Health Policy Research Scholars

2022 Call for Applications

    Release Date: January 12, 2022 | Application Deadline: Wed, 16 Mar 2022


At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), we are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that will help improve health for everyone by placing well-being at the center of every aspect of life. To reach a Culture of Health, we must be honest that too many people start behind, and stay behind because of fewer opportunities resulting from long-entrenched policies, practices, and narratives designed to exclude them.

Through unprecedented collaboration, we must address the socioeconomic factors that affect health and lift the barriers of racism to ensure an emerging future where everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. We believe that leadership for health equity (individuals, organizations, or communities co-creating this Culture of Health) is an essential lever for the complex change needed to dismantle structural racism.

Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS) is a four-year national leadership development program for full-time doctoral students from nonclinical, research-focused disciplines in which policy is a key driver of change (e.g., urban planning; political science; economics; anthropology; education; social work; sociology; engineering; geography; and lab/bench sciences). HPRS is designed for students who want to improve health, well-being, and equity; challenge long-standing, entrenched systems; exhibit new ways of working; collaborate across disciplines and sectors; and bolster their leadership skills.

RWJF recognizes that the increasing diversity in the country’s population can best be served when research and researchers also reflect that diversity. To adequately address a disproportionate burden of poor health—an essential step is to include doctoral scholars from historically marginalized backgrounds and populations underrepresented in specific doctoral disciplines.

The goal of HPRS is to cultivate transformational leaders from diverse backgrounds with doctoral training—representing a wide range of research-focused disciplines—who will inform and influence policy. We strongly encourage applications from nonhealth-related disciplines; having scholars from diverse fields is critical to advancing a Culture of Health. Up to 40 scholars will be selected for the 2022 cohort.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Applicants must be starting full-time, second-year doctoral studies in fall 2022 at a degree-granting institution based in the United States or its territories; 
  • Applicants must have at least three academic years remaining in their doctoral program and not expect to graduate before spring/summer 2025; 
  • Applicants must be from populations underrepresented in specific doctoral disciplines and/or historically marginalized backgrounds. 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 their background is underrepresented in a specific discipline, or from 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 must be at least 21 years old as of September 1, 2022; 
  • Federal, state, tribal and local government employees are eligible to apply unless they are considered government officials1 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 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;  
  • Applicants 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.

Total Awards

  • Number of scholars in the 2022 cohort: up to 40 
  • Grant funds from RWJF will include: 
    • Award Funds: $30,000 per year for up to four years or until you complete your doctoral program (whichever is sooner).
    • Administrative fee: Home institutions may include 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.  

Key Dates

Key dates and deadlines for this solicitation are as follows:

February 1, 2022 (1–2 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant webinar. View slides and recording here.  
March 16, 2022 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of full applications, including references.
May 2022  
Semifinalist interviews, via web conference.
Mid-June 2022  
Notification of finalists.
July 12, 2022
Deadline for receipt of finalist supplemental applications.

September 1, 2022
Program begins. Award funding initiated for program participants.
September 7-30, 2022
Required onboarding meetings for scholars and mentors.
October 6-9, 2022  
Fall Institute, Baltimore, MD (in-person attendance required for program participants).

2023 (date TBD by RWJF)
RWJF Leadership Institute (in-person attendance required), date and location TBD.

July 16-22, 2023
Summer Institute, Baltimore, MD (in-person attendance required for program participants).

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
March 16, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET

Key Contacts

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Phone: (410) 502-5530