National Clinician Scholars Program

Advancing health through scholarship and action

NCSP and VA Collaboration

NCSP/VA Collaboration

The Department of Veterans Affairs is a strong community partner for the NCSP program and supports a number of VA NCSP fellows each year. The VA NCSP fellows have a commitment to research addressing health and policy issues relevant to Veterans and reflecting priority areas in the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA NCSP Scholars have opportunities for conducting clinical work, research, and applying for policy internships within the Department of Veterans Affairs as part of their fellowship.


The collaboration between the NCSP and the Department of Veterans Affairs builds upon a strong foundation: In 1978, the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA,) in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, established the VA Advanced Fellowships Program for Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Clinical Scholars at selected VA medical centers. The program was designed to introduce new skills and training in the non-biological sciences and in health care research to young physicians committed to clinical medicine. The partnership between the VA and the NCSP will allow the next generation of physician and nursing leaders and change agents to understand and improve the health of veterans, and of the nation.

VA Advanced Fellowships Program for NCSP Clinician Scholars

The fellowship provides two years of post-residency research, education, and clinical learning opportunities to eligible physicians and nurses. Participants are expected to complete a graduate level research project using a broad array of disciplines. These may include epidemiology, biostatistics, medical information sciences, economics, the social sciences, anthropology, history of medicine, law, and ethics. The program emphasizes the importance of community health, consistent with VA's goals to optimize the health of the veteran, the VA community, and to contribute to the health of the Nation. VA NCSP Clinician Scholars participate in activities at their designated VA Medical Center as well as participate fully in the overall NCSP program at the affiliated institution. Experienced mentors of national stature provide guidance to fellows in rich learning environments.

VA Advanced Fellowships Office

Stuart Gilman, MD, MPH
Director, Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development
NCSP National Program Board (NPB) Member and VA Liaison

Jeff Cully, PhD
Assistant Director, Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development

Deborah Ludke, MHA
Administrative Officer, Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development

Kimberly Uhl, MBA
Management Analyst, Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development

University Faculty VA Liaisons

The National Clinician Scholars Program has a VA faculty representative at each of the four participating universities where Scholars are trained.


Michele Heisler, MD, MPH
Co-director, Michigan NCSP
Associate Professor of Medicine and Health Behavior and Health Education
Research Scientist, VA HSR&D Center of Excellence


Rani Desai, PhD, MPH
Co-director, Yale NCSP
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology
Associate Director, Northeast Program Evaluation Center


Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH
Associate Director, Penn NCSP
Professor of Medicine at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center
Co-Leader, Cancer Control Research Program, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania


Debra Saliba, MD, MPH
Anna & Harry Borun Endowed Chair
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Director, UCLA Borun Center for Applied Gerontological Research
Physician, VA GRECC
Senior Natural Scientist, RAND