Spring 2009
From the Director | Updates All Around
What's New | Assignments of the 2008-2009 RWJ Health Policy Fellows, RWJF Leaders' Link E-newsletter
Job Notice | Current Opportunities
Where are they now? | Find out what your colleagues have been doing!


"For me, the highlight of the Retreat was the awarding of the First Annual RWJ Health Policy Fellowships Lifetime Achievement Award to Oliver Fein (’93-’94)."



Oliver Fein, MD

Recipient of the First Annual RWJ Health Policy Fellowships Lifetime Achievement Award: Oliver Fein, M.D. (’93-’94)



"It is with pride that I report that we have another outstanding class of fellows, the largest class ever. Ten outstanding new fellows will be starting this fall."



Updates All Around
We had yet another successful Alumni Retreat with more than 60 fellows and alums gathered in DC just three weeks before the November Presidential election in October 2008.  Exceptionally well planned and organized by the Class of 2006, the attendees enjoyed outstanding guest speakers including Dr. Tricia Neuman from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Dr. Paul Ginsburg from the Center for Studying Health System Change, and Dr. John Wennberg from Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice — who was also honored as the 2008 Recipient of the Gustav O. Lienhard Award at the IOM Annual Meeting that followed the retreat.  For me, the highlight of the Retreat was the awarding of the First Annual RWJ Health Policy Fellowships Lifetime Achievement Award to Oliver Fein (’93-’94). The award honors alumni of the RWJ Health Policy Fellowship Program who demonstrate excellence in their commitment to advancing and promoting health policy while enhancing the careers of other fellows and program alumni.  Fein was selected for his efforts to promote patient-centered, community-oriented care and his commitment to encouraging the next generation of health care providers to engage in the larger issues of health policy and health care reform in America. He also led the efforts to improve care for the most vulnerable populations in New York City and played key roles in the development and expansion of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). Click here for the press release from the National Academies.

This year, I am pleased to report that we had a record number of applications for the 2009-2010 Fellowship with over 70 applicants from across the nation.  In a subsequent survey of the applicant pool, the removal of the requirement for institutional sponsorship, the new political climate, and the added time available to submit the sponsoring institution letter and budget for sponsored applicants all contributed to this dramatic increase in the number of applicants. This is the first year that the program has accepted applications without the requirement of sponsorship from a qualifying institution. Needless to say, it was especially challenging for the Advisory Board to settle on the 2009-2010 class. It is with pride that I report that we have another outstanding class of fellows, the largest class ever. Ten outstanding new fellows will be starting this fall. Please remember that those of you who recommended successful applicants are eligible to have your expenses paid to next year’s alumni event!

I also want to recognize the superb contributions of two of our departing Advisory Board members, Robert J-P. Hauck and A. Eugene Washington. Rob, the Deputy Director of the American Political Science Association, has served on the Board for 6 years forging the link between our two fellowships.  Gene, the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of California at San Francisco, has been a Board member since 2004 and has recently been elected to serve on the Council of the Institute of Medicine as well as the Board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. And I want to congratulate two former Board members and an alum who are assuming major leadership roles in the Congress and the Administration. Former Board Chair David Blumenthal is the new National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (you can read the full News release by HHS); former Board member Jack Ebeler is returning to the Hill to serve as Senior Health Policy Advisor to Congressman Henry Waxman; and alumnus Tom Valuck ('98-'99) has been appointed to serve on theFederal Coordinating Council For Comparative Effectiveness Research.

Lastly, I would like to personally thank the fellows and alums who participated in the online survey and in-depth interviews for our website enhancement project.  We were able to identify some key improvements to our website that we hope will make the site even easier to use and will foster on-going relationships between fellows and alums.  The project is still a work in progress, but we hope to launch the newly improved website later this year.

2008-2009 Class of Fellows

Assignments of the 2008 - 2009 RWJ Health Policy Fellows

Reginald Alston, PhD
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Margaret Moss, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN
Senate Special Committee on Aging – Minority

Janet Phoenix, MD, MPH
Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)

Robert Ratner, MD
Institute of Medicine – Board on Health Care Service

Justina Trott, MD, FACP
Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

Thomas Tsang, MD, MPH
House Committee on Ways and Means – Majority

Leonard Zwelling, MD, MBA
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


RWJF Leaders' Link E-newsletter

The inaugural edition of the RWJF Leaders' Link e-newsletter provides an update on the vast range of research, activities, and accolades from others in the Foundation's Human Capital Portfolio. The next issue is scheduled to go out in April.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
RWJF is seeking to fill various program level positions and is asking your help in targeting appropriate applicants.  If you know anyone that would be a good fit and interested in any of these opportunities, please pass this information on to them. A full listing can be found by visiting the job opportunities section of RWJF's website at http://www.rwjf.org/about/joblisting.jsp.
















Eugene Rich

Nancy Ridenour

Lupita Salazar Letscher

Howard Tuch

William Turner

Guy Clifton
Guy Clifton ('06-'07) has a new book out called Flatlined: Resuscitating American Medicine, published by Rutgers University Press. Look for it in bookstores.


Jay Himmelstein
For Jay Himmelstein ('91-'92), the most unexpected, fun and unusual event in 2008 was getting inducted into the national wrestling hall of fame as “Outstanding American from the state of Maryland” – no kidding – and attending the induction ceremony in Annapolis in the fall. It was a blast reconnecting with his brothers, Baltimore and Philadelphia relatives, and wrestling friends and teammates from the past, and gained a new appreciation for his father and the role that wrestling played in shaping his life. You can see an 8-minute video of Jay's wrestling in junior league and at Baltimore city college high school that was shown at the Hall of Fame reception.

Robin Hemphill
Robin Hemphill ('05-'06) and colleagues at Emory University were awarded a research grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study how pay for performance impacts care in the emergency department.

Lisa Kaplowitz
Lisa Kaplowitz ('96-'97) is now the Director of the Alexandria Health Department in Virginia. You can read the full press release for details.



Jerome Paulson
Jerome Paulson ('85-'86) was appointed as medical director for national and global affairs at the Child Health Advocacy Institute. In this new role, Jerome will provide leadership and coordination for national and global initiatives as well as promote physician involvement in advocacy and public policy development efforts. Jerome will also join Drs. Joseph Wright and Eric Rosenthal in support of CNMC’s legislative advocacy and public policy efforts, working in collaboration with the Government and External Affairs team. Jerome is a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine and completed his pediatric residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospitals and Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, MD. For 18 years, he was on the faculty of the CNMC primary care track and provided patient care at GW Pediatrics and Children’s Pediatricians & Associates at Foggy Bottom. Jerome is one of the Co-Directors of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health & the Environment (MACCHE), one of 10 pediatric environmental health specialty units in the United States. He will continue serving in that capacity.

Eugene Rich
Eugene Rich ('06-'07) has now moved to the Association of American Medical Colleges where he is spending the year as a Scholar in Residence working primarily on clinical and translational research issues, with a particular focus on comparative effectiveness research. In his Creighton and SGIM roles, he also continues his work on the research agenda relevant to the patient centered medical home.


Nancy Ridenour
Nancy Ridenour ('07-'08) has been named dean of the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. You can read the press release by UNM Today.



Lupita Salazar-Letscher
Lupita Salazar-Letscher ('07-'08) caught Potomac Fever and joined the National Association of Community Health Centers. As the Associate Director of Federal Affairs, she is the lead legislative policy staffer on issues related to insurance payments for Health Centers, including through the Medicaid, SCHIP, and Medicare programs as well as through private insurance.  Lupita tracks insurance reform proposals in Congress for NACHC.


Howard Tuch
Howard Tuch ('06-'07) was recently interviewed for the Commonwealth Fund newsletter on Increasing Access to Hospice and Palliative Care. You can listen to the entire interview (MP3) with Vida Foubister, the editor of the newsletter.


William Turner
William Turner ('07-'08) has received a formal offer to join the faculty at Vanderbilt University. Beginning in July, he will become an endowed full professor --the Betts Chair-of Counseling and Community Research and Action in the Department of Human and Organizational Development and have a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology. His wife has also accepted an Associate Dean position at Vanderbilt. They are very excited to be moving to Nashville (their daughter will be a senior at Vanderbilt when they arrive). He will also be a Senior Faculty Fellow in the brand new Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Center jointly administered by Vanderbilt and the Meharry Medical College. The purpose of the center is to increase the number and diversity of those with formal training in sociology and economics who engage in health services and health policy research. You can read the full News release in the Foundation's Building Human Capital Program page. He is certain that the fellowship played an instrumental role in creating this opportunity.

© 2006 The RWJ Health Policy Fellowships Program
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