Fellowship Program


Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) design fellowship provides an opportunity to become an expert in value-based health care delivery innovation.

Working as a multi-disciplinary team, fellows develop a solid grasp of design thinking for healthcare, gain experience developing innovative care models, and work directly with health system leaders and industry/business leaders.

Through a disciplined process based in human centered design methodology, the teams design new care models for a health condition associated with substantial disability and health spending. The design goal is an innovative health care design to maximally lower population-wide health spending while improving quality and experience of care.

CERC offered mentors with compelling expertise in health care system innovation, access to unique resources such as Stanford’s d.school, and an intellectual environment encouraging rapid iteration. - 2015 CERC Fellow


At CERC, our mission is “better health, less spending.” Innovative, value-driven care models are designed in year one of the fellowship and then implemented in numerous partner healthcare systems/sites in subsequent years. Our overarching goal is to safely lower population-wide health spending while improving quality and experience.

In addition to the dissemination of new care models from CERC, we are also proud to be graduating change agents for value driven healthcare. Graduates from the program cultivate a distinctive skillset in their CERC time as well as exposure to leading health systems, designers, clinicians and executives. Graduates from the fellowship have gone on to:

  • Pursue research careers in universities
  • Assume leadership positions in healthcare delivery systems
  • Work in industry or professional services firms
  • Help launch venture based healthcare startups


Individuals with backgrounds in medicine, social science, behavioral science, management science, operations engineering or business are encouraged to apply. Medical or doctorate degrees preferred. Candidates are selected based on relevant experience and potential to develop into leaders in health system innovation.


Fellow teams employ a design and prototyping methodology that includes:

  • Intensive introductory training in design discipline and in the clinical and economic features of the target conditions and service types
  • Intensive observation of how care is delivered for these conditions
  • Identification of poorly-met patient and clinician needs, as well as the societal need to lower per capita health spending safely
  • Exposure to use of cutting edge information and communications technologies to support care innovation
  • Exposure to the care models used by today’s leaders on the value frontier
  • Preparation of conceptual and detailed designs for care innovations
  • Experience interacting with multiple health system leaders in multiple U.S. states
  • Support of clinical teams that pilot-test and refine care innovations
  • Preparation of abstracts and other public speaking
  • Preparation of publishable manuscripts


Fellows work in the lab of the Clinical Excellence Research Center housed within the Center for the Advanced Studies of Behavioral Sciences at 75 Alta Road on the Stanford University campus.


The fellowship runs from August through June. For active clinicians, 80% of their time is to be spent exclusively on fellowship activities with two half-days per week that may be used to meet clinical service obligations. We work with our fellows to ensure that the half-day periods are synchronized across the team. CERC-funded fellows receive a monthly stipend and health benefits during the fellowship period.

Extension of Fellowship to a Second Year

Depending on the availability of funding, fellows may have the option to pursue a second year to help implement and evaluate their innovation via multi-site pilot tests.


Past teams have designed care innovations for the following conditions and procedures:

CERC care models have been implemented throughout the country as seen on this map of pilot test sites.