Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows

2022-2023 Call for Application

    Release Date: September 10, 2021 | Application Deadline: Fri, 12 Nov 2021


The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program provides the nation’s most comprehensive learning experience at the nexus of health, science, and policy in Washington, D.C. It is an outstanding opportunity for exceptional midcareer health professionals and behavioral/social scientists with an interest in health and health care policy. Fellows participate in the policy process at the federal level and use that leadership experience to improve health equity, health care, and health policy.

The fellowship requires a full-time commitment with a minimum 12-month residence in Washington, D.C., which prepares individuals to influence the future of health and health care in the nation.

The fellowship begins in September with an intensive three-and-a-half-month orientation arranged by the NAM, during which time the fellows meet with national leaders well-versed in health, health care policy, health equity, social determinants of health, and structural racism; think tanks and interest groups; key executive branch officials; and members of Congress and their staffs. Fellows also participate in seminars on health economics; the congressional budget process; current priority issues in federal health policy; and the process for federal decision-making. The concentrated orientation is designed to prepare the fellows for immediate success in federal legislative and executive branch positions.

The NAM will assist all fellows in setting up placement interviews. Each fellow is, however, solely responsible for selecting and securing his or her placement in a Federal government office in Washington, D.C., no later than January 15, 2023.

Fellowship placements generally begin no later than January 31. During these assignments, fellows are full-time, contributing participants in the policy process with members of Congress, a congressional committee, or in the executive branch. Solely under the supervision of the office in which they are placed, fellows typically will:

  • Help develop legislative or regulatory proposals;
  • Organize hearings, briefings, and stakeholder meetings;
  • Meet with constituents;
  • Brief legislators or senior administration officials on a range of health issues; and
  • Provide staff support for House-Senate conferences.

Fellowship assignments are supplemented throughout the year by nonpartisan seminars and group discussions on contemporary federal policy topics, as well as media/strategic communications training and leadership development activities. Fellows are asked to prepare a formal presentation on a health policy issue with which they have been engaged. Fellows also take part in NAM meetings and with other health policy organizations.

Fellows may request approval from the national program office (NPO) at the NAM to extend the Washington stay past the 12-month residential period of September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023, through the legislative session or until December 31, 2023. A fellow may carry out additional activities with the support of any remaining funds until August 31, 2024, subject to review and approval of those activities by the NPO and RWJF.

After the Washington residential experience, fellows become part of a nationwide alumni network and typically return to Washington each year to attend an Alumni Retreat and the NAM Annual Meeting, and to be briefed on issues and trends in health and health care policy.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Exceptional midcareer professionals from academic faculties; government (including military; U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs; U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; and state offices who are not considered government officials under Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code);* and nonprofit organizations, who are interested in experiencing the health policy process at the federal level, are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants must have earned an advanced degree in one of the following disciplines: medicine; nursing; public health; allied health professions; biomedical sciences; dentistry; economics or other social sciences; health services organization and administration; social and behavioral health; or health law.
  • Applicants whose official job description or responsibilities are primarily government relations or advocacy are not eligible to apply.
  • Individual candidates for receipt of award funds must be U.S. citizens, or permanent residents at the time of application. Because the RWJF Health Policy Fellows are• placed in assignments in the federal government, changes in federal policy or law may necessitate that RWJF consider adjustments in eligibility and grant terms, as well as placements in the program.
  • Additionally, individual candidates for receipt of award funds cannot be related by blood or marriage to any Officer or Trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or be a descendant of its founder, Robert Wood Johnson.


Key Dates

September 22, 2021 (11 a.m. ET) and October 26, 2021 (2 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant web conference calls. Registration is required. Please visit this link for complete details and to register.

November 9, 2021 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of three reference letters.*

November 12, 2021 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of preliminary applications.*

January 11, 2022
Selection of finalists.

February 11, 2022 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of full applications.

February 16, 2022
Finalist interviews with advisory board.

February 17, 2022
Selection and notification.

September 1, 2022
Start of grants.

Total Awards

  • Up to six awards of up to $165,000 each will be made in 2022.
  • During the first 12 months of the fellowship, a stipend of up to $104,000 (not to exceed the fellow’s salary prior to entering the program) in fellowship funds may be requested.
  • For more details, refer to “Use of Foundation Funds” on page 7 of the Call for Applications.
  • Fellows will be directly reimbursed for relocation expenses through separate funds within limits specified by the NAM.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
November 12, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

RWJF Collection

Health Policy in Brief

To build a Culture of Health, we must harness the power of evidence-based policy to achieve lasting change. Brief, nonpartisan analysis to support evidence-based policy-making can help improve health and well-being at a national and local level.

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