online learning

“Are you going to AcademyHealth?” This quick one-line quip comes up regularly and it doesn’t refer to the AcademyHealth office. What is really being asked is “Are you going to AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting (ARM)?”

If you’ve asked the first question before, it’s commonplace. However, with the conflation of the entirety of AcademyHealth and its signature event, sometimes all the additional offerings, including other conferences and events we have throughout the year, get lost in the mix. We’re here to give you an inside peak and show you how AcademyHealth is indeed #MoreThanAMeeting.

AcademyHealth is a membership association, which brings together thousands of health services and health policy researchers. Our mission is to improve health and health care for all. One of the keyways we do that is by providing our members in the health services research (HSR) field the resources needed to do their jobs, expand their networks, share their research, translate it into policy and practice, and advance in their careers.

To meet the needs of the field, we stay agile. We are consistently tweaking the information, education, and resources we are providing. We do this by staying in touch with what is challenging our members the most. In this blog post, we’ll share what we’ve learned from our members in our most recent survey as well as how we’re working to respond to identified challenges by offering online learning opportunities and follow-up resources to ensure ongoing support.

What We’re Hearing from Health Services Researchers

In a recent needs assessment of the field, the top challenges health services and health policy researchers will be facing in the next three to five years are:

  • funding for research (47 percent)
  • addressing racism in health services and health policy research (41 percent)
  • effectively disseminating research to drive impact (34 percent)
  • When presented with a list of 11 professional skills and eight research-based methods and skills topics that could be useful in professional development, survey respondents selected the following:
  • communications skills to drive impact (44 percent)
  • identifying gaps and aligning research with funder and stakeholder interest and needs (40 percent)
  • health data (data analysis and analytic tools) (34 percent)

These topics of interest align well with the professional goals respondents indicated they want to develop over the next five years, namely building the visibility of their expertise and work (52 percent), securing funding to pursue research (40 percent) and publication in top tier journals (34 percent).

bulleted list of challenges for HSR professionals

Member Engagement Activities Directly Connect to Top Challenges Identified in Recent Survey

To help members accomplish their goals and meet the needs of the field, AcademyHealth began hosting members-only online learning experiences in January 2021. Results from the needs assessment provides us with details to hyper focus member engagement activities around specific challenges health services and health policy researchers are facing. For example, given the emphasis on pursuing publication, we’ll be hosting a virtual Meet the Editors event in the fall. We also recently hosted a Field in Focus virtual event focused on Best Practices for Presenting Virtually to help members build skills in disseminating their work more effectively at online conferences.

The online learning experiences have three different formats and incorporate question and answer sessions, interactive exercises, and practical tools that can be implemented.

List of member events. See AcademyHealth website


* Meet the Editors is typically one of the most popular sessions at the Annual Research Meeting and has been moved to an online learning format to serve members throughout the year.

Reflecting both the challenges facing the field and AcademyHealth’s commitment, addressing racism in HSR will be a central focus of our offerings. AcademyHealth created the Advisory Group on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Health Services Research to ensure AcademyHealth efforts are grounded in DEI. This includes the creation of valuable education, tools, resources, and mentoring. The insights from this group of professionals will be provided to the field and embedded into the content of members only sessions.

The Field in Focus events include “Tangible Takeaways,” which provide researchers with practical tools. Our latest Tangible Takeaways are available for members to download at the links below:

Accessing These Useful Resources is Simple

Obtaining access to these members-only online learning experiences is as easy as joining AcademyHealth and keeping your membership up-to-date. Even if you’re not able to join for the live event, all presentations are recorded and archived on our website so you can revisit them at any time. Our main goal in providing these events is to help our members advance in their careers. We have heard the top challenges, goals, and training needs of HSR professionals and we’re responding by providing you with year-round education since AcademyHealth is #MoreThanAMeeting. The best part of this is activities are exclusive to AcademyHealth members and accessible at no additional cost. Meaning, your annual membership gives you access to year-round top-notch educational learning in the comfort of your own environment.

Fadia Shaya

Fadia Tohme Shaya, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Professor and Director of Informatics - University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Fadia Tohme Shaya is Professor at the University of Maryland Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, and Director of... Read Bio

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