American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Clinical Scholars Program

Details for the ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence Program 

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) offers a two-year onsite fellowship in surgical outcomes research, health services research, and health care policy. The ACS has positions available every year for a surgical resident who has completed two or three clinical years of training and has obtained two years of program funding from his or her home institution, other granting agency, or when available, ACS project grants. The Clinical Scholar will work in multiple areas within the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care to advance the quality improvement initiatives of the ACS. The Clinical Scholar will also be able to conduct research in a variety of areas relevant to ongoing projects within the ACS. This work will further the research and policy objectives of the ACS and improve the care of surgical patients.

The primary objective of the program will be to address issues in patient safety, health care quality, and health policy that complement the priorities of the ACS. The Clinical Scholars in Residence will have the opportunity to work on projects and research within the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®), the National Cancer Database, the National Trauma Data Bank®, the Surgeon Specific Registry (SSR), and the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). Other possible projects within the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care include guideline development, accreditation programs, and health policy.

The goal of the ACS Clinical Scholar in Residence Program is to help prepare a surgical resident for a career in academic surgery through a unique, practical research and health policy experience at the American College Surgeons. The program includes the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI), Health Services and Outcomes Research, or Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety through Northwestern University’s Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and the Institute for Healthcare Studies. In addition, the Scholar will be able to participate in resident educational activities through Northwestern University’s department of surgery. The ACS offers a variety of educational programs, such as the Outcomes Research and Clinical Trials Courses that the Scholar will be able to complete.

Program Specifics


The ACS will assign internal mentors to meet regularly with the Scholar. The Scholar will also interact and be mentored by various surgeons affiliated with the ACS and the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care from across the country. As mentorship is one of the most important aspects of the fellowship, having guidance from multiple individuals from varied backgrounds will provide the best opportunity for success. In addition, there is a core of ACS staff statisticians and project analysts who will be invaluable resources for the Clinical Scholar in Residence. Information on several of the program’s mentors can be found online.

Master’s in Clinical Investigation (MSCI)

The MSCI program is designed for physicians with an interest in conducting clinical research. The coursework focuses on biostatistics, epidemiology, decision analysis, clinical trial design, paper and grant writing, peer-reviewing principles, and clinical research ethics. All coursework is done at Northwestern’s downtown campus, which is one block from the ACS headquarters. Clinical Scholars who have already completed an equivalent program may be exempt from the MSCI requirement.

Master’s in Health Services and Outcomes Research

The goal of this program is to educate clinicians to become effective health services and outcomes researchers. The Health Services and Outcomes Research program focuses on healthcare quality and outcomes, health economics and financing, health services research methods, biostatistics, and clinical epidemiology. The program can be completed in one or two years. All coursework is done at Northwestern’s downtown campus.

Master’s in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety

The goal of this program is to help clinicians become effective health care quality and patient safety thinkers, practitioners, and researchers. The Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety program will focus on these issues within institutional and health care delivery systems, as well as in the external environment that shapes health policy around quality and safety. The program takes approximately two years to complete. All coursework is done at Northwestern’s downtown campus.

Surgical Education

The Scholar will be able to continue his or her surgical education through Northwestern University’s department of surgery by attending the weekly morbidity and mortality conference and grand rounds. Scholars have the opportunity to practice their surgical skills at Northwestern’s Surgical Skills Training Lab. Multiple opportunities for clinical moonlighting exist in the Chicagoland area as well. In addition, the Scholar may be able to take the American Board of Surgery In-Service Training Examination (ABSITE) locally.

NIH Loan Repayment

The Scholar will also have the opportunity to apply for the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program which pays up to $70,000 over two years if the applicant is involved in clinical research for at least two years. This program is becoming a highly competitive process, and applications are due in the fall prior to starting the Research Fellowship. Most Clinical Scholars have been awarded this loan repayment.

Funding and Location

The Scholar must be able to provide funding in the amount of $100,000 per year for two years to cover salary, benefits, tuition, meeting travel, and administrative costs. Funding may come from the Scholar’s home institution or any other source. ACS will continue to attempt to find external funding for this position. Funding for the two years will be due on April 1, prior to the July start date.

As the Clinical Scholars work closely with the ACS staff and need to complete coursework, it is required that the Clinical Scholar move to Chicago. ACS will provide office space in its downtown Chicago headquarters. 


ACS Clinical Scholars in Residence Program
633 North Saint Clair Street, 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60611