UCANU Health Services Research Program (AHRQ T32)

The University of Chicago and Northwestern University (UCANU) Predoctoral Health Services Research (HSR) Program is intended to support predoctoral training in health services research for students already enrolled in a University of Chicago PhD program.

We are seeking predoctoral fellows who can begin their appointment in Spring or Summer 2024, with priority for candidates who can start in Spring Quarter (April 1, 2024).

Click here for the application portal.

Deadline: Apply by Friday, March 8, 2024 for an April 1, 2024 start date.

Students may also join as an unfunded predoctoral affiliate. See below for more information about the program, including eligibility criteria and application instructions.

Program Description

This program incorporates interdisciplinary training in health services research (topics such as comparative and cost-effectiveness analysis; patient safety and quality; patient-centered care; markets and organization; and health care disparities), and learning health care systems.  All predoctoral students at the University of Chicago selected for support by the UCANU Predoctoral HSR Program, regardless of discipline, will work with the program directors and a faculty mentor to develop an individualized program for regular participation in the many health services research and training activities at both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Trainees are generally in their third or fourth years of graduate training when they begin the program and thus will divide their time between 1) advanced coursework in their relevant discipline; 2) workshops; and 3) completing their dissertation research.

Every trainee will have a mentor and mentoring plan for the UCANU Predoctoral HSR Program. Primary mentors will provide trainees with advice on the selection of coursework and workshops, guidance with research and career planning, and assistance in forming professional connections to other faculty who may serve as secondary mentors. All trainees will meet frequently with their mentors and regularly with one or more of the program directors to receive ongoing academic career development guidance.

Trainees will have completed two or more years of predoctoral coursework prior to beginning the UCANU Predoctoral HSR Program. UCANU training will emphasize advanced courses relevant to trainees’ degree programs, and may include advanced topics in health services research or focused disciplinary training relevant to health services research, e.g., advanced statistical methods, psychometrics, or industrial organization.  Mini-courses in policy communication and learning health care systems may be offered to trainees during the training period.

Participation in one or more workshops is critical to learning skills of critical analysis and research design.  The university’s workshop system consists of weekly seminars in which faculty, students, and visiting scholars present their ongoing research for critical review by their colleagues.  Faculty involvement and participation in these sessions provide trainees with an unparalleled opportunity to engage with leading scholars in their chosen field.  Trainees present at least once in each of the program’s related workshops.

Program Activities
Required activities include:

  • Attend regularly and present once annually in the joint UChicago and Northwestern (UCANU) research seminars, which bring together HSR fellows at both institutions. These seminars typically take place on the first Friday of every month from 3-4:30 pm and allow trainees to present their research to one another.
  • Attend regularly and present once annually in the Health Economics Workshop (HEW), which takes place on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 pm at the Harris School.
  • Participate in a Policy and Communication and/or Learning Healthcare Systems mini-course, if offered during the fellow’s appointment period.
  • Complete and submit semi-annual learning plans to assess career and academic development.
  • Attend the annual National Research Service Award meeting and AcademyHealth conference, which are held jointly in June of each year. Fellows are expected to submit an abstract to these meetings. The Predoctoral HSR Program covers the cost of attending the conference.
  • Complete training in the Responsible Conduct of Research, which is required by NIH. Predoctoral fellows fulfill this by completing the summer RCR course or the winter quarter of Essentials of Patient Oriented Research (EPOR).
  • Abide by all NIH/AHRQ predoctoral reporting requirements.

Predoctoral affiliates participate in all program activities except for the AcademyHealth conference and NRSA meeting.



For 2023-24, fellowships pay a stipend of $27,144. Students may wish to discuss with their primary division/school how they may combine these funds with their current stipend. Trainees also receive $16,000 toward tuition, $2,000 toward USHIP health insurance, and funds for training related expenses.

Predoctoral affiliates do not receive any funding.



  • Funded trainees must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or non-citizen national.
  • This training program is intended to support students from thesis development through the later stages of their thesis. Students are typically in their third year of training or later when they begin the program. Students who are interested in the program but are in their first or second year of PhD training are eligible to join as unfunded affiliates.
  • Individuals from groups underrepresented in the sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

Our current and past predoctoral fellows have come from a variety of departments and professional schools at the University of Chicago, including: the Booth School of Business, Comparative Human Development,  Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, Psychology, Public Health Sciences, the School of Social Service Administration, and Sociology. While graduate students from any discipline are welcome to apply, applicants should intend to pursue academic careers in health services research or related fields.



Further details on the program and its requirements are available from CHeSS Director of Training Programs and Communications Fahad Sajid, PhD. You may also contact program directors Tamara Konetzka, PhD or David Meltzer, MD, PhD.


Application Process

Applicants must submit the following materials through the online portal to be considered for the fellowship. Include your first and last name in the file name for each document you submit.

  • CV
  • Statement of research goals (limit 500 words)
  • Thesis Proposal Synopsis (limit 500 words): If you are in the process of choosing a thesis topic, please explain where you are in the process
  • List of required exams for the doctoral program, yet to be taken
  • A mentoring plan developed with the applicant’s primary faculty mentor for their PhD program
  • A statement of disclosure for funding sources: Please include information about any current funding sources, pending applications for other funding, and/or completed projects that provided federal funding. 
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty members who have worked with the applicant in health services research or related discipline: If your references prefer to send letters directly, they can be emailed to Fahad Sajid at fahad.sajid@bsd.uchicago.edu. Please note in your application if these letters will be sent separately. 
  • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts: Please have your official, electronic transcripts emailed to Fahad Sajid at fahad.sajid@bsd.uchicago.edu.


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