The PhD in Translational Health Sciences is a cohort-based program requiring 54 credits beyond a master's degree, successful completion of two comprehensive examinations, a proposal defense, and a defended dissertation. The curriculum is low-residency, integrating didactic content delivered online with facilitated learning activities two mandatory weekends per semester at the Virginia Science and Technology (VSTC) campus in Ashburn, VA. 

The PhD in Translational Health Sciences draws on multiple, cross-disciplinary bodies of knowledge, which form the framework for the coursework and dissertation.  These bodies of knowledge are illustrated below:

Course Offerings

  • THS 8101: Foundations in Translational Science
  • THS 8103: Principles of Collaboration and Team Science
  • THS 8105: Translational Science in Complex Health Systems
  • THS 8107: Program Theory and Health Innovations
  • THS 8109: Implementation Science and Innovation Leadership
  • THS 8121: Advanced Study Design for Translational Research
  • THS 8123: Qualitative Methods in Translational Health Science
  • THS 8125: Advanced Statistical Methods for Clinical and Translational Research
  • THS 8201: Learning Theory and Models for Knowledge Translation in Health Systems I
  • THS 8203: Bioethical Implications of Health Research
  • THS 8205: Learning Theory and Models for Knowledge Translation in Health Systems II
  • THS 8212: Mixed Methods in Translational Health Science
  • THS 8961: Proposal Defense Preparation
  • THS 8996/8997/8998: Dissertation Seminars

Projected PhD Dissertation Topics

The type of projects we expect PhD students to pursue in their dissertations are ultimately designed to generate new knowledge about translation, implementation, and dissemination of evidence to practice and to population health. All dissertation work is translational in nature and must be grounded in collaboration science and implementation science perspectives. Please refer to the definition of translational science from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, NIH.The types of research questions therefore that we would expect from learners include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. For a given health issue with population-wide implications, how do…
    1. Evidence-based solutions compare in terms of effectiveness, acceptability, sustainability, uptake, and costs?
    2. Implementation mechanisms of action affect outcomes?
    3. Cultural systems interact with translation of evidence to health care practice and policy?
    4. Key individual, team, organizational, and system-based factors contribute to successful adoption of evidence-based innovations in health care?
  2. How does a given evidence-based approach (e.g., product, assessment tool, procedure) affect specific health outcomes, and what are the implications for translation to practice and policy?
  3. How do the essential aspects of delivery strategies used affect naturally occurring knowledge diffusion in communities (e.g., practitioners, consumers, educators, researchers, policymakers)?
  4. How do implementation and dissemination approaches affect adoption of evidence-based practices?
  5. How do providers, consumers, policymakers, and other key stakeholders use data to shape decisions?  To what extent does outcomes data inform and change health care practice?
  6. How do fidelity strategies and measures affect translation of findings from clinical trials to generalized practices?
  7. How is clinical decision-making shaped by the level of conceptual development underlying assessment instruments used in health care?
  8. How do implementation processes and strategies affect outcomes at various levels of health care, including individual providers/consumers, groups or teams of providers/consumers, organizations, and systems level?
  9. How do team attributes, composition, and dynamics shape health care processes and outcomes?
  10. What are the effects of integrated transdisciplinary curricula and dissemination products on learning and more distally, on practice?
  11. What is the impact of an innovative teaching or evaluation method on learners and more distally, on the competencies of health professionals?

Current Student’s Translational Research

Report PosterExplore the work of PhD student Shahnaz Khan on Translating Evidence from Research to Practice for Select Interventions in Cancer Control at the 10th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health.

View poster