Primary Care Research Fellowship at ZSFG

The Department of Medicine in conjunction with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco offers a Primary Care Research Fellowship designed to train physicians for careers in academic medicine and clinical research.

Director: Urmimala Sarkar, MD
Core Faculty: Christine Dehlendorf, MD, Daniel Dohan, PhD, Karla Kerlikowske, MDSteve Schroeder, MD and Veronica Yank, MD

The PCRF is a two year fellowship that provides training in clinical research (including health services research, clinical epidemiology and implementation and dissemination research) focused on primary care topics. The fellowship is open to graduates of Internal Medicine and Family and Community Medicine Residency Programs who intend to pursue careers related to primary care research. The fellowship combines rigorous academic training, mentored research, and, for physicians, clinical work (1/2 day a week in clinic and 1/2 day a week precepting). We offer training in clinical research (including health services research, clinical epidemiology and implementation and dissemination sciences) and training in applied implementation and dissemination sciences/health system redesign.

(Click to scroll to: How to Apply)


We emphasize tangible research goals. Our fellows complete and publish multiple research projects, present results at national meetings, and successfully apply for research funds. Fellows engage in rigorous graduate-level coursework offered by UCSF on research methods and policy analysis, mastering the intricate details of conducting research related to their own projects and also participating in the development and analysis of colleagues' projects through advanced scientific seminars.

We offer training in implementation and dissemination sciences through coursework and projects embedded in the clinical settings in which we work.

 We are committed to excellence in teaching and leadership. To fill in the gaps between traditional research training and the skills necessary to build a successful academic research career, we offer a faculty seminar series to address issues relevant to careers as clinician investigators and implementation scientists. Fellows also sharpen their teaching skills through presentations at the weekly conference and precepting of residents in the ambulatory care setting.

We are committed to developing the next generation of leaders in primary care research and policy. UCSF has incredible resources in primary care and health policy research.  Our fellows work on a wide variety of topics, many related to health care disparities and health system reform.  We emphasize research that is actionable and impactful.

We provide strong mentorship. Studies show that the strongest predictor of success during fellowship is a dedicated research mentor. The UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine and the Department of Family and Community Medicine are comprised of a large and diverse clinical and research faculty with a wide variety of areas of expertise. UCSF research faculty direct several active cohort studies, multi-center clinical trials, quality improvement programs, educational research studies and large secondary databases from a variety of sources that can be utilized by fellows to efficiently answer research questions.

We are committed to training the future leaders in academic primary care and primary care transformation.  In addition to extensive training in research methods and mentored research, we provide training in policy, media relations, and health system transformation. We provide hands-on career mentorship to prepare you for a highly impactful career.  Our graduates have gone on to be leaders in academic medicine, policy and public health.

We provide opportunities to network with national leaders. Fellows are supported to attend national meetings to present research and to engage with leaders of clinical investigation and implementation and dissemination sciences. This may include attending the annual national meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRAG) or the Institute for HealthCare Improvement (IHI).

Fellowship Goals:

  • Develop expertise and independence in clinical research methods and statistical analyses
  • Design and complete research project(s)
  • Prepare and present research results at a national research meeting
  • Submit research papers for publication
  • Secure independent funding for research
  • Gain skills in dissemination, including media relations and policy work
  • Develop teaching and leadership skills for a career in academic general internal medicine or family medicine

Salary, Benefits, Financial Aid


In addition to salary, all fellows receive a ~$13,000 annual housing allowance, medical insurance, disability insurance, and a discounted membership to Millberry Union, which includes a newly renovated health and fitness center as well as Outdoors Unlimited, a UCSF student-run organization that provides teaching and group outdoor experiences (sea kayaking, mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, scuba diving, sailing, etc.).

All fellows receive funds to support travel to one national conference, as well as allowances for books.

Fellows at UCSF have had great success in obtaining NIH loan repayment awards. In exchange for a two-year commitment to your clinical research career, NIH will repay up to $35,000 per year of your qualified educational debt, pay an additional 39% of the repayments to cover your Federal taxes, and may reimburse state taxes that result from these payments. Nationally, more than 1200 new and 700 renewal applications were submitted in FY 2005. Nearly 40% of the new applications and 70% of the renewal applications were funded. In FY 2005, more than 50% of awards went to applicants with M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. degrees. Also, a majority of awardees were research trainees. For many applicants with substantial debt, this program is an outstanding opportunity to increase the effective salary of the fellowship program.

How to Apply

Applications for the UCSF Primary Care Research Fellowship are accepted through the UCSF National Clinician Scholars Program's application site, with the same deadlines and same entry/start date.



Selected candidate will be invited for interviews, which generally occur on Wednesdays. Prospective candidates will meet with each of the fellowship directors and with faculty member(s) at UCSF with similar research interests. Candidates will also attend the weekly fellows Work-In-Progress session and will have an opportunity to meet informally with fellows to discuss specifics of the program. Our goal is to expose potential candidates to the full scope and atmosphere of the fellowship. The directors and current fellows will be more than happy to discuss questions before or after the interview day.