PLEASE NOTE: INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING ARE AT THE TOP
AND BOTTOM OF THIS DESCRIPTION. PLEASE DO NOT APPLY THROUGH THIS
You can access all forms and apply
The Phyllis Torda Health Care Quality and Equity Fellowship
Program enables NCQA to train a new generation of leaders from
diverse backgrounds. NCQA recognizes that strength comes through
diversity and actively seeks and welcomes applicants with diverse
backgrounds, experiences and identities.
The fellowship celebrates the life and work of Phyllis Torda,
who was an NCQA employee from 1995–2015. Phyllis was an
enthusiastic champion for change and was devoted to improving our
national health care system. Her work included efforts to promote
the use of electronic health records and patient-reported outcomes
for performance measurement, and new strategies and methodologies
for physician measurement.
The Phyllis Torda Fellow will work on critical issues related to
health care quality and equity, including:
- Health care disparities among disadvantaged populations,
especially among disenfranchised racial and ethnic minorities.
- Social determinants of health, social risks, health inequities
and culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
- Telehealth and health information technology and their impact
on care access and coordination.
- Patient-reported outcomes, goals of care attainment, care
planning, clinical decision making and patient experience with
- Value-based care and payment and health care system
accountability to quality, equity and cost of care.
- Quality measurement and improvement in behavioral health.
- Maternal and child health, morbidity and mortality.
- Health care delivery transformation in practices and health
The fellowship is a 12-month, full-time program that will be
conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows
participate remotely from anywhere in the United States. NCQA is
well equipped to ensure that its teleworking staff and fellows are
integrated into the team and are supported in their work.
The fellowship is housed in NCQA’s Research & Analysis
department, whose mission is to develop methods and conduct
research to advance knowledge and promote thought leadership in
health care quality. Research & Analysis engages in projects to
inform national policy and programs, assists in development of
relevant quality measures and generate usable products to support
delivery of high-quality care.
The fellowship comprises four key components:
- Mentorship. Fellows are supported by NCQA
senior staff with expertise in health care quality; measure
development; health care informatics; health care policy and
implementation; practice transformation; health services and
outcomes research; and analysis of health care quality data.
Mentors provide oversight of each fellow’s learning plan to ensure
that activities are in line with the fellow’s career goals. Mentors
hold regular virtual meetings with fellows to discuss
- Educational activities. Fellows have the
opportunity to participate in virtual educational activities such
as online research methods and data analytics webinars, as well as
policy-oriented virtual events led by NCQA, leading health care
organizations and research institutions. Other educational
materials and resources can also be provided, based on a fellow’s
learning plan. There is a budget for fellows to take advantage of
- Experiential learning. Fellows participate in
one of two tracks:
- Quantitative Research Track: Geared for
doctorate-trained candidates with strong research and data
analytics training, with an emphasis on quantitative methods.
Fellows support ongoing NCQA research projects and proposals based
on their learning objectives and research background. NCQA research
projects/proposals cover a variety of health care quality topics,
including health equity, social determinants of health, health and
social care coordination, telehealth, patient-centered care and
behavioral health. Fellows should have experience in research
management to complete a self-guided project during the fellowship,
in consultation with NCQA research and data scientists. The project
must address a health care quality/equity topic of policy
Fellows are encouraged to analyze their own data or publicly
available data sources they have had experience analyzing
(typically, from their dissertation), or may propose using a new
database they will learn during the fellowship. Fellows must
demonstrate evidence of their research capability to complete
analyses and finish the project during the fellowship. NCQA offers
the following data sources as potential options for fellows to
- Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) Data
- Health Outcomes Survey (HOS).
- Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems
- NCQA Recognition Programs database, which includes granular
structure and process data on primary care (e.g., patient-centered
medical homes). The level of data restriction and data quality for
analysis (e.g., specific years or selected data elements) may vary
by data source.
Applicants interested in using any of these data sources should
indicate their preference in the Expression of Interest Form (see
below) and consult with NCQA staff during the application
- Translational Research Track: Geared for
master’s-trained candidates who are interested in translational
policy- or practice-focused health care research. Fellows support
ongoing NCQA research projects and proposals based on their
individual learning objectives and research and health care
experience. NCQA has a variety of research projects that intersect
with measurement development, policy and products related to
disease management, health information technology, multicultural
health care, population health management, case management,
long-term services and supports and the patient-centered medical
home. Candidates will also propose a self-guided project that
evaluates a health care quality/equity initiative or explores
solutions to a health care quality/ equity problem. Fellows should
have experience in research management to complete this project
during the fellowship. The project may entail an environmental
scan, literature review, interviews, focus groups, case studies and
short surveys. Examples of appropriate projects include examining
industry best practices, understanding responses to health policy
changes and developing evidence-based toolkits and resource guides.
The goal is to produce new knowledge that can further NCQA’s
mission through research activities. If NCQA approves the project,
work may begin in consultation with NCQA Research & Analysis
- Professional networking. Fellows have the
chance to meet in virtual meetings with thought leaders in the
health care quality and equity field, including experts from health
care organizations, health plans, state health officials, academic
institutions and patient advocacy groups.
Fellows present their self-guided projects and overall
experience at a seminar held at the conclusion of the
Keri Christensen, MS, 2016–2017 Torda
Fellow, currently Director of Strategy Implementation at NCQA. As a
mid-career professional, Ms. Christensen found the fellowship to be
an opportunity to devote concentrated time to studying how social
determinants of health interact with quality measurements. Her
areas of interest include social determinants of health and digital
Andrew Anderson, PhD, 2018–2019 Torda
Fellow, currently an assistant professor in the Department of
Health Policy & Management at the Tulane School of Public
Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Anderson graduated with a PhD in
health services research from University of Maryland, College Park.
As a fellow, he completed his dissertation and worked on research
to evaluate care coordination in accountable care organizations,
disparities in readmission, and strategies to address social
determinants of health. His work aims to develop health equity
measures and interventions for health systems.
Phil Saynisch, PhD, 2019–2020
Torda Fellow, currently a Research Scientist at NCQA working on
primary care quality, telehealth and health equity in diabetes care
and chronic kidney disease. Dr. Saynisch earned his PhD in Health
Policy from Harvard University and worked on research evaluating
the impact of the patient-centered medical home on health care
costs and utilization. His work also supports product
Kevin Wiley, 2021-2022 Torda Fellow, is
completing his PhD in Health Policy and Management with a minor
focus in Public and Population Health Informatics at the Indiana
University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. Mr.
Wiley’s research examines the implications of electronic health
record (EHR) data quality on care processes in chronic disease
care. His research and doctoral studies are supported by a T15
Biomedical Informatics and Data Science fellowship sponsored by the
National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Research
Scholarship, and a Research Associate position in the Center for
Research on Inclusion and Social Policy (CRISP) in the Public
Policy Institute (PPI) at Indiana University.
Selection and Eligibility
The fellowship is an experiential learning, professional
development opportunity for highly qualified, self-motivated
individuals who are in the early stages of their career. NCQA
recognizes that strength comes through diversity and intentionally
seeks and welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences
and identities. In particular, we encourage applicants who meet the
eligibility criteria from the following historically
under-represented racial and ethnic groups to apply: African
Americans (or Blacks), American Indians and Alaska Natives,
Hispanics (or Latinx), Native Hawaiians and other Pacific
Eligibility for the Quantitative Research
Track is open to:
- Doctoral candidates in a health-related discipline working on
final stages of completing their dissertation.
- Doctoral degree graduates in a health-related discipline with
less than 3 years of post-doctoral research experience.
Eligibility for the Translational Research
Track is open to:
- Master’s degree graduates in a health-related discipline with
at least 2 years of of professional research and/or health
care experience after completing their master’s degree.
Applicants are assessed on the following criteria:
- Commitment to the field of health care quality and equity.
- Match between applicant’s learning objectives/research
interests and what NCQA can offer.
- Potential impact of the fellowship experience on the
- Professional qualifications and prior achievements.
- Interpersonal and communication skills.
Applicants should complete and submit an Expression of Interest
Form (see below) to email@example.com to
indicate their intent to apply. This allows NCQA to provide
guidance and support to candidates during the application
Submit full application and materials to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11pm
(ET), January 31, 2022.
Salary and Other Support
Salary range is from $75,000–$100,000, depending on education
and years of experience. This is a full-time position with
full-time insurance benefits, including paid time off and
educational assistance. This position is also eligible for
Read application instructions and label documents carefully
before uploading (PDF or Word documents). Incomplete applications
will not be considered. Submit full application and materials
to email@example.com by 11pm
(ET), January 31, 2022.
Complete the Expression of Interest Form as soon as
possible to indicate intent to apply for the fellowship. Although
completion of this form is not required, it is highly encouraged
because it will allow NCQA to support candidates during the
- Application Form
- Curriculum Vitae.Label the file “CV, [your last
name, your first name].”
- Personal Statement.Maximum 4 pages, double-spaced. Label the
file “Personal Statement, [your last name, your
- Describe why you want to be a Phyllis Torda Fellow. Address the
following themes explicitly:
- Your strengths and qualifications.
- Your reasons for applying to either the Quantitative Research
Track or the Translational Research Track.
- Learning objectives (e.g., research/analytical approaches, data
sources, health care topics, professional development skills) you
hope to achieve during the fellowship.
- Your topics of interest related to health care quality. Be
- Your professional goals as they relate to what you hope to gain
from the fellowship.
- Self-Guided Project Proposal.Maximum 5 pages, excluding cover
sheet, double-spaced. Label the file “Self-Guided Project,
[your last name, your first name].”
A self-guided project proposal is:
Include the following on the cover sheet: Proposal Title, Last
Name, First Name, indication of the project as either a
Quantitative Research Project or a Translational Research
Describe the project you propose to complete during the
fellowship program. Address the following questions:
- Why is this topic important? For example, how is it related to
the National Quality
Strategy or how could it contribute to achieving
the Triple Aim? Or how does it align
to NCQA’s health equity strategy
- What objectives do you want to achieve or what questions do you
hope to answer?
- What research methods, analytical approach and/or data sources
will you use? Your training and experience should demonstrate your
capability to complete the analysis using the proposed data
- What are the project’s work plan and general time frame?
Provide details on how you plan to manage your project and complete
it on time.
- What challenges do you foresee and how will you address
- What are the likely implications of this work for future
research, policy, program or measure development related to health
care quality and equity?
- How does this work align with NCQA’s mission and vision?
- Letters of Recommendation.Two letters of
recommendation from persons who can comment on your academic and/or
professional work. These persons (not the candidate)
should email their letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by the due date in order
for the application to be considered complete.
If you have questions about this fellowship or the application
process, email email@example.com.
You can access all forms and apply
- Fellowship Announcement: October 29,
- Expression of Interest Form Deadline: As soon as
possible. This form will help NCQA provide guidance
to support applicants during the application process.
- Full Application Deadline: 11pm (ET), January
31, 2022. Submit full application and materials
- Virtual Interviews: The selection process includes a virtual
telephone/video call with highly ranked candidates.
- Notification of Award: Notification of award will be made
by mid March 2022.
- Potential Start Date: Between June 1 and September
15, 2021 (negotiable).
Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected
Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
NCQA is a drug-free workplace. NCQA recruits, hires, trains
and promotes individuals, and administers any and all personnel
actions, without regard to race, color, religion, national origin,
age, sex, pregnancy, citizenship, familial status, disability
status, veteran status, genetic information or other protected
statuses under applicable state and federal laws.
NCQA will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate
against employees or applicants because they have inquired about,
discussed or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee
or applicant. However, employees who have access to the
compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part
of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other
employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have
access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in
response to a formal complaint or charge; (b) in furtherance of an
investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an
investigation conducted by the employer; or (c) consistent with the
contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR
HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for
Quality Assurance (NCQA).
CAHPS® is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality (AHRQ).