Health Systems Science Academy

The Health Systems Science Academy (HSSA) was launched in September 2016 and is designed to develop teachers and role models in Health Systems Science within each department who will guide the new learning and practice models that are evolving for increasingly complex population-focused health care systems.

Health Systems Science includes core concepts related to health care delivery, clinical informatics, public and population health, value-based care, health system improvement, and healthcare policy. This Academy is specifically designed to develop a core group of Health Systems Science scholars, broadly representative across our departments, who will educate and guide learners from undergraduate medical students, graduate medical trainees, and faculty in learning, practicing, and teaching the core principles of Health Systems Science.

The program runs from September through May, and applications are accepted beginning in February for the coming academic year.

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About HSSA

HSSA Program Objectives Expand answer
  • Inspire and educate clinician-scholars in the field of Health Systems Science including population health, healthcare policy, clinical informatics, value-based care, health system improvement, and healthcare delivery.
  • Create Academy scholars capable of leading Health Systems Science education initiatives in Undergraduate, Graduate and Continuing Medical Education.
  • Develop leaders who apply systems thinking principles to accelerate change in education and health care delivery by conceptualizing complex challenges in health care and applying innovative solutions.
  • Develop a cadre of clinician-scholars prepared to lead improvement efforts in the health system.
  • Advance clinical practice and health outcomes for the patients and populations served by Penn State Health System.
Participants Expand answer

The program is intended for all those who interact with learners in the Penn State Health system and who are interested in developing a more holistic understanding of health care systems, based on principles of Health Systems Science.

Participants of the academy will include physicians, nurses, advanced practice clinicians, quality professionals, residents and fellow physicians, and students.

Priority will be given to applicants who have a desire to gain a deeper understanding of the vital components and their relatedness necessary for organizational excellence in healthcare delivery and a commitment to developing programs to enhance education in health systems science.

Program Faculty Expand answer

Faculty will be experienced educators and healthcare leaders. Health systems leaders, with specific domain expertise, will partner with program faculty in mentoring the participants.

Curriculum Expand answer

The curriculum will span a nine-month period between September and May and will include two key components:

  • face-to-face learning sessions
  • a longitudinal mentored project

Course sessions will be held on two Friday afternoons per month from 1 to 5 p.m.

The course seeks to provide participation with experiential learning opportunities in an environment that fosters interprofessional team skills, curiosity, Systems Thinking and a commitment to enhancing education and improving our systems of care.

The curriculum will integrate knowledge in the six domains of Health Systems Science:

  • Population and Public Health
  • Healthcare Policy, Economics and Management
  • Clinical Informatics and Health Information Technology
  • Value-Based Care
  • Health System Improvement
  • Healthcare Delivery Structures and Processes

The mentored project, which will have an educational focus, will align and reflect the needs of patients, populations and the health system.

Incorporated throughout the curriculum are activities targeted at educating in the cross-cutting domains of Teamwork, Evidence Based Medicine, Professionalism and Ethics, Scholarship, Leadership and Change Agency.

Program Benefits Expand answer

Upon program completion, scholars will have:

  • An educational work product that is relevant to solving a specific gap, need or challenge identified in their own division or department
  • Systems thinking and organizational learning competencies
  • The ability to act locally while thinking globally in the organization of the future
  • Improved awareness of and responsiveness to the larger system of healthcare
  • The tools necessary to make clinical and educational changes important in a modern healthcare environment
  • Developed the ability to collaborate effectively to identify and call on resources in the system to provide optimal healthcare
  • Learned to apply Health Systems Science concepts to generate and implement health system improvement ideas
  • Established connections with experienced faculty and professionals with proven track records in the field
Teaching Methods Expand answer

Content delivery will seek to include innovative, collaborative and transdisciplinary strategies to provide a flexible and integrated curriculum grounded in Systems Thinking principles.

Methods will include a variety of learning formats, group discussions, content expert presentations all bound by vignette-based problem solving exercises that address local and national challenges in healthcare.

Scholars will receive individualized, longitudinal mentoring in support of their self-selected projects by Woodward Center faculty, health systems content experts, and Academy faculty.

It is anticipated that scholars will take an active role in their own learning and may participate as design partners in curriculum revision.

HSSA Scholar Designation Expand answer

To obtain the official HSSA scholar designation, Academy scholars must meet the following requirements:

  • Attend at least 75 percent of the face-to-face learning sessions or design an out-of-class equivalent program with Academy faculty (prior to September 2018)
  • Complete or significantly develop a project and prepare a year-end poster for presentation
Application Process Expand answer

To participate in the Health Systems Science Academy, applicants will need the following:

  • Approval from senior leader (vice president, senior vice president) or department chair and/or division chief if appropriate
  • A completed application describing interest and intent
  • Curriculum Vitae

Application deadline is April 6, 2018.

Participants will be notified via email regarding acceptance into the Academy.

Apply to HSSA

Contact HSSA Expand answer