Emerging Scholars Program

The Emerging Scholars Exchange Program is designed to provide career development opportunities for UCSF early career faculty via invited presentations at prestigious peer universities. Through the Exchange Program, early career faculty will have the opportunity to develop relationships with potential research collaborators, mentors, and sponsors; hone their oral presentation skills; and bolster their CVs as they prepare for promotion.

2024-2025 Call for Applications will open in Fall, 2024.


“The Emerging Scholars Program provided an amazing opportunity from a few standpoints. First, it gave me the chance to travel to another university where there are a lot of well-known people who do work in my area. I was able to meet in-person with several esteemed scholars in my field, which helped expand my own network. Not only did some of the conversations provide excellent feedback for some of my ongoing work, but I am also hopeful that several of those contacts will translate into collaboration and networking opportunities in the future. I also had the chance to put together a more comprehensive presentation that provided a larger overview of my research in a more narrative format. This helped me to get a better understanding of the context of my own work, and I am now using this presentation as the basis of other talks that go beyond the typical one-off research presentations at conferences.”

Rita Hamad, MD, PhD, 2018-2019 PRL-IHPS Emerging Scholar

“The Emerging Scholars Exchange Program provided me with an experience rarely afforded to junior faculty - the opportunity to engage in substantive discussions about my research, meet potential collaborators, and hear new ideas from faculty outside my home institution. The program has had lasting effects on my research and my career.” 

Grace Lin, MD, 2017-2018 PRL-IHPS Emerging Scholar

Program Components

Two Emerging Scholars from UCSF will be selected to give a presentation at one of our partner institutions: the University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute and the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation. In exchange, scholars from these universities will be selected to present at UCSF.

Application Requirements (Applications due 5pm, October 20, 2023)

  • ELIGIBLE FACULTY: UCSF early career faculty*, typically within the first two to four years as assistant
  • Have a robust health services research portfolio to discuss, but have not yet submitted a promotion packet
  • Be core or affiliated faculty with IHPS - self-nomination form here.

* Emerging scholar exchange candidates must be assistant professor in any faculty series. Preference will be given to applicants who have not already had multiple invited speaking opportunities at other universities.


Selected Scholars will be notified by November 30, 2023.

Completed application* includes:

1. Academic Title

2. School

3. Academic Department

4. Please list the month and year that you will plan to submit your promotion packet

5. If selected as an Emerging Scholar, I agree to serve on the IHPS Emerging Scholar selection committee for a minimum of one year.

8. Statement of interest (no more than 500 words) from the applicant describing why they want to be an Emerging Scholar, and why this opportunity is important for their professional development.

9. 2-3 proposed presentation titles including a brief description of each.

10. List of no more than 10 faculty from each peer institution (Penn and MI-IHPI) that the applicant would like to meet with during their visit if selected; including reasons why.

11. CV

Selection Process

Applicants will undergo a two-stage selection/matching process. First, an UCSF selection committee will review all applications and select 4 potential speakers. This list of potential speakers will then be sent to the partner institutions, which will rank the scholars in their order of preference for an invited lecture. From these rankings, IHPS will match two scholars with either the University of Pennsylvania or the University of Michigan - IHPI.

Applicants will be reviewed on the following criteria:

· Quality/robustness of health services research portfolio

· Novelty of proposed presentation ideas

· Case for why this opportunity is important for their professional development

· Fit between proposed work and hosting institutions

· Balance of disciplines across scholars

Selected speakers will be notified by November 30, 2023. All travel expenses will be covered by the hosting institutions; there will be NO honoraria provided for speakers.

Presentations will take place between February – May, 2024. We plan to offer the visits in-person, but there is a possibility that the presentations will take place virtually depending upon the prevailing public health guidelines.
Please send any questions to Beth Thew: (beth.thew@ucsf.edu). 

2023 Emerging Scholars

Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF Scholars selected:

Sharad Wadhwani, MD visited University of Michigan, Intitute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Erica Farrand, MD visited University of Pennsylvania, Leonard Davis Institute

Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies hosted:

Lauren Gerlach, MD,  from the University of Michigan, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Joanna Hart MD, MSHP from the University of Pennsylvania, Leonard Davis Institute

2022 Emerging Scholars

Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF Scholars selected:

Tasce Bongiovanni, MD, MPP visited University of Michigan, Intitute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Elaine Khoong, MD, MS visited University of Pennsylvania, Leonard Davis Institute

Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies hosted:

Elham Mahmoudi, PhD from the University of Michigan, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Paula Chatterjee, MD, MPH from the University of Pennsylvania, Leonard Davis Institute

2023 Emerging Scholars Visiting UCSF

Central Nervous System-Active Medication Use Among Persons Living with Dementia in Long-Term Care

Lauren Gerlach, DO, MS, is a geriatric psychiatrist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. She completed her clinical training at the University of Michigan and received additional training in health services research through the University of Michigan site of the National Clinician Scholars Program. As a geriatric psychiatrist, her research program is directly informed by her clinical work and experiences with patients, families, providers, and health systems to reduce barriers to high quality care for older adults with mental health disorders and dementia. A key area of her research is in understanding trends and appropriate use of psychotropic medications among older adults, extending to the end-of-life period. She has utilized national survey and administrative claims data to evaluate psychotropic prescribing among older adults, understand how health systems respond to warnings and policy initiatives aims at psychotropic medication prescribing, and evaluate unique challenges of delivering hospice dementia care. 

Expectations in Serious Illness: When Positive Thinking Fails

Joanna Hart, MD, MSPH, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics & Health Policy and a practicing pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses broadly on improving the serious illness experience for patients and their families. Dr. Hart is passionate about patient- and family-centered care in both her clinical work and research, which frequently focuses on patient-caregiver dyads using mixed methods.

Dr. Hart received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Northwestern University, where she also earned a Certificate of Service Learning and worked as a research assistant for Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. She received her medical degree from the University of Virginia. She completed her Internal Medicine, Pulmonary, and Critical Care training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and also earned a Masters of Science in Health Policy Research from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hart lives and works in West Philadelphia. Together with her spouse, she has two children, three rescued pets, and usually some foster kittens at home.