20 minutes for discussion

Final appointment 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 awardJune 1 – August 1, 2022

The University of Pittsburgh will issue subcontracts to successful applicants before funding begins.

4. Earliest start date: August 1, 2022

Please submit all inquiries and materials to:

Kristin Ressel at

Health System Partner Priority Topics for Scholar Year 

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

  • Evidence-based clinical and functional care approaches for COVID-19 ‘Long Haulers” (Long COVID) in nursing facilities and/or assisted living residences 
  • Telehealth in skilled nursing facilities and/or assisted living residences during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Safety in skilled nursing facilities and/or assisted living residences during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Workforce issues impacting care delivery in skilled nursing facilities and/or assisted living residences during the coronavirus pandemic

BAYADA Home Health Care

  • Patient-driven care plan design and the resulting impact on quality outcomes.

The Cleveland Clinic

  • Transitions of care across the continuum, particularly from the acute hospital to home health car

Intermountain Healthcare

  • Transitions of care across the continuum 
  • Value-based care pathways 
  • Health equity 

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR)

  • Implementation of systematic approach to mobility in the acute care hospital 
  • Precision Rehabilitation: Using high information content measurement to personalize rehabilitation interventions across the healthcare continuum
  • Effectiveness of pre-habilitation in surgical care
  • Long term consequences of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Development of Age Friendly Health Systems model consistent with the 4Ms Framework


  • Post-Acute site(s) for optimal patient outcomes
  • Transitions of care across the continuum
  • Effectiveness of rehabilitation for high-need / high-cost patients
  • Team-based models of care, care coordination
  • Unintended consequences of the coronavirus pandemic

UPMC Center for Assistive Technology (CAT)

  • Evaluation and development of a telehealth protocol for assistive technology through a literature review and analysis of secondary data. 
  • 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 Centers for Rehab Services (UPMC-CRS)

  • Effectiveness of a mobility program in acute care
  • Hospital outcomes of patients receiving acute care PT during the pandemic  
  • 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

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



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