About Us

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) are partnering to advance learning health system scientist training. Learning health systems strengthen institutional research training, enhance diversity in the research workforce, strengthen partnerships, conduct research, and, most importantly, implement innovations that improve patient care.


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In evolving our joint efforts, we have developed the Learning Health System Embedded Scientist Training and Research (LHS E-StaR) Centers, with an investment of up to $80 million over 5 years to support learning health systems, including patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research. We are pleased to announce that for this first year, $16 million has been awarded to fund 16 centers nationwide.

Through this joint initiative, AHRQ and PCORI are following through on our mutual commitments to support learning health systems by training a new cadre of learning health system scientists. Awardees will create new models of learning health system infrastructure that will use evidence generated by these scientists' research to optimize care as quickly, broadly, and equitably as possible and ultimately improve health outcomes.

A learning health system is one in which internal data and experience are systematically integrated with external evidence, and that knowledge is put into practice. The result is that patients receive higher quality, safer, and more efficient care across the care continuum.

Learning health systems are committed to providing patients with higher quality, safer, equitable and more efficient care by applying evidence from research to promote innovation and systems change.

Nakela L. Cook, M.D., M.P.H. Executive Director, PCORI

AHRQ and PCORI are committed to advancing the infrastructure and training that learning health systems need to conduct patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) that builds evidence that meets the needs of patients and clinicians at the point of care.

LHS E-STaR Centers funded through this initiative will make efforts to recruit scientists who are representative of the diverse backgrounds and cultures of the communities they serve. The initiative will provide training and professional development for scientists in various care settings, engage communities and other health system stakeholders in novel ways, and promote research to improve health outcomes at the individual and population levels while enhancing health system operations. The scientists taking part in the initiative will work within health systems while receiving training and professional development and conduct patient-centered CER and other health research, employing the AHRQ-sponsored competencies for LHS research. They will work alongside clinical, health system, and community leaders to produce evidence that can be implemented and tested in real time at these care delivery systems.

[AHRQ and PCORI] are following through on our commitment to support learning health systems such as LHS E-STaR Centers by helping to train this new group of scientists. That investment is expected to pay off many times over in new knowledge generated and better treatments delivered to patients.

Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., M.H.S.A. Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The LHS E-StaR Centers initiative is vital to AHRQ, because it fits squarely within the Agency’s mission of making the best possible use of data and ensuring that evidence is understood and used. It’s also essential to PCORI’s mission of helping people make informed healthcare decisions and improving healthcare delivery and outcomes by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information from research guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader health and healthcare community. By establishing competencies and training for learning health system scientists, we begin to close the gap from discovery to the use of knowledge in practice and to facilitate rapid implementation of evidence to improve quality of care and patient outcomes.

AHRQ and PCORI first invested in building a corps of learning health system scientists in 2018. We partnered to fund 11 Centers of Excellence to support more than 100 learning health system scholars in conducting patient-centered outcomes research and CER, producing more than 400 publications and numerous partnerships with health systems and stakeholders across the healthcare continuum. The new awards will support building on lessons learned from that 2018 effort.

AHRQ and PCORI value continuous learning and the potential of an integrated learning health system toward the generation of new knowledge and enhanced healthcare delivery to patients.

What's Happening at PCORI?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails about opportunities to apply for funding, newly funded research studies and engagement projects, results of our funded research, webinars, and other new information posted on our site.

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