The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program provides the nation’s most comprehensive learning experience at the intersection 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 healthcare policy. Fellows participate in the policy process at the federal level and use that leadership experience to improve health equity, healthcare, 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 healthcare in the nation.
The fellowship begins in September with an intensive three-and-a-half-month orientation arranged by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), during which time the fellows meet with national leaders well versed in health and healthcare; think tanks and interest groups; key executive branch officials; and members of Congress and their staff. 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, 2024.
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 present 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, 2023, to August 31, 2024, through the legislative session or until December 31, 2024. A fellow may carry out additional activities with the support of any remaining funds until August 31, 2025, 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 healthcare policy.