About the Pbrmcert Program


practice-based research network (PBRN) is a group of ambulatory practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients and affiliated in their mission to investigate questions related to community-based practice and to improve the quality of primary care.  PBRNs draw on the experience and insight of practicing clinicians to identify and frame research questions whose answers can improve the practice of primary care.  By linking these questions with rigorous methods, PBRNs produce research and quality improvement findings that are relevant to clinicians and readily translated into everyday practice.

The Certificate Program in Practice-Based Research Methods seeks to develop a new generation of independent investigators within the PBRN community.  The program will provide training in concepts, skills, and methods for conducting practice-based research and building PBRNs.

Seven learning modalities will be used:

  • Participation in monthly webinars taught by PBRN experts;
  • Ongoing mentoring by an experienced PBRN investigator;
  • Participation in Peer Learning Group calls facilitated by experienced mentors;
  • Development of a Learning Plan;
  • Development of a research concept paper for a PBRN study;
  • Development of a refined Specific Aims section
  • Presentation of the Concept Paper, Specific Aims, and a Career Development plan at the  program’s Convocation in Bethesda, MD on June 20-21, 2017.

Each fellow will have a ‘Primary Mentor’ who is an experienced PBRN investigator that is preferably in the same location as the fellow.  Fellows may have additional mentors to provide content expertise, who are not necessarily local.

Webinars led by PBRN content experts will be held one or two times each month on the 2nd and 4th Thursday from 12:00-1:30 Eastern time.  Advance reading will be required for most of the webinars.  The webinars will recorded and made available to fellows and the larger PBRN community.  Live participation in at least 75% of the webinars is required.

Each fellow will participate in a Peer Learning Group of 6-8 fellows that provides a venue to discuss readings, webinars, progress towards assignments, and to obtain helpful input and troubleshooting.  Peer Learning Groups will be facilitated by experienced mentors and will be held four times over the 10-month program on either a 2nd or 4th Thursday.  Fellows are required to participate in at least 3 of the 4 Peer Learning Group sessions.
Fellows will develop a concept paper in consultation with PBRN members, leaders, patients and other stakeholders.  Mentors will advise fellows in methods for accessing stakeholders.
In order to build skills in developing grant proposals for PBRN research, each fellow will build upon his or her concept paper by writing and refining a Specific Aims section for a research proposal designed to be implemented in a PBRN.

The Certificate Program will culminate with a Convocation of fellows and mentors that will precede the NAPCRG PBRN Conference in Bethesda, MD on June 20-21, 2017.  Fellows will present their concept papers, Specific Aims, and a Career Development plan at the Convocation, where they will receive constructive input from members of the Steering Committee, program mentors, and other fellows.  Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend the NAPCRG PBRN Conference in the days following the Convocation, which will be an excellent professional development opportunity.


After completion of the program, learners will be able to:

  1. Apply methods of practice-based research network development to initiate new PBRNs and strengthen existing networks.
  2. Describe the range of research questions that fit within PBRN settings, and provide examples of studies that play to the strengths of PBRNs.
  3. Describe how PBRN research topics and questions can be elicited from PBRN members, patients, and other community stakeholders.
  4. Conceptualize the changing landscape of PBRN research and describe approaches for expanding research from practices to patients and communities.
  5. Engage PBRN members, network leaders, and patients in a collaborative process to develop a study concept.
  6. Apply one or more research designs in the development of a PBRN study concept paper and Specific Aims.
  7. Explain how electronic health record data and large administrative data sets can be effectively used to answer questions in PBRNs.
  8. Describe sampling methods used in PBRN research, explain common threats to validity in PBRN studies, and discuss the rationale for nested analyses and outline the steps involved.
  9. Apply principles, methods, and tools for quality improvement research within primary care PBRNs.
  10. Compare and contrast the U.S and Canadian healthcare systems, research funding systems, and research infrastructures.
  11. Understand PBRN research in the contexts of implementation science and the translational science continuum.
  12.  Describe the range of strategies that can be used to disseminate PBRN research findings and cite examples of PBRN dissemination strategies.  ​


Steering Committee
The Steering Committee will oversee and guide the program, and members of the Steering Committee will review each fellow’s Learning Plan, Concept Paper, Specific Aims, and Career Development Plan.  Members of the committee will determine at the end of the program whether individual fellows have met the qualification standards required to be awarded the program’s certificate.

A Primary Mentor will guide and support each fellow through the program.  Primary Mentors should be experienced local PBRN investigators who have served as principal investigator on one or more research grants from NIH or AHRQ.  Primary Mentors will guide fellows in accessing local PBRN leaders and members, and in formulating their learning plan, concept paper, specific aims section, career development plan, and convocation presentation.  Additional content mentors can be added based on the fellow’s learning needs and they do not need to be local.
Primary mentors are encouraged to attend the orientation webinar and are welcome to attend all of the webinars.  Primary Mentors should participate in the program’s Convocation that will immediately precede the NAPCRG PBRN Conference on June 20-21, 2017.

  • Anticipated Time Commitment: It is anticipated that each Primary Mentor will devote approximately 1-2 hours/month to mentoring their fellow during the ten month fellowship period.  Mentors will not be financially compensated by the Certificate Program.

The Certificate program trains individuals who aspire to become independent PBRN research investigators.  Candidates include individuals with research career development awards (K-awardees, T- awardees, etc.) who want to gain exposure and skills in PBRN methods.  Others may not have career development awards but are seeking to develop into independent investigators.  Finally, others may be established research investigators who want to gain exposure and experience working with PBRNs.

  • Anticipated Time Commitment: It is expected that fellows will devote approximately 4-6 hours/month to fellowship activities during the ten-month long program.     
  1. No Cost to Participate: There is no cost to participate in the program, which is made available by the AHRQ-funded P30 Centers for Primary Care Practice-based Research and Learning. 

Qualifying for the Certificate
Fellows are required to meet the following criteria in order to earn the Certificate of Practice-Based Research Methods:

  1. Post a descriptive video profile by the due date.
  2. Actively participate in the entirety of at least 75% of training webinars.
  3. Read assigned articles prior to each webinar.
  4. Submit online progress updates at the specified time points.
  5. Participate in at least 3 of the 4 Peer Learning Groups sessions.
  6. Develop and submit a Learning Plan by the due date.
  7. Complete and submit concept paper assignments by the due dates.
  8. Complete and submit a Specific Aims section by the due date.
  9. Complete and submit a Career Development plan by the due date.
  10. Present a satisfactory concept paper, Specific Aims section, and a brief plan for further career development at the Convocation on June 20-21, 2017.


​Program Coordinator: Amanda Ross 
Administrative Director, Collaborative Ohio Inquiry Network (COIN) 
[email protected]| (216) 368-4622 | Fax: (216) 368-4348Course Administration
Learning management software will be used to distribute materials and facilitate learning. CourseSites by BlackBoard is the online system that will be used by the program. Instructions for using CourseSites will be provided.

Required Text
The program has one required text that can be downloaded at no cost (see the link below). Additional readings will be available on CourseSites whenever permitted by copyright; otherwise, articles should be obtained through a library system. The reading list is provided below.
Required: Neale, AV, et al. PBRN Research Good Practices (PRGP). September 2014. Free download available at: http://www.napcrg.org/PBRNResearchGoodPractice 


Applicants should complete the steps within the online application to apply to the program: 

    1. Complete the requested demographic information.
    2. Attach your current CV.
    3. Attach the CV and a signed letter of support from an experienced PBRN investigator who has agreed to be your primary local mentor during the program. 
    4. Provide a statement describing your interest in the program. You may use the available space in the application or attach a document (one page maximum). 
Cohort 2 Application Deadline has passed.
​Visit us again in early 2017 to find out our plans for Cohort 3.

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