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Employer Demand for Health Services Researchers in the Year 2020

Objective. To describe factors that will shape future demand for doctoral-trained health services researchers.

Study Design/Data Sources. Commentary based on recent trends in funding for health services research (HSR), the number of federally funded HSR projects listed in HSRProj, national expenditures for health, and interviews with a small number of employers.

Principal Findings. Despite rapid growth in the overall health care sector, inflation-adjusted funding for HSR has declined, implying little or no net growth in demand for people to lead HSR studies. Employers report being able to hire researchers to conduct HSR by drawing on people trained in many disciplines.

Conclusion. Employers have considerable flexibility in hiring individuals to conduct HSR when demand is relatively stable. They may have much more difficulty hiring well-qualified researchers when faced with sharp increases in demand for HSR, such as could be generated by recent economic stimulus legislation.

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