Learning Health System

Learning Health System
Elizabeth A. Shenkman, Ph.D., Director, Learning Health System Program, Co-Director, UF CTSI

Directed by Betsy Shenkman, Ph.D., the CTSI Learning Health System Program evolved from the Implementation Science Program, created in 2013 to strengthen the capacity of UF Health as a learning health system and to advance implementation science across the state. As defined by the Annual NIH Conference on Implementation and Dissemination, implementation is the use of strategies to adopt and integrate evidence-based health interventions that change practice patterns and improve health. Implementation science emphasizes outcomes that consumers, practitioners and communities value, and thus takes a patient- and community-centered approach.

The Learning Health System Program is positioned to build on the work of the Implementation Science Program and the model of the CTSI-led UF Health Personalized Medicine Program, in which implementation strategies are developed and piloted at UF Health and then adapted and tested for use in other types of health-care settings. The program collaborates with the CTSI’s statewide research partners and networks, including the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Promote research on the dissemination and implementation of clinical research findings in health-care settings in Florida;
  • Promote innovative, multidisciplinary team science that connects researchers from across the university with community clinicians and patients to conduct high-quality research in “real-world” settings;
  • Consult with researchers and community clinicians to develop research ideas and clinical problems into pragmatic trials;
  • Create a learning health system by conducting research within UF Health and disseminating the research findings to health system administrators and policymakers.

Below are highlights of the program’s activities and related resources, which will grow in support of the program goals.

Contact: Researchers, staff or students can contact Jacqueline De La Cruz at delacruz.j@ufl.edu to learn more.

Operations Committee

The Learning Health System Program’s Operations Committee is comprised of leadership, faculty and staff from UF Health and across the university, and meets monthly to set program goals and direct the program’s activities. The diverse membership of this committee is unique; the enthusiasm and dedication of its members promote the collaboration required for a successful learning health system.

Translational and Implementation Science Studios

Each semester, the program offers Translational and Implementation Science Studios, which are multidisciplinary roundtable discussions of implementation science-related research proposals and ideas. Scientists, methodologists, community clinicians, patients and research coordinators participate in the studio process and provide concrete, actionable advice. Some studios are focused on specific funding mechanisms (e.g. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute or NIH), while others are open for the discussion of any research topic or clinical problem – at any stage of development – that has the potential to be developed into an implementation research proposal.

The Citizen Scientist Program

The Citizen Scientist Program was developed to engage patients and community members as collaborators throughout the research process, including identifying study topics, study design, recruitment, retention, interpretation of the findings, and information dissemination. The program created an educational curriculum to help train new Citizen Scientists who join the group at UF or anywhere else.

UF Graduate Courses

The Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics offers the following graduate courses with a focus on implementation science (see course descriptions and syllabi):

GMS 6851 Fundamentals of Dissemination & Implementation Research 3 Letter-grade
GMS 6852 Community Engaged Research for Clinical Effectiveness and Implementation Science Studies 2 Letter-grade
GMS 6853 Improvement and Implementation Science in the Learning Health System 3 Letter-grade
GMS 6885 Translational Health Research Design 3 Letter-grade
Total   11 credits minimum

NIH Resources

Affiliated Faculty & Staff

Implementation science faculty and staff from the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy are located on the second floor of the north wing of the Clinical and Translational Research Building.