The Quality, Safety, and Comparative Effectiveness Research Training in Primary Care (QSCERT-PC) postdoctoral fellowship training program is for board-certified/eligible primary care practitioners and PhD scholars. QSCERT-PC is supported by National Research Service Award (NRSA) funding for primary care research training, from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The goal of the University of California, Davis QSCERT-PC program is to prepare the next generation of leaders in primary care research. This multi-disciplinary collaborative training program fosters career development of clinicians trained in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, nursing, nutrition, obstetrics/gynecology, and/or psychiatry. PhD-prepared social and quantitative scientists interested in addressing research questions related to HRSA clinical priorities, including health care quality, safety and value, telehealth, mental health access, the opioid epidemic, maternal health, and workforce transformation are also encouraged to join us.

By offering rigorous training in a vibrant interprofessional, multidisciplinary environment that values diversity, QSCERT-PC trainees acquire experience needed to make important contributions to primary care research and population health. Graduates of this program acquire skills in clinical, statistical, and social sciences to improve care for underserved populations, focusing on clinical, as well as system-level interventions to strengthen primary care.

The QSCERT-PC Program is a postdoctoral training program for promising researchers who have completed a doctoral-level degree but are not yet ready for faculty appointment. Scholars participate in a two-year course that provides advanced practical training in grant-writing, project management, critical assessment, human subjects policies, and faculty development.

In addition to the core curriculum and career development components, scholars receive research mentorship and training in one of five different tracks. These tracks include research in comparative effectiveness, quality and safety, women’s health, inter-professional research, and health economics. Each track has its own requirements and is tailored to the scholar’s prior experience, training (i.e. M.D. vs. Ph.D.), and individual learning needs. Scholars are encouraged to obtain a Master of Public Health, Master of Health Informatics, or a Master of Advanced Study in Clinical Research degree.

Objective 1: To recruit and train a diverse cohort of 10-15 talented individuals in primary care research, allowing production of peer-reviewed publications within 2 years of beginning training.

  • Each trainee will develop skills in primary care research and an understanding of HRSA’s clinical priorities by participating in seminar series, journal clubs, and selected courses.
  • Each trainee will successfully complete at least one mentored research project, present the results at a national meeting, and draft at least 2 high-quality manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals.

Objective 2: To support graduates in pursuing careers that will shape primary care practice, education and research for years to come with the goal of improving health outcomes and equity.

  • To increase the diversity of the primary care research workforce by graduating at least 5 trainees from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • To increase the diversity of the primary care research workforce by placing at least 3 trainees in positions outside primary care departments in Schools of Medicine. 

Program eligibility

By the time of program entry, eligible applicants should have completed:

  • An accredited residency program in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychology, or obstetrics/gynecology
  • A Ph.D. or similar doctoral degree in nursing, public health, health services, or other relevant social or qualitative science

Scholars are selected based on a competitive application process in which academic qualifications, career goals, and the quality of the training environment are important considerations for funding. The program is limited each year to a few select applicants. Trainees can start at any time of year, mutually approved by the Fellow and the Program Co-Directors.

There is no current call for QSCERT-PC Fellowship applications.

  1. Quality, safety, and comparative effectiveness research in primary care. Patrick S. Romano, MD, MPH, FAAP, FACP, is a national expert in quality measurement who remains committed to fostering the career development of QSCERT-PC trainees. In addition, Jeffrey Hoch, PhD, a health economist and dynamic teacher who has capably co-directed the QSCERT-PC program for the last five years will continue to guide UC Davis fellows in understanding, applying and critiquing the tools of health economic analysis, including analyzing costs and outcomes, cost-effectiveness modeling, and net benefit regression to compare the effectiveness of interventions in primary care, including patient education and activation interventions, as well as system-level interventions to improve the coordination and management of care.


  1. Telehealth research in primary care. James Marcin, MD, MPH, who directs the UC Davis Telehealth program and Center for Health and Technology will support fellows interested in studying technology-enabled care coordination involving preventive health, mental health, primary care, and social services, and the role of advanced practice nurses and home care nurses in improving primary care services for vulnerable elders. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s Katherine Kim, PhD, MPH, MBA will also support QSCERT-PC trainees with expertise in technology-enabled chronic illness self-management and care coordination.


  1. Mental Health Access training will be led by Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH, who has led evaluations of state mental health programs related to early psychosis and crisis intervention. Dr. Melnikow will be joined by Julie Schweitzer, PhD, who conducts research in behavioral, cognitive and pharmacological interventions for persons with ADHD and autism across the life span at the ADHD Clinic within the UC Davis MIND Institute. Both Dr. Melnikow and Dr. Schweitzer have more than a decade of experience leading multidisciplinary clinical research training programs, and mentoring fellows interested in the intersections between primary care and mental health, including the identification and treatment of challenges of impulsivity, inattention and problems with cognitive and emotional regulation in children and adults.


  1. Addressing the Opioid epidemic. Trainees interested in research to mitigate the opioid epidemic will benefit from the expertise of Stephen Henry, MD, MS in analyzing prescription drug monitoring program data to develop risk prediction models for opioid overdose. Dr. Henry brings to this project experience evaluating statewide opioid overdose prevention efforts in California and the impact of California’s mandatory prescription drug monitoring program use law on prescribing and overdose rates. Josh Fenton, MD, MPH and Alicia Agnoli, MD, MPH, MHS will provide our fellows with additional expertise related to tapering long-term opioid therapy.


  1. Maternal Health. QSCERT-PC trainees interested in research to prevent and reduce maternal mortality will benefit from the mentorship of Susan Brown, PhD, as well as PI/PD, Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS, and Chair of Human Ecology, Leigh Ann Simmons, PhD, MFT, in addition to the resources available through UC Davis’ Perinatal Origins of Disparities (POD) Center, which recognizes the perinatal period as a critical window in which to prevent health disparities. Faculty affiliated with the POD center focus on biobehavioral, epidemiological, clinical and community-based interventions to better understand – and ultimately intervene in – prenatal and early life factors that affect later life health, specifically factors that disproportionately impact disadvantaged communities. In addition, UC Davis’ Feminist Research Institute offers trainees a collaborative, trans-disciplinary research hub for exploring how race, gender, sexuality, and other social structures inform the design, execution, and interpretation of research related to maternal health.


  1. Workforce transformation is a priority for UC Davis as an institution. Trainees interested in developing primary care research careers with this focus will be guided by Erik Fernandez y Garcia, MD, MPH, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s Katherine Kim, PhD, MPH, MBA, as well as Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Hendry Ton, MD, MS. Our trainees also benefit from the experience of Deb Bakerjian, PhD, APRN, Mark Henderson, MD and Tonya Fancher, MD, in developing innovative pipeline programs such as our ongoing California Oregon Medical Partnership to Address Disparities in Rural Education and Health (COMPADRE) program. In addition, Serena Yang, MD, MPH, MS offers QSCERT-PC trainees experience with developing curriculum for interprofessional audiences targeting knowledge and skills development in primary care approaches to developmental, behavioral, and social-emotional health.

Our QSCERT-PC Trainees are offered a breadth of experience from more than fifty accomplished faculty mentors throughout UC Davis. Each of these outstanding faculty members are highly qualified to support the career development of the next generation of primary care researchers and leaders.


Faculty mentors for UC Davis post-doctoral scholars in primary care research

Daniel Tancredi, Ph.D.

Biostatistics and Study Design

Ulfat Shaikh, M.D., M.P.H.

Quality Improvement

Shin-Ping Tu, M.D., M.P.H.

Implementation Science

Thomas Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H.

Telehealth and family medicine

Michelle Hamline, M.D., Ph.D.


Jennifer Rosenthal, M.D., M.A.S.


Laura Kair, MD, M.A.S.

Telehealth and breastfeeding

Peter Yellowlees, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Telehealth and Mental Health

Sergio Aquilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D.

Mental health Access

Carolyn S Dewa, Ph.D. M.P.H.

Mental Health Access

Ruth Shim, M.D., M.P.H.

Mental Health Access; Workforce Transformation

Ladson Hinton, M.D.

Mental Health

Tara Niendam, Ph.D.

Mental Health

Julie Schweitzer, Ph.D.

Mental Health

Peter Franks, M.D., M.P.H.

Opioid epidemic; Mental health

Anthony Jerant, M.D.

Opioid epidemic; Mental health

Alicia Agnoli M.D., M.P.H., M.H.S.

Opioid epidemic

Joshua J. Fenton, M.D., M.P.H.

Opioid epidemic

Richard Kravitz, M.D., M.S.P.H.

Opioid epidemic; Doctor patient communication

Michelle Dossett, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Doctor patient communication

Theresa A. Harvath, Ph.D., R.N.

Family Caregiving; Nursing

Elizabeth Magnan, M.D., Ph.D.

Multimorbidity and Family Medicine

Janice Bell, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Nursing and Nutrition

Theresa Keegan, Ph.D., M.S.

Cancer epidemiology

Elisa Tong, M.D., M.A.

Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation

Melanie Dove, M.P.H., ScD

Maternal Health and Tobacco

Elaine Waetjen, M.D.

Maternal Health and Aging

Mitchell Creinin, M.D.

Maternal Health

Melissa Chen, M.D., M.P.H.

Maternal Health

Leigh Anne Simmons, Ph.D., M.F.T.

Maternal Health; Human Ecology

Jennifer Karlin, M.D., Ph.D.

Maternal health and Medical anthropology

Laura M. Kester, M.D., M.P.H.

Adolescent Health

Robert Byrd, M.D.


Christopher Kim, M.D., M.P.H.


Mikah Owen, M.D., M.P.H.

Pediatrics and Workforce Transformation

Tonya Fancher, M.D., M.P.H.

Workforce Transformation

Deb Bakerjian, Ph.D., A.P.R.N.

Workforce Transformation

Alicia Gonzalez-Flores, M.D.

Workforce Transformation

Mark Henderson, M.D.

Workforce Transformation

Serena Yang, M.D., M.P.H.

Workforce Transformation

Rebecca Howe

Rebecca Howe, MD Dr. Howe is a recent graduate (’21) and former Chief Resident in UC Davis Family and Community Medicine. She is completing a QSCERT-PC fellowship while also participating in the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program (MCRTP).  Her research focuses on caregiver involvement in advanced care planning and health decisions with a focus on telehealth. She participates in seminars and coursework related to health outcomes and research methodology and learns from an interprofessional team of mentors and colleagues. She also sees patients in clinic and precepts residents. She enjoys developing longitudinal relationships with her patients and serving as a care coordinator for patients with multiple medical concerns.

Katherine Glaser

Katherine Glaser, M.D., M.P.H. is a board-certified OBGYN who comes to UC Davis after serving the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona as a Medical Officer for many years. Dr. Glaser received her undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi as HIV/AIDS caused devastation for families and communities in sub-Saharan Africa. She went on to obtain her MD, MPH, and residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Arizona. Her fellowship interests better serving Native American women, managing early pregnancy loss in rural settings and exploring understanding of and compliance with the Hyde Amendment in federally funded health centers caring for survivors of sexual assault. 

Brittany Chatterton

Brittany Chatterton, M.D. recently served as chief resident for the UC Davis Internal Medicine Residency program after completing her medical training at UC Davis where she was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Dr. Chatterton received her undergraduate degree with honors from UC Davis in Exercise Biology. Currently, her research interests include prioritizing provision of preventive health services in primary care practice, medical education, and developing hospital discharge summaries that are useful in helping primary care providers reducing risks of readmission. Dr. Chatterton plans to complete a Master of Advanced Studies in clinical research through the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program in 2022.

Renata Abrahão, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., returns for her second year of training with the QSCERT-PC program under the mentorship of Dr Theresa Keegan, with the UC Davis Division of Hematology/Oncology. After working as a clinician in Brazil for several years, Dr. Abrahão earned a master’s degree in Global Health Science from UCSF, a PhD in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and spent one year as a postdoctoral at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO) in Lyon, France.  Dr. Abrahão’s research is focused on developing health policies to enhance cancer outcomes and decrease health disparities, especially among pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. In 2020, her abstract titled “Late effects following non-Hodgkin lymphoma in HIV-uninfected and HIV-Infected adolescents and young adults: a population-based study” received special recognition by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) 

Adrienne Hoyt-Austin, D.O. is a general pediatrician returning for her 2nd year of training with the QSCERT-PC under the mentorship of Dr. Laura Kair and Dr. Caroline Chantry. Dr. Hoyt-Austin focuses on breastfeeding medicine and clinical education and plans to complete a Master of Advanced Studies in clinical research through the Mentored Clinical Research Training Program in 2021. In her first year of Dr. Hoyt-Austin received funding from the Western Region Association of Pediatric Program Directors to conduct a randomized evaluation of Hybrid telesimulation with standardized patients for Breastfeeding Education of Pediatric and Family Medicine trainees, in addition she presented a poster of analyses she conducted of data collected by the National Survey of Family Growth.

Anne Clarke White

Anne Clark White, Ph.D., is a Medical Sociologist focused on doctor-patient communication. Since 2017, Dr. White has worked closely with the Dr. Stephen Henry and Dr. Richard Kravitz of UC Davis’ Division of General Internal Medicine to analyze qualitative data from primary care visits with patients using opiates to treat chronic pain with the goal of identifying challenges and successes in establishing therapeutic alliances for patients suffering from chronic pain.  Over the past year, Dr. White presented a poster titled “Negotiation of opioid prescribing in primary care visits” at the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare in San Diego and had a paper titled “Making the most of video recorded clinical encounters: Optimizing impact and productivity through interdisciplinary work” accepted for publication in Patient Education and Counseling.

Sarah Kahle

Sarah Kahle, M.A., Ed.M., Ph.D., has accepted a position as a post-doctoral scholar with the UC Davis MIND Institute - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics’ CAARE Diagnostic and Treatment Center, after 3 years of training with the QSCERT-PC program. Dr. Kahle is a psychologist who completed her PhD in Developmental Psychology at UC Davis, following a 3-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Dr. Kahle previously earned an EdM degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research is focused on developing effective, brief interventions for children with emotional and behavioral difficulties, and determining how self-regulation can be addressed in primary care. 

Ronit Ridberg, Ph.D., has accepted a position as a post-doctoral scholar at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, after 2 years with the QSCERT-PC program, where she will continue to be mentored by Associate Dean for Research Janice Bell as well as Fred Meyers, director for the UC Davis Health Center for Precision Medicine and Data Sciences, where Ridberg manages the center’s Precision Nutrition Program. Dr. Ridberg’s current research includes evaluation of programs in and outside the clinical setting which aim to address food insecurity, improve dietary consumption and manage chronic disease. Ridberg also serves as an adjunct research scientist offering expert guidance on produce prescription programs and metrics to The Nutrition Incentive Hub, a new national resource for those working to launch or expand nutrition incentive programs.

Seonhwa Lee, Ph.D., has accepted a position as a marriage and family counselor, after completing 2 years with the QSCERT-PC program mentored by Leigh Ann Simmons, Ph.D., M.F.T., Professor and Chair, UC Davis Department of Human Ecology. Dr. Lee plans to continue to leverage her cross-cultural educational and clinical experiences to develop research projects which focus on understanding the social and cultural needs of patients with chronic diseases by collaborating with a research team from Minnesota State University, Mankato to develop, “Family Programs to Benefit Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus” for a Minnesota School District.