Health Policy Research Scholars
Introduction & Purpose
Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS) is a four-year national leadership development program for full-time doctoral students from a wide range of nonclinical research-focused disciplines in which policy is a key lever for change. HPRS is designed for students from a variety of fields/disciplines (e.g., urban planning; political science; economics; anthropology; education; social work; sociology; engineering; geography; lab/bench sciences) who are committed to ensuring their research is aligned with the health needs of communities. The program is focused on doctoral students who want to improve health, wellbeing, and equity; challenge longstanding, entrenched systems; exhibit new ways of working; collaborate across disciplines and sectors; and bolster their leadership skills. By providing training in health policy, how to think strategically, and how to craft an actionable research question that can inform solutions to advance health equity—as well as mentorship, career and leadership coaching—HPRS will develop a new community of research leaders who will build a Culture of Health in their disciplines and communities. Up to 40 scholars will be selected for the 2024 cohort.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognizes that the increasing diversity in the country’s population can best be served when research and researchers also reflect that diversity. The world needs diverse perspectives as our nation identifies key health policy questions and evaluates the impact of proposed policy solutions. The disproportionate burden of poor health (and the disproportionate exposure to environmental and socioeconomic conditions that lead to poor health) is borne by individuals and communities marginalized because of their race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other factors. That is why increasing the number of doctoral students who can bring their identity or lived experiences to inform their research and practice is a focus of this program.
HPRS builds on RWJF’s vision of leadership, viewing leadership as a dynamic, transformative, relational process of change aimed at repairing damage from historical and structural injustices and oppression. Active, ongoing collaboration facilitates this process that is rooted in shared power to design and implement equitable policies. Power is not relegated to a title, role, or position, but distributed among groups of people while transcending social boundaries. Effective leadership in the field of health policy research requires individual and collaborative tasks spanning both private and public sectors within society, as well as a willingness to challenge pervasive and systemic issues to co-design new solutions. Partnerships are developed and sustained while authentically engaging through both different and shared values. HPRS prepares scholars to lead through their disciplines from a framework of health equity, individually and collaboratively, and in alignment with their unique strengths and values.
Eligibility & Selection Criteria
- Applicants must be starting full-time, second-year doctoral studies in fall 2024 at a degree-granting institution based in the United States or its territories. Applicants must remain full time while enrolled in HPRS;
- Applicants must have at least three academic years remaining in their doctoral program and not expect to graduate before spring/summer 2027;
- Applicants must be from historically marginalized backgrounds and be able to describe how their background, identity, or lived experiences have positioned them to contribute to the goals of the program. Examples of marginalized backgrounds include, but are not limited to, first-generation college graduates; individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds; individuals from communities of color; and individuals with disabilities. If an applicant is applying because they have a marginalized background not listed above, the applicant must clearly describe how they meet the eligibility criteria in the application form;
- Applicants cannot be a recipient of a national fellowship program that prohibits participation in additional programs such as HPRS. Applicants should make sure to check the policies of other fellowships;
- Applicants must be at least 21 years old as of September 1, 2024;
- Federal, state, tribal, and local government employees are eligible to apply unless they are considered government officials under Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Status or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application. As federal policy or laws change, we may need to consider adjustments in eligibility and grant terms;
- Individual candidates for receipt of award funds cannot be related by blood or marriage to any Officer, Manager, or Trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or be a descendant of its founder, Robert Wood Johnson.
*Refer to the full Call for Applications for additional details.
Key Dates & Deadlines
- January 25, 2024 (1–2 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant webinar. Register here.
- March 7, 2024 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of full applications, including references.
- April and May 2024
Semifinalist interviews via web conference.
- Mid-June 2024
Notification of finalists selected for program.
- July 10, 2024
Deadline for receipt of finalist supplemental applications.
- September 1, 2024
Program begins. Award funding initiated for program participants.
- September 4, 2024
- September 2024
Required onboarding meetings for scholars and mentors.
- September 30, 2024 (3–4 p.m. ET)
Orientation webinar for scholars and mentors.
- October 3–6, 2024
HPRS Fall Institute, Baltimore, MD (in-person attendance required for program participants).
- October 2024
Year one course begins.
- Summer 2025
HPRS Summer Institute, Baltimore, MD (in-person attendance required for program participants).
- Number of scholars in the 2024 cohort: up to 40
- Grant funds from RWJF will include:
- Award funds: $30,000 per year for up to four years or until recipient completes their doctoral program (whichever is sooner).
- Administrative fee: Home institutions receive an administrative fee of $1,000 per year ($4,000 in total) to the grant amount to cover the administrative costs of managing the award.
*Refer to the full Call for Applications for additional details.
Learn more and apply.