Field of Work: Educating health professionals to take part in and better understand the health policy process at the federal level.
Problem Synopsis: Administrators of health care organizations, private sector community-based providers, and others are playing an ever larger role in today's health care system and they need to know more about how it works.
Synopsis of the Work: Every year since 1973, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program has brought to Washington six mid-career health professionals and behavioral and social scientists with an interest in health to take part in and better understand the health policy process at the federal level. Following a rigorous orientation, fellows accept work placements within a congressional office (house or senate), a federal agency, or a division in the legislative or executive branch.
Fellows actively contribute to the formulation of national health policies and accelerate their careers as leaders in health policy. The program also aims to enrich the substance of the health policy debate at both the federal and state levels.
As of December 2011, 237 fellows (12 now deceased) from more than 119 academic health centers, community clinics, and other health care and public health organizations have participated in the program. According to a 2006 evaluation conducted by Jack Hoadley, PhD, of Georgetown University, the program has been successful in providing mid-career professionals with an intense exposure to the federal policy process. In the evaluation report, fellows described their experience as "life-changing" and transformational.