Meet the RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research

Feb 5, 2013, 9:00 AM

This is part of a series of blog posts introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio. The RWJF Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research program supports highly respected and innovative scholars from a wide range of fields to undertake ambitious, cutting-edge studies of significant health policy challenges facing America.

The improvement of health in the United States is a complex undertaking that requires a wide range of health policy research. The prestigious and highly competitive Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research program provides one of the few funding opportunities for outstanding researchers in various stages of career development to explore bold, new ideas for improving the nation’s health and the health care system. The program encourages Investigators to think creatively about the most important problems affecting American health and health care and to contribute to the intellectual foundation of future health policy. The awards have been made to scholars from a broad range of disciplines, including economics, medicine, psychology, law, ethics, political science, public policy, sociology, history, nursing, health services research, and public health.

“It’s been a wonderful, career-changing experience. I do interdisciplinary research working in a medical school, and there aren’t a lot of funding agencies that have such openness to cross-disciplinary research.”

-Aaron S. Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH, 2009 Awardee

RWJF’s Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research program supports talented researchers by funding projects that produce enduring insights and sophisticated analyses of pressing problems, potential solutions for improving health and health care, and policy-relevant evidence that can inform policy-makers, the media, and the public. Since the program began in 1992, the Foundation has supported 175 projects involving 224 Investigators. Investigators have published more than 100 books.

Most recently, grants have been awarded for projects focusing on topics including how the Affordable Care Act affects citizens’ attitudes about health care policy and their participation in the policy process; how incentives re-engineer the value chain of pharmaceutical innovation; how surrogates make medical care decisions on behalf of patients unable to speak for themselves at the end of life; and more.

The program consistently generates information that is critical to decision-making and that can have a lasting impact on health policy and the nation’s health care system. Led by program director Alan B. Cohen, ScD, the program is headquartered at the Boston University Health Policy Institute.  In 2013, the program will select a new round of Investigators and will focus on ways to increase the visibility of program research to policy-makers, the press, and the public.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.