Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development - Office of Academic Affiliations
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Advanced Fellowships and Professional Development

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Fellowship Program Overview

The healthcare needs of Veterans have changed dramatically in recent years as a result of the changing nature of health risks experienced by those who have served our country in recent conflicts. At the same time, profound changes are occurring broadly in the U.S. healthcare system due to forces such as legislation like the Affordable Care Act and rapid technological advances. VA and other healthcare systems in the U.S. are redefining how care is provided to advance the "triple aim" of improving patient experiences, population health, and healthcare costs. This has created needs and opportunities for health professionals and scientists to employ skills beyond those provided in most standard professional programs: skills to advance innovation in how healthcare is provided to maximize quality, safety, and value; and to press for advances in the clinical areas of most importance to the health of our nations Veterans.

The VA Advanced Fellowship programs have been extremely important to VA's clinical, educational, and research missions and the nation's workforce and health-care needs.

  • Background
  • Program Operations
  • Applicant Requirements


In 1978, the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) began the VA Special Fellowships Program, which was renamed in 2007 to VA Advanced Fellowships Program, to accomplish the following purposes:

  • Develop physician and dentist clinical residency proficiency, academic scholarship and leadership in emerging areas of health care important to VA
  • Contribute to a talented, well trained recruitment pool for VA
  • Foster an atmosphere of scientific inquiry and excellence within VA

The Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and Fellowship Program in Geriatrics were the first fellowships started in 1978. Over the years new fellowships were added to meet emerging healthcare needs important to VA. Highly skilled in treatment and research, the pool of physicians and dentists participating in the program has made significant contributions to healthcare in VA and the nation. Notable examples include nationally recognized programs and research in geriatrics, substance abuse treatment, and spinal cord injury medicine. VA support of fellowship programs in these and other areas has changed physician and dentist training in America.

Program Operations

Physician and dentist Fellowship Program Directors manage the fellowship programs at VA facilities. Working closely with their affiliates, Program Directors plan didactic experiences, clinical rotations, and research training for the fellows. Most fellowship sites are selected through a competitive request for applications administered by OAA. Fellowship participants serve as trainee on a temporary full-time employment basis at one of the fellowship sites for the duration of the appointment period. VA provides one to three years of stipend/salary support for each fellow. Physicians fellows are paid on the PGY scale based on the number of ACGME accredited years of training completed. Associated Health fellows are paid according to the stipend table on the OAA website base on education discipline, years of education completed, and location of fellowship . The stipend is related as closely as possible to local affiliate fellowship stipend levels.

Applicant Requirements

To apply to VA's Advanced Fellowships Program, interested applicants can explore the Advanced Fellowships information, identify programs of interest and carefully review the program announcement for specific information about program eligibility. Interested candidates are encouraged to send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to the local fellowship site. Applications are processed at the local level, and OAA provides final approval. Physician applicants must have completed U.S. residency training and be board certified or board eligible physician with an active, unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. Some programs allow physicians who are not U.S. Citizens with appropriate visa/residency status to participate if no qualified U.S. Citizen has applied. Professionals from fields other than Medicine must be U.S. Citizens.



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