SPIRIT K12 Coursework, Didactics, and Practice



  • PCOR/CER/LHS Seminar and Workshop Series: As a centerpiece of the SPIRIT K12 curriculum, this innovative bi-weekly seminar series is devoted to dissemination and implementation topics, with special cross-cutting attention to methods, LHS ethical issues, health disparities, informatics, and digital health technology evaluation, with patient/stakeholder engagement interwoven into all sessions. Starting in Fall 2019, each session will convene once per week, every 2 weeks, for 2−3 hours depending on session topic and targeted content coverage. The series will be active throughout the academic year, though it will run on a reduced schedule during the summer months to accommodate mentor and scholar travel. The Executive Steering Committee will work closely with the two MPIs each year to organize and coordinate topics and speakers for this series, drawing in part from the proposed K12 program mentors and scholars and from the faculty and pre- and postdoctoral trainees of other training/career development programs with aligned interests. All health services and patient-centered outcomes researchers and other interested parties from across UCLA, VAGLAHS, KPSC, and LACDHS, as well as Los Angeles County community partners representing diverse populations, will be invited to participate as audience-attendees and as potential presenters. All sessions will be recorded and archived at the SPIRIT K12 web site and publicly accessible for later viewing. In addition to serving as another important forum for K12 scholars to present their research for group feedback and sharpen their presentation skills, we envision that this series will become the first of many regularly produced seminars and workshops that will position the SPIRIT K12 Center as a major hub of innovative implementation science career development materials and resources at UCLA, aimed toward national dissemination through networked research and research training programs and initiatives such as the CTSA Consortium and the AHRQ-PCORI K12 Learning Collaborative. Development of the methods seminars and workshops, with real-world case anchoring, will benefit greatly from the expertise in implementation science among our mentor corps, such as Drs. Elmore, Inkelas, Gould, Mittman, Needleman, Shekelle, and Yano, with focal attention to metrics for high-performing health care systems. Coverage of health disparities and community-based/community-partnered participatory research and stakeholder engagement will be enriched by the education and career development experience as well as research expertise of mentors such as Drs. Norris, Brown, Wong, and Wells. The series will also include innovative workshops on digital health technology evaluation, validation, and uptake, in sessions led by K12 MPI Michael Ong and designed to help the scholars develop and evaluate interdisciplinary team-based interventions deploying new and emerging technologies within the LHS frame of reference. The seminar and workshop series also encompasses our LHS Visiting Expert program, where each year the SPIRIT Executive Steering Committee will select and invite a nationally renowned LHS researcher for a 3-day visit with our K12 mentors and scholars. The visit will include informal meetings with our K12 scholars and their mentors, one-on-one and in group sessions, at all four of our Center’s health care system sites to discuss ongoing LHS research projects as well as the visiting scientist’s keynote lecture, on a LHS topic of his or her choosing, at one of the series sessions. These visits will be announced throughout our K12 community of LHS stakeholders as well as the broader health sciences research community at UCLA, VAGLAHS, KPSC, and LACDHS, to ensure broad and inclusive attendance. As with all of the presentations at the PCOR/CER/LHS Seminar and Workshop Series, the Visiting Expert lecture will be videotaped and posted at our K12 web site curricular archive for later viewing and nationwide accessibility.
  • Biostatistics Fellows Course: As a David Geffen School of Medicine mainstay for postdoctoral investigators, led by David Elashoff (SPIRIT mentor), the coursework consists of 1- to 2-hour workshops focused on research training, including:
    • Biostatistics: Six two-hour sessions on study design paradigms and statistical analysis.
    • Scientific Writing: Six one-hour scientific writing sessions that include crafting, submitting, and reviewing of scientific papers.
    • Research (and Clinical) Ethics: Three one-hour didactic sessions including informed consent, innovative therapies, and governmental/institutional review of research ethics.
    • Teaching and Mentoring: Two one-hour sessions devoted to bedside and lecture hall.
    • Careers with Research: Three one-hour sessions address the roles of scientists in clinical departments and how one combines research and clinical work in an academic career. Dr. Elashoff is well versed in the interests and issues of the AHRQ/PCORI-endorsed LHS Researcher Core Competencies and is developing suitable curricular components for the SPIRIT K12 that address PCOR and methodological issues in the LHS research context.
  • LHS Journal Club: On a quarterly basis, the K12 scholars are required to present and discuss a salient peer-reviewed published clinical, translational, or population science paper that addresses the challenges of LHS research and discovery/innovation uptake.
  • HS266A-B. Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): Methods and Applications (SPH Department of Health Policy and Management): This is a two-part course offered by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and is structured as a weekly seminar fall and winter quarters each academic year. The course combines mentoring in field experiences and a seminar-style introduction to critical issues in conducting community-partnered research.
  • Improvement and Implementation Science Courses: The Fielding School of Public Health annually offers courses on evidence-based medicine and implementation science. The series includes HPM 215B: Advanced Methods for Improvement and Implementation Science; HPM 217: Evidence-Based Medicine and Organizational Change; HPM 225C: Research Methods for Improvement and Implementation Science (taught by SPIRIT mentor Jack Needleman); HPM 249S: Seminar on Implementation Science; HPM 415: Seminar in Organizational Analysis in Health Care; and EPI 203: System Science Methods. Scholars can also participate in several informatics courses. Several of these courses are requisites for the MSPH track in Dissemination, Implementation, and Improvement (DII) Science (see below, under Individualized training plans).
  • Resource Center in Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) Tri-Annual Retreats: Directed, and populated, by Health Services Research faculty participants in the NIA-funded RCMAR (P30AG021684, PI: Carol Mangione [SPIRIT mentor]), these all-day retreats at UCLA and Charles R. Drew University help trainees/scholars to present their research plans and/or study progress via oral or poster presentations and to submit drafts of their writing (e.g., journal manuscripts, grant proposals) in advance for review by the centers’ faculty and critiqued at the retreat by the reviewers and other participants. The retreats also include keynote speakers from NIH or the nonprofit sector who have expertise in health disparities research. Once a year, the centers invite NIH project officers to a retreat and these experts meet with the postdoctoral fellows and scholars and provide a wealth of advice about how to become a NIH funded investigator.
  • Human Subjects Protection Training and Certification via the UCLA Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program



  • UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) Curriculum: The annual core curriculum and educational programming of the NCSP is fully accessible to SPIRIT K12 scholars. The course and seminar topical menu includes Fielding School of Public Health coursework in biostatistics and health systems organization and financing; a weekly Journal Club for fellows and trainees from the NCSP, NRSA, and VA programs, facilitated by Robert Brook, MD, ScD, and various guest faculty; leadership and pathways to leadership seminars; quality and improvement methods, led by SPIRIT mentor Moira Inkelas; qualitative methods; scientific writing; survey design; and pressing health issues in Los Angeles such as health disparities and safety-net vulnerabilities and challenges.
  • Departmental Grand Rounds: Nearly all of the clinical specialties at UCLA offer these weekly or monthly lectures, generally with speakers from UCLA but also including invited speakers from other universities, which are aimed at educating fellows, faculty, and other health care professionals.
  • CTSI K/CDA Workshop: This is an all-day workshop for junior investigators who are interested in applying for a NIH K/Career Development Award. During the morning session of the workshop, presentations are made by UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Workforce Development Program leaders. During the afternoon session, CTSI senior investigators and leaders review and discuss draft applications submitted by junior faculty and provide feedback on preparing successful K award applications on an individual basis.
  • UCLA CTSI Seminar Series Online Archive: K12 scholars can peruse the online archive for topics pertinent to the K12 curricular agenda, such as new directions in team science, study design, and biostatistical plans.
  • Big Data Training in NIH BD2K Initiative: Omics Phenotyping for Identifying Molecular Signatures of the Healthy and Failing Heart: An Integrated Data Science Platform (R35HL135772, PI: P. Ping) provides training, relevant across the translational T1–T4 spectrum, in how to transform Big Data into intelligible new scientific knowledge. The BD2K Concept Network: Open Sharing of Active-Learning and Tools Online (R25GM114822, PI: C. Lee) provides students/fellows worldwide with free online “courselets” consisting of brief videos tightly integrated with concept tests and active-learning exercises. Now an archived curriculum, the courselets comprise an online persistent-learning community unified by concepts, in which students learn from the community's consolidated error models (common errors for a specific BD2K concept), effective remediations, and counterexamples.
  • Training Institutes for Mobile Health Methodologies: This R25 curriculum development program (R25DA038167, PI: V. Shetty), designed as annual summer workshops at UCLA, provides participants with a core educational grounding in mHealth perspectives and methodologies and helps inculcate the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and attitudes necessary for transdisciplinary collaborations. The institutes combine a week-long, immersion program for the 35 participants selected each year with ongoing mentoring and facilitated collaborations to provide a continuum of active learning and collaborative experiences. K12 scholars will be eligible to apply.
  • VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) Implementation Network Cyberseminars: The VA QUERI hosts an ongoing national webinar that highlights implementation science work occurring across the VA and speakers of interest for implementation researchers. Attendance by K12 scholars will likely provide additional exposure to implementation science issues.
  • KPSC Care Improvement Research Team (CIRT) Work-in-Progress Seminars and Journal Club: These weekly sessions, directed by SPIRIT MPI Michael Gould, will provide scholars with the opportunity to present on and discuss their ongoing research projects and/or to discuss a salient peer-reviewed published clinical, translational, or population science paper that addresses the challenges of LHS research and discovery/innovation uptake.
  • KPSC Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research (CESR) Monthly Webinars: Led by renowned experts in health care quality Elizabeth McGlynn and John Adams, these online sessions cover a variety of topics each year on intervention effectiveness and patient safety. All K12 scholars will be welcome to join the discussions.


INDIVIDUALIZED (tailored to the needs of each scholar per his/her training and career development plan)

  • Training Program in Translational Science Tracks II and III: Track II (Certificate) & Track III (Master in Clinical Research) curricula provide investigators with skills to become independent investigators in clinical and/or translational research.
  • Master of Science in Public Health: The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health master’s program provides training in learning health system management, informatics, preventive medicine, health promotion, and public health practice. The MSPH curriculum includes a MS track in Dissemination, Implementation, and Improvement (DII) Science to build the needed skills in dissemination science (study of communication strategies that are designed to increase awareness and widespread use of effective policies and practices); implementation science (systematic study of planned and active approaches to implement effective practices); and improvement science (design, development, and evaluation of complex interventions to produce generalizable new knowledge related to creating and sustaining improvement in real-world settings). The courses in this track emphasize patient-centeredness and involving patients in design of care improvements and innovations
  • Additional Courses: K12 scholars may seek more technical coursework as needed, such as new and emerging digital health technologies in chronic disease care through the Departments of Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering.