Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Scholarly Inquiry Tracks

Students select one of the Scholarly Inquiry tracks in late October of their first year (with an option to switch into a different track at the end of their second or third year).  Within each track, students receive training in a wide range of research domains and topics, and complete self-directed scholarly projects under the supervision of faculty mentors. 

The current tracks include:

Clinical & Translational Research (CTR)

The Clinical and Translational Research track is designed to use the precepts of the scientific method to develop critical thinking skills. Modern medicine is based upon a foundation of science. Physician scientists identify clinical practice needs that drive new research, and play a key role in producing and translating scientific discovery to the care of patients. Student research work involves hypothesis-driven research with an advisor, augmented by a program mentor, and a curriculum of core research topics.

This track is ideal for those interested in:

  • using scientific inquiry to develop critical thinking skills.
  • advancing the status of current scientific knowledge.
  • developing lifelong skills in evaluating and using medical research.
  • pursuing a career in academic medicine.

Contact Us

Wayne Bond Lau, MD
Director
Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine

Phone: (215) 955-6844
E-mail: WayneBond.Lau@jefferson.edu

Francesca Valente
Education Coordinator

Phone: (215) 955-6844
E-mail: Francesca.Valente@jefferson.edu

Design (DES)

The Design track teaches design and creative problem solving methods and it aims to equip the next generation of doctors with the skills and confidence to transform healthcare systems, services, spaces, and devices. As part of a broader Medicine+Design initiative at Jefferson, the track draws from diverse fields, including architecture, industrial design, and systems engineering. Workshops and content are dynamic, incorporating the latest techniques from emerging design and healthcare movements, such as e-patients, DIY makers, design thinking, and rapid prototyping.

During their first two years, students master essential concepts and methods through hands-on workshops, field immersions, and real-world projects, facilitated by professionals from leading organizations (which, in the past, have included Little Devices Lab at MIT, Steelcase, KieranTimberlake, School of Visual Arts NYC, and others). During their final two years, students independently pursue applied research and development projects in areas of their choosing, giving them an opportunity to make a concrete and lasting impact on their industry before graduation.

The track is ideal for students who have:

  • Desire to build bridges across diverse fields, such as architecture, industrial design, and systems engineering, and the practice of medicine.
  • Demonstrated curiosity about topics outside their field of study.
  • Confidence with and interest in learning new technologies.
  • Proficiency with at least one visual design or presentation tool (PowerPoint, InDesign, Illustrator, Keynote, Prezi, etc.).
  • Strong interpersonal and team collaboration skills.
  • Comfort voicing opinions and speaking in front of small groups.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity, able to self-direct and also ask for help when needed.
  • Experience working and communicating in a professional office-based environment.

Contact Us

Bon S. Ku, MD, MPP
Director
Associate Professor

Phone: (215) 955-6844
Email: Bon.Ku@jefferson.edu

Andrea Landau
Education Coordinator

Phone: (215) 955-6844
Email: Andrea.Landau@jefferson.edu

Digital Health (DH)

The Digital Health track trains students in ways that new disruptive technology can be used to promote health and well-being. The broad scope of digital health includes (but is not limited to) mobile health, health information technology, wearable devices, telehealth, and telemedicine. This track is designed to help future physicians improve clinical care and patient outcomes through the use of new technologies, in collaboration with a variety of stakeholders, including developers, payors, healthcare professionals, and patients. Students independently pursue applied research and development projects in areas of their choosing within the digital health space often in close linkage with various Jefferson initiatives, such as Jefferson Innovation programs and the Center for Digital Innovation and Consumer Experience (CDICE).

The track is ideal for students who have:

  • Interest in disruptive innovations and new applications that may not be currently well defined.
  • Confidence with and interest in learning new technologies.
  • Desire to develop skills to critically appraise new technologies.
  • Interest in collaborations within multi-disciplinary teams.

Contact Us

Adam Dicker, MD, PhD
Director,
Professor,
Department of Radiation Oncology

Phone: (215) 955-6702
Email: Adam.Dicker@jefferson.edu

Andrea Landau
Education Coordinator

Phone: (215) 955-6844
Email: Andrea.Landau@jefferson.edu

Health Policy (HP)

Health policy describes the legal, regulatory and political processes that determine the structure of the health care delivery system, the scope of professional practice, how health care is paid for, and the roles various decision makers, stakeholders and other influencers play in the policymaking process.

The Health Policy track is designed for students who wish to develop an understanding of the seen and unseen levers that shape and guide public policy as it relates to health care and population health. Students identify the elements and principal modalities of policy development and demonstrate how each is employed, through analysis of legislative, regulatory, or budgetary health policy proposals. The track explores how various stakeholders interact to shape and direct the structure and financing of our healthcare system. Working in teams and individually, students examine complex policy problems, conduct economic, political, and value analyses to determine effective policy approaches. They also meet with policymakers and stakeholders to foster a real-world understanding of how policy is developed and implemented.

The track is ideal for students who have:

  • Interest in the policy processes that shape and drive medical practice and health outcomes.
  • Desire to promote change.
  • Passion for health advocacy.
  • Willingness to challenge fundamental beliefs in the face of objective evidence.
  • Ability to compromise and find common ground.
  • Understanding of the political process.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.

Contact Us

Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH
Director
Assistant Professor
College of Population Health

Phone: (215) 955-1708
Email: Drew.Harris@jefferson.edu

Nobuko Iijima
Education Coordinator

Phone: (215) 955-7757
Email: Nobuko.Iijima@jefferson.edu

Healthcare Systems (HS)

The Healthcare Systems track is designed to prepare a physician workforce for 21st century healthcare by advancing student understanding of and ability to assess the effectiveness of current models of care and policies that support these care delivery models. The track promotes excellence in systems thinking and healthcare delivery through participation in and assessment of innovations in care models and practice transformation.

Students are partnered with real-world collaborative practice teams, community agencies, policy experts, care coordinators, faculty, information and technology teams, and biostatisticians to improve their understanding of current care models. They participate in a number of interactive collaborative practice learning activities, including seminars, hands-on workshops, simulation exercises, virtual platform experiences, community agency site visits, and attendance at quality and safety meetings and conferences. They also develop a robust scholarly portfolio by attending and contributing to monthly inter-professional research committee meetings, soliciting and reviewing articles as student editors on the peer-reviewed Jefferson newsletter, Collaborative Healthcare, and by working with curricular design teams to monitor, assess and assist with continuous quality improvement for curricular innovation at Jefferson. Team-based and independent research opportunities are designed and completed in partnership with a faculty project advisor, and publication and presentation of research findings at local and national conferences is expected.

Students in the track should ideally have:

  • Interest in understanding the role of health policy in the care of complex patients.
  • Ability to pursue independent and group projects and to maximize faculty mentorship.
  • Willingness to be trained in participating and leading inter-professional small group sessions.
  • Proficiency with data analysis, or ability to learn and apply new technologies.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, with a specific interest in working as part of a diverse team and partnering with patients, families, and communities to advance population health outcomes.
  • Excellent writing skills with a track record or strong interest in publishing scholarly work and pursuing a future career in academic medicine.

Contact Us

Brooke E. Salzman, MD
Director,
Associate Professor,
Department of Family and Community Medicine

Phone: (215) 955-6664
Email: Brooke.Salzman@jefferson.edu

Nobuko Iijima
Education Coordinator

Phone: (215) 955-7757
Email: Nobuko.Iijima@jefferson.edu

Humanities (HUM)

The Humanities track offers students an opportunity to pursue a self-directed course of creative practice and research with a focus on the arts and humanities, in parallel with their medical education. As part of a broader Medicine+Humanities initiative at Jefferson, the track’s program is guided by the principle that the arts and humanities provide a rich context for practicing habits of mind related to observation, interpretation, and reflection, which are as essential to the successful practice of medicine as mastery of basic science and other clinical skills. Students work closely with professional artists, as well as Jefferson-affiliated faculty, to build technical and conceptual skills in the arts and humanities and carry out an independent capstone project.

The track is ideal for students interested in:

  • Applying their non-science background to their study of medicine.
  • Building relationships with the Philadelphia artist community.
  • Developing conceptual and technical skills related to integrating arts and humanities into the practice of medicine.

Contact Us

Salvatore Mangione, MD
Director
Associate Professor
Department of Medicine

Phone: (215) 503-4231
Email: Salvatore.Mangione@jefferson.edu

Megan Voeller, MA
Director
Director of Humanities

Phone: (215) 503-9050
Email: Megan.Voeller@jefferson.edu

Andrea Landau
Education Coordinator

Phone:  (215) 503-6844
Email: Andrea.Landau@jefferson.edu

Medical Education (ME)

The Medical Education track is designed for students seeking advanced training in pedagogy and learning theory, instructional design, medical simulation, and curriculum development. The goal of the track is to prepare a student for a career as an educational leader in academic medicine.

Informed by the principles of experiential learning, transformative learning, and self-directed learning, the track offers students the skillset to adapt to an ever-changing learning environment and educational landscape. The track provides formalized training in adult learning in clinical and academic medicine, and leverages simulation training, patient safety / clinical quality tools, and point-of-care technologies as vehicles to inform educational initiatives in undergraduate and graduate curricula. In addition, students identify a specific area of academic interest in the realm of medical education, and are provided with the tools and mentorship to pursue scholarship in that domain.

Throughout all track activities, students are immersed in opportunities that promote self-reflection on the parameters of teaching and learning, including educational philosophy, personality, emotional intelligence, and communication skills. During their first two years, students master essential concepts in pedagogy through hands-on workshops, field immersions, self-reflection exercises, and real-world projects facilitated by Jefferson faculty, as well as invited faculty from Columbia University’s Teachers College, the New York City Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning (IMSAL), and academic institutions across the Philadelphia region. During their final two years, students independently pursue research in medical education, in an area of their choosing.

Students in the track should ideally have:

  • Interest in understanding pedagogy and topics in medical education.
  • Interest in developing lifelong skills to be effective medical educators.
  • Desire to openly reflect on their personalities, learning preferences, and assumptions.
  • Confidence with and interest in learning new technologies.
  • Proficiency with at least one visual design or presentation tool (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.).
  • Strong interpersonal and team collaboration skills.
  • Comfort in working both independently and in teams.
  • Comfort in speaking in front of small and large groups.
  • Comfort in openly receiving formative feedback from and providing feedback to peers.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Interest in pursuing a career in academic medicine.

Contact Us

Dimitrios Papanagnou, MD, MPH
Director
Associate Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine

Phone: (215) 955-4079
Email: Dimitrios.Papanagnou@jefferson.edu

Population Health Research (PHR)

The Population Health Research track is designed to provide an understanding of how social, political, and economic factors determine the health and health outcomes of individuals, communities, and populations. The track draws from epidemiology, biostatistics, social and behavioral science, health services research and evaluation, environmental health, health policy, and advocacy, to enhance the skills of future physicians. Students work closely with faculty engaged in public health activities in the US and abroad, and/or with partner organizations addressing the health of their communities.

The track is ideal for students interested in:

  • Incorporating culturally relevant information into a treatment plan for a patient.
  • Identifying community support and resources to serve patients.
  • Coordinating health care services as members of multidisciplinary teams.
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles among patients and in the community.
  • Promoting primary and secondary prevention.
  • Advocating for the needs of patients and the community.
  • Conducting population health research/evaluation.
  • Working in partnership with community-based agencies and organizations.

Contact Us

Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH
Director
Assistant Professor
Department of Family and Community Medicine

Phone: (215) 955-2396
Email: Rickie.Brawer@jefferson.edu

James Plumb, MD, MPH
Director
Professor
Department of Family and Community Medicine

Phone: (215) 955-6340
Email: James.Plumb@jefferson.edu

Nobuko Iijima
Education Coordinator

Phone: (215) 955-7757
Email: Nobuko.Iijima@jefferson.edu