The Health Services Researcher of 2020: A Summit to Assess the Field's Workforce Needs

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Abstract

Objective. To summarize the current state of the health services research (HSR) workforce and recommend ways to improve the field's ability to respond to future challenges facing the health system.

Data. Summaries of workgroup discussions and recommendations at a stakeholder meeting.

Study Design. In late 2007, 50 educators, students, employers, and funders of HSR participated in a meeting to discuss findings of three commissioned papers on the HSR workforce. The group undertook a consultative process to develop recommendations for the field.

Principal Findings. Stakeholders developed recommendations in five major areas focused on HSR workforce needs: (1) improving the size and composition of the field; (2) understanding the growth of HSR in the private sector; (3) improving the graduate training of health services researchers, especially at the master's level; (4) expanding postgraduate training and continuing education opportunities; and (5) increasing awareness of the value of HSR.

Conclusions. Specific recommendations in the five major areas emphasized developing partnerships between HSR organizations and other professional societies or health organizations, as well as ways to improve training for the future workforce. The need to develop a “client orientation” toward research by improving communication and dissemination skills was discussed, as was the importance of improving diversity in the field.

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