The Cambridge Health Alliance Senior Leadership Team, Center for Professional and Academic Development, and Graduate Medical Education Committee announce the opening of the 2019-2020 Clinical Learning Environment Innovation Awards Program! The program aims to enlist graduate-level trainees in improving the clinical learning environment at CHA. All graduate level trainees in CHA-sponsored health professional education programs are eligible to apply for a grant up to $2000 to support initiatives that will improve patient experience of care and staff experience of caring. 

In the 2019-2020 program, we are soliciting proposals for change projects in the following areas: 

  1. Developing a culture of safety

  2. Nurturing staff and provider engagement and well-being

  3. Improving the patient and family experience of care

  4. Improving patient care quality and reducing cost and waste

  5. Understanding and responding to social determinants of health and reducing health disparities

Project selection criteria include:

  • Expected contribution to the clinical learning environment for trainees, staff, patients and families in one of the five aims above

  • Clarity of the proposal including a well-articulated aim, a practical change idea, and a viable measurement strategy that demonstrates how the change leads to improvement

  • Feasibility of the project with a scope limited appropriately for available time, resources, and infrastructure

  • Evidence of engagement with key stakeholders and support from appropriate executive leaders

  • Alignment with larger CHA institutional performance improvement priorities and efforts

  • A plan for sustainability of the effort beyond the end of the academic year

Trainees are encouraged to collaborate across training programs, with multidisciplinary colleagues, and with patients and families. Trainees might consider using an Innovation Award to join an ongoing existing improvement initiative at CHA; reach out to faculty and program directors for project ideas. An evolving registry of CHA change projects seeking trainee partners is linked here.  Though we recognize that the distinction between research and an improvement project can be nuanced, note that the aim of the proposal should be linked to making institutional change at CHA.  Technical assistance in evaluation and measurement, project design, and improvement science will be available to grantees through the Institute for Community Health (ICH) and the Performance Improvement team in our department of institutional quality and safety. Two workshops -- one on project evaluation and QI methods and the other on academic poster preparation will be available for all grantees; additional technical assistance from ICH is available at a rate of $100/ hour. All grantees will submit posters to the CHA Academic Poster Session during the Spring of 2020.

Deadlines and application instructions

  • Monday, September 9 - Final proposals due 

    • Modify draft proposal on Google Form to incorporate and respond to feedback from the Innovation Awards Program Selection Committee 

    • Attach (1) a learner/mentor agreement, (2) a clear project timeline, and (3) an itemized budget.

  • Week of September 16 -  Final notifications sent to applicants and faculty sponsors 

Questions? Contact Ellen Hedstrom in the Center for Professional Development ( or Maren Batalden, Associate Director of GME for Quality and Safety (