The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows program provides the nation’s most comprehensive learning experience at the nexus of health, science, and policy in Washington, D.C.
The 2019-20 Call for Applications (CFA) is now closed. The next CFA will become available in September 2019. For reference only: View the 2019-20 CFA (now closed).
The program seeks outstanding mid-career health professionals, behavioral/social scientists, and others with an interest in health and health policy. The fellowship requires, at a minimum, a 12-month residential experience in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the program,
- Read the 2019-20 CFA [NOW CLOSED],
- Register to join one of the informational applicant webinars [NOW CLOSED], or
- Contact the national program office (NPO) at (202) 334-1506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 of health and health care policy, 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. In November, fellows join the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program to expand their knowledge and awareness about Congress and the political process. The concentrated orientation is designed to prepare the fellows for immediate success in federal legislative and executive branch positions.
Fellowship placements generally begin in January. 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 seminars and group discussions on contemporary federal policy topics, as well as media/strategic communication 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 meetings of the NAM and other health policy organizations, as well as in cultural and social functions.
Fellows may request approval from the national program office (NPO) at the NAM to extend the Washington stay past the 12-month fellowship period of September to August through the legislative session, or until December 31, 2020. A fellow may carry out additional activities with the support of any remaining funds until August 31, 2021, 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 the program’s annual meeting, and to be briefed on issues and trends in health and health care policy.
Conflict of Interest
Due to heightened ethical scrutiny at the federal level, including fellows placed in congressional or other federal offices, the NPO will request information from finalists about ongoing personal and professional activities or interests that might conflict with the participation of a fellow in congressional or federal assignments. This disclosure is required to identify any activity or interest that might:
- Significantly impair the fellow’s objectivity,
- Create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization.
Each finalist will provide a list of past, existing, and future paid and unpaid activities, board affiliations, consultancies, or other interests and sources of financial support. To preserve the integrity of the fellowship program and to ensure that the fellows—during tenure as the RWJF Health Policy Fellows—is not compromised by the appearance of a conflict of interest, fellows will sign a statement affirming that there is no conflict of interest or competing interest that would preclude them from accepting a congressional or executive branch placement during the fellowship year.
The term “conflict of interest” applies not only to the personal interests of the fellow but also to the interests of others with whom the fellow has substantial common financial interests, including the fellow’s spouse and dependent children.
As a condition of the fellowship, fellows may be required by the federal government to submit a financial disclosure statement and sign a declaration of adherence to policies and laws governing codes of ethical conduct. For more information about specific ethics determinations, please visit http://ethics.senate.gov/downloads/pdffiles/manual.pdf and http://ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.house.gov/files/documents/2008_House_Ethics_Manual.pdf (see page 284).