The fellowship requires, at a minimum, a 12-month residential experience in Washington, D.C., with additional support for health policy leadership development activities. The program will select up to seven fellows for the 2016-2017 Call for Applications.
Beginning in September with an intensive three-and-a-half-month orientation arranged by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), fellows meet with leaders of health and health care policy think tanks and interest groups, key executive branch officials responsible for health policy and programs, and members of Congress and their staffs. Fellows also participate in seminars on health economics, major federal health and health research programs, the congressional budget process, current priority issues in federal health policy, and the process of federal decision-making. The concentrated orientation is designed to prepare fellows for immediate success in federal legislative and administrative positions.
In November, fellows join the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program to expand their knowledge and awareness about Congress and the political process.
Fellowship assignments typically begin in January. During these assignments, fellows are full-time, contributing participants in the policy process with members of Congress or in the executive branch. Solely under the supervision of the office in which they are placed, fellows typically will:
- Help develop legislative proposals;
- Organize hearings, briefings, and stakeholder meetings;
- Meet with constituents;
- Brief legislators or senior administration officials on a range of health issues; and
- Staff House-Senate conferences.
Fellowship assignments are supplemented throughout the year by seminars and group discussions on contemporary federal policy deliberations as well as media training and leadership development. Fellows are asked to prepare a formal presentation on a policy-oriented issue with which they have been engaged. Fellows also take part in health meetings of the NAM and other health policy organizations, as well as cultural and social functions.
Fellows may choose to extend the Washington stay past the 12-month fellowship period of September to August through the legislative session, or until December 31. A fellow may carry out additional activities with the support of any remaining funds for up to 12 months after completing the residential experience, subject to review and approval of those activities by the national program office (NPO) and RWJF.