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 six fellows.
Beginning in September with an intensive three-and-a-half-month orientation arranged by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), fellows meet with key executive branch officials responsible for health policy and programs, members of Congress and their staff, and leaders of health and health policy interest groups. 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 on the Capitol Hill.
In November, fellows join the American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellowship Program to expand their knowledge and awareness of 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. Fellows typically will:
- help develop legislative proposals;
- arrange hearings;
- meet with constituents;
- brief legislators for committee sessions and floor debates; 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 IOM 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.