Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Announces 2011 - 2012 Health Policy Fellows

Five health professionals will bring their real-world expertise to Capitol Hill

    • May 2, 2011

Five exceptional health leaders with a range of experience and expertise from dentistry to nursing have been selected as this year’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Fellows. The fellows will utilize their wide range of academic, public health, clinical and community-based experience to provide health policy leadership on Capitol Hill.

"For 37 years this program has attracted some of the most talented professionals who want to be part of shaping and improving the health of our nation,” said Marie Michnich, Dr.P.H., director of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program at the Institute of Medicine (IOM). “While they come to learn the federal policy-making process, their talent and training will be valuable to the development and implementation of health policy."

This year’s fellows are:

  • Nancy Dunlap, M.D., Ph.D., is professor and vice chair for clinical affairs in the department of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dunlap works to improve health care quality and outcomes through more efficient patient care delivery processes and information technology.
  • Liana Orsolini-Hain, Ph.D., R.N., is a tenured nursing instructor at the City College of San Francisco. Orsolini-Hain served on the IOM’s Committee on the Initiative on the Future of Nursing, which produced recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for the future of nursing. She is working on implementation of the recommendations as part of the the California Regional Action Coalition Leadership Team for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Future of Nursing Campaign for Action.
  • Arun Patel, M.D., J.D., is a health care attorney with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, where he advises large health care systems on federal and state self-referral and anti-kickback laws, antitrust, privacy, and nonprofit governance issues.
  • Carole Pratt, D.D.S., is a general practice dentist who has practiced dentistry in rural southwest Virginia for 32 years. She has served four terms as chair of Virginia’s Board of Health, and acted as vice chair of the Department of Medical Assistance Services.
  • David Sklar, M.D., is associate dean for graduate medical education at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center and professor of emergency medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

“These fellows develop unmatched leadership skills and become part of an influential professional network,” said Michael Painter, J.D., M.D., RWJF senior program officer and 2003–2004 Health Policy Fellow. “Once they have completed the program, they return to the field where they put this network and their health policy leadership skills to work.”

Each year, fellows are chosen through a highly competitive selection process. They leave their academic settings and professional practices to spend a year in the nation’s capital. A three-month orientation program is followed by a nine-month assignment in which fellows work in a congressional office or the executive branch. Work assignments are supplemented throughout the year with health policy leadership development activities and media training.

RWJF Health Policy Fellows is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. More than 200 fellows from a variety of disciplines in health and health care from across the nation have participated in the program since 1973.


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.