Kumar appointed co-director of VA health services research fellowship

Bharat Kumar, MD, MME, has been appointed as the co-director for the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Services’ Research and Development (HSRD) Fellowship. He will work with Michelle Mengeling, PhD, to help administer the program and succeeds the previous co-directors Hilary Mosher, MD, and Michael Ohl, MD, MSPH.

The HSRD Fellowship is a unique program available through the Iowa City VA Health Care System (ICVAHCS), providing high-quality training to physicians and other health care team members so that they are empowered to become future leaders in health services research and delivery. With 80% protected time for research, and 20% time dedicated to clinical work, HSRD fellows gain new skills and abilities under the mentorship and sponsorship of senior investigators both at the ICVAHCS and the University of Iowa.

HSRD focuses on developing scholars focusing on one or more of the eight Learning Health Systems competencies: (1) System Science, (2) Research Questions and Standards of Scientific Evidence, (3) Research Methods, (4) Informatics, (5) Ethics of Research and Implementation in Health Systems, (6) Improvement and Implementation Science, (7) Engagement, Leadership, and Research Management, and (8) Health Equity. Post-residency physicians, nurses, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, and PhD scientists who are US citizens are welcome to apply. Although start dates are typically in the summer or fall, the HSRD curriculum is flexible enough to admit people at any time of year.

Kumar is well-positioned for this new leadership role, as he is familiar with medical education and health services research. He is currently the University of Iowa Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director, as well as an ICVAHCS Quality Scholar, and the Immunology Section Chief at the ICVAHCS. His research has focused on adult learning theory, patient education, informatics, clinician well-being, and the intersection between immunodeficiency and autoimmunity.

As the HSRD co-director, he says he hopes “to establish innovative educational programs that foster and support fellows in their career development.” He is coordinating with the Internal Medicine residency program to create a pathway for resident physicians interested in health services research to receive longitudinal research experiences and mentorship throughout both residency and fellowship. Additionally, he is looking for ways to ease the process of publication and grant submission so that busy clinicians can maximize their time on scholarship and inquiry rather than fulfilling onerous technical requirements. Lastly, he hopes “to foster greater links with other advanced fellowships” at the ICVAHCS, such as their Quality Scholars Program and Rural Health Scholars Program.

Kumar notes that, “It is a very exciting time to be an HSRD fellow – we’re growing and establishing a leadership presence within the Iowa City Veteran’s Affairs Health Care System, and the entire nation at large.”

Anyone interested in learning more, or considering applying, can contact the team at iowahsrfellowship@va.gov, Michelle.Mengeling@va.gov, or Bharat-Kumar@uiowa.edu for more details.

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