Doctoral Program in Health Professions Education

Photo of Doctoral Theses


In 2010, UCSF joined in collaboration with Utrecht University Medical Center (UMC Utrecht) to offer the Doctoral Program in Health Professions Education. This collaboration makes possible a rigorous program for scholarly advancement for medical education researchers. Successful candidates graduate with a PhD in Health Professions Education from UMC Utrecht. Well-regarded medical education researchers serve as mentors.

At this time, we can only consider applications from UCSF or UCSF-affiliated faculty.
Please note at this time our 2020 cohort is filled and we anticipate our next admissions will be 2024.


Individuals eligible for the doctoral program:

  • Are a health professional with preparation in education OR
  • Are a health professions educator with a master’s degree in social or biomedical sciences.
  • UCSF or UCSF-affiliated faculty; or staff involved in health professions education; exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Are scholarly in health professions education, e.g., they have completed the UCSF Teaching Scholars Program or equivalent
  • Are proposed for the program by a program faculty member agreeing to act as the primary supervisor (promoter), based on CV, interview and research plan.
  • Publications in education research are highly desirable.
Application Process

Steps in the application process are spaced over the first year:

  1. Request an informational meeting with a doctoral program faculty member. Send your CV to CFE and a brief description of your research interest that aligns with the program.
  2. Successfully meet the criteria for the doctoral program.
    • Criteria include:
      • demonstrated capacity for conceptual thinking,
      • desire to conduct research,
      • expertise in the field (e.g., publications).
  3. Receive an invitation for a formal interview and present your research interests describing alignment with the expertise of doctoral program faculty.
  4. Upon acceptance, register in the Utrecht University research documentation system MyPhD.
  5. Complete a Training and Supervision Agreement (TSA) with guidance from assigned faculty mentors from UCSF and Utrecht.
  6. Demonstrate sufficient skill development to advance in the program during the first year of enrollment.
Program Faculty and Areas of Research

Broadly speaking, CFE medical education research faculty focus on several key areas with attention to how this research aligns with improving education at UCSF and beyond. These key areas will evolve as we collaborate with other researchers at UCSF, regionally, nationally, and internationally. However, each faculty member has specific research interests and expertise.

Current Participants and Graduates
Name Title and Department Thesis
Judith Bowen, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine, Washington State University, Associate Dean for Curriculum at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine On Discontinuity and Learning: Investigations of Physicians’ Responses to Transitions of Patient Care Responsibility (2019)
Huiji Carrie Chen, MD, PhD

Associate Dean for Assessment and Director of Educational Research, Georgetown University School of Medicine

Early Learner Engagement in the Clinical Workplace (2015)
Amber Fitzsimmons, DPTSc

Associate Professor and Chair, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, UCSF School of Medicine
(Entry Year - 2018)

Leslie Floren, PharmD, MA Academic Coordinator, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, UCSF School of Pharmacy
(Entry Year - 2015)
Tracy Fulton, PhD Professor, Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF School of Medicine
(Entry Year - 2020)
Brian Gin, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, UCSF School of Medicine
​​​​​​​(Entry Year - 2020)
Karen Hauer, MD, PhD

Associate Dean for Competency Assessment and Professional Standards, UCSF School of Medicine

Evaluating Clinical Trainees in the Workplace. On Supervision, Trust and the Role of Competency Committees (2015)
Kai Kennedy, DPT Associate Professor, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, UCSF Graduate Division
​​​​​​​(Entry Year - 2021)
Carter Lebares, MD Assistant Professor, Surgery, UCSF School of Medicine
​​​​​​​(Entry Year - 2020)
Lauren Maggio MS(LIS), PhD

Associate Professor and Associate Director of Distributed Learning and Technology of the Graduate Programs in Health Professions Education, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Educating Physicians in Evidence-Based Medicine: Current Practices and Curricular Strategies (2015)
Lynnea Mills, MD Associate Professor, Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine
​​​​​​​(Entry Year - 2018)
Justin Sewell, MD, MPH, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine A Critical Lens for Examining Procedural Skills Training in the Health Professions – The Case of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (2019)
Jody Steinauer, MD, PhD Professor and Vice-Chair of Education, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, UCSF School of Medicine
Director, UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health
Learning to Care for “Difficult Patients”: Motivation, Identity, and Reflection in Medical Students and Residents (2019)
Gustavo Valbuena, MD, PhD Clinical Associate Professor, Joint Medical Program, UC Berkeley School of Public Health and UCSF School of Medicine
​​​​​​​(Entry Year - 2018)
John Young, MD, MPP, PhD

Professor and Vice-Chair for Education, Department of Psychiatry, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Using Cognitive Load Theory to Understand and Improve Patient Handoffs (2016)


Doctoral Program Administrative Coordinator, Maria Pappas at