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Comparative and Cost-Effectiveness Research Training for Nurse Scientists (CER2)

Funded by an NIH-NINR T32 Institutional Training Grant, the Comparative and Cost-Effectiveness Research Training for Nurse Scientists (CER2) program provides an opportunity to train nurse scientists in this important field. The program builds on the complementary strengths of Columbia Nursing’s faculty who have expertise in mentoring pre-and post-doctoral students in CER2 methods and the robust infrastructure of the Columbia University Medical Center.


What is CER2?

The United States health care system spends far more than any other developed country and we consistently have worse outcomes. Comparative and cost-effectiveness research have been proposed as methods that should generate patient centered evidence to help improve the quality of our healthcare system while improving efficiency and reducing health disparities. CER2 is a NINR-funded (T32NR014205) pre- and post-doctoral fellowship program aimed to prepare nurse scientists in these important methods. Fellows will be provided the foundation required to recognize and address the real world information needs of patients, providers and policy makers by examining the comparative and/or cost effectiveness of competing interventions for high-risk and underserved populations across the continuum of care.


What does a CER2 fellowship offer?

  • Mentoring and research support: Fellows are matched with two faculty mentors, one within nursing and one from another field, to advise them as they pursue one or more original research projects using CER2 methods to assess competing interventions for high-risk and underserved populations across the continuum of care. For pre-doctoral fellows, this research project is the student’s dissertation.
  • Didactic courses in CER2 Methods: Introduction to Comparative Effectiveness Research (1.5 credits); Introduction to Health Economics (3 credits); Analysis of Large Scale Data Sets (1.5 credits); Decision Analysis for Clinical and Public Health (3 credits)
  • Networking: Monthly seminars provide opportunities to meet with researchers and students from different disciplines, research and practice environments interested in CER2.
  • Tuition, fees, and health insurance: Up to three years of tuition and fees are provided. All trainees receive individual or family health insurance.
  • Funds for travel and research-related supplies: Fellows receive funds to travel to one scientific meeting, annually, and additional funds are available to support research activities, as needed.
  • Stipends: Fellows receive stipends consistent with NIH guidelines

Who should apply for CER2?

  • Pre-doctoral applications may come from any eligible student enrolled or accepted in the Columbia University School of Nursing PhD program.
  • Post-doctoral fellows must be a recent PhD graduate (within 3 years of defense of dissertation) from any accredited university who is also a registered nurse.
  • All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Current trainees

  • Caroline Handschuh, MSN, CNM is a pre-doctoral fellow. She is a certified nurse midwife and has practiced in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Caroline's research is focused on adolescent health risk behaviors. 
  • Aluem Tark, FNP-BC, RN, CHPN, is a pre-doctoral fellow. She is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and a certified Hospice / Palliative Care Nurse. Aluem's research focuses on the comparative effectiveness of different models of End-of-Life care in nursing home residents.
  • Billy Caceres, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, is a post-doctoral fellow. His research focuses on cardiovascular disease and aging in racial/ethnic minority and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations. He received his PhD from the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

Learn more about CER2 and begin the application process:

Contact Patricia Stone, PhD at or Judith Kelson at