Academic Catalog


Doctor of Philosophy Health Services Research with a Concentration in Applied Health Research (PhD)


Dr. Harry Zhang, Graduate Program Director

The primary mission of the Ph.D. in health services research is to develop leaders and problem solvers whose professional services will improve the health of the population not only in Eastern Virginia but also statewide, nationally, and internationally. Health services researchers examine health care quality and effectiveness, primary and managed care,  new technologies, and other critical health services and related public health research practice topics. Health services researchers pursue careers in many settings, including academia, industry,  professional organizations, research centers, health policy groups, clinical settings, and in federal, state, local, and international agencies.

The goals of the program are to enable students to conduct and interpret health services research, to formulate and analyze public health policy, to lead programs and organizations that address the health care needs of populations and to work directly with community members to empower them to be a part of the policy formulation process. In accomplishing these goals students in the program will develop the critical skills necessary to  integrate knowledge and competencies applicable to public health and health services questions and problems. Students will be able to design viable programs, manage resources, and measure the effectiveness of service delivery public health interventions to populations. Students will be awarded the Ph.D. in health services research after the completion of all university and program requirements for graduate degrees.

In addition to demonstrated ability in the health services research competencies, students are expected to select one of two concentrations: Applied Health Research or Health Policy and Management Research.

Applied Health Research concentration will provide students with skills needed to address complex health questions across disciplinary boundaries, advance health-related research and programs, prevent disease and injury, and provide innovative approaches or solve practice-related problems in state and federal agencies, private/non-profit research and evaluation agencies, academia, and health systems.