Action Research Program

DISCONTINUED The ARP pilots have been completed. They contributed substantially to the Bridges Curriculum plans.

UCSF's Action Research Program (ARP) was a year-long experiential training course in Implementation Science for first and second year medical students. A multidisciplinary team of implementation scientists and medical students collaborated with different clinical practices to design and test new care delivery system strategies, with the goal of reducing costs, improving the quality of care, and enhancing patients' experience. The program's focus was on generating solutions to practical problems and its ability to engage health care providers in research activities and intervention design and implementation.

In 2013-14, ARP piloted strategies to integrate early-stage medical students into the health care delivery system, and gained important insights into the best ways to add this type of training and service to the medical school curriculum for future classes of students.

Faculty and staff team members for 2013-14 included:

Action Research Program received initial funding from the 2012 CTSI Annual Pilot Awards to Improve the Conduct of Research and is supported by the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value (CHV) Delivery Systems Initiative. View the pilot proposal.

With generous support from the Rotasa Foundation, the Action Research Program was replicated at San Francisco General Hospital in 2014.


Cardiology at Mission Bay (2013-2014)

Designed for first year UCSF medical students.

Applications have been received and the application process is now closed. Accepted students will be notified before September 1, 2013.

The project will give students experience in the cardiology delivery system at the Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center (CCPC). Students will help with data collection, program design, analysis and interpretation of results. Other student responsibilities may include:

  • Pre-visit telephone encounters with patients to prepare them for their visit (many patients drive from hours away for second opinions, for example)
  • Assisting with patient triage and helping patients move through their visit: evaluating a patient for their chief complaint, past medical issues, clinical concerns, reviewing their medications, performing vital signs, learning to perform an electrocardiogram, etc.
  • Patient education and follow-up: Educating a patient about their disease, finding resources for them to learn more, performing post-visit telephone calls to find out if they have questions about procedures that have been ordered, discussing test results, assessing medication adherence, for example.
  • Students may in the course of their elective find areas for improving patient experience, staff or faculty efficiency and overall clinic operations. They can work with the clinic chief and faculty mentors to develop and implement changes in real time.

The time commitment is Tuesday afternoons at Mission Bay on a weekly basis for a 12 week rotation in clinic. In addition, there are Implementation Science Team meetings. Students will receive partial Foundations of Patient Care (FPC) credit for participation in the program.

Participating medical students: Sarah Cheng, Thomas Gaither, Jill Hagey, Lauren Hennein, Faizan Malik, Brian Shaw, Norver Trinidad, Greg Zahner (all MS1)

Endocrinology at Parnassus (2012-2013)

Trainees were integrated into the implementation science team for data collection, analysis, interpretation and system redesign. The project goal was to develop a rapid-cycle improvement program for the Endocrinology Clinic to increase new patient access, with these characteristics:

  • Financially self-sustaining
  • Acceptable to patients
  • Acceptable to clinic staff
  • Acceptable to specialists

View the project results/poster.

The project was 1 of 4 winning projects in the School of Medicine’s Quality & Safety Innovation Challenge.

Participating medical students: Sunny Lai, Caterina Yuan, Evie Kalmar, Laura Cantino

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