Spring 2015
From the Director | Updates All Around
What's New | Assignments of the 2014-2015 RWJF Health Policy Fellows | This years' Fellows travel to VA, MA | Lifetime Achievement Award | 2014 Alumni Retreat | Advisory Board News | Update your profile today!
Where are they now? | Find out what your colleagues have been doing!

Oliver Fein, MD

Updates All Around
In this thirteenth year in my role as Director of our beloved fellowship, I admit I am sometimes daunted by the many health policy challenges before us. The climate of Washington, DC, has changed dramatically.  It is certainly not the same city I knew as a fellow in the mid – ‘80s. Partisanship has increased while political strategy has become less predictable, resulting in an ever more complicated and crowded playing field. The digital age plays a major role in dictating the rhythm of the city, which is highly connected to the rest of the nation, if not the planet. Think of the profound impact of social media, post 9/11 security, new and emerging infectious diseases with the concurrent spread of antibiotic resistance, and the relationship between the states and the federal government with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. These have all redrawn lines of communication, altered the role of personal relationships, and brought to light evolving ethical questions and professional boundaries, and challenged our delineation of the borders of responsibilities. Real-time information about global events, in graphic detail, is only a click away and its sequela can find its way into our neighborhood in an instant. Interestingly, more of our fellows arrive with sophisticated international perspectives, credentials, and experiences and are finding opportunities to extend our health care focus well beyond traditional jurisdictions. 

Some things do remain the same. Over the last four decades, our fellows have consistently found the most strategic and highest health policy placements in the land. You probably agree that the best way to judge the success of a program is by its outcomes, so you can breathe a great sigh of relief when you look at our two most important metrics. The first and the most obvious short term outcome is the fact that our fellows continue to be sought by federal offices that lead this nation’s  health policy, thereby maintaining the excellent reputation and prestige to which we have always aspired. Despite the complexities of the current political environment, this year’s fellows have found their way into both the House and Senate, are working on key committees and in personal offices, are assigned to Republicans and Democrats, plus have taken positions in the White House and the Department of Defense. This is not a bad result, considering we only have 7 fellows in the current class! Second, and equally significant, take a look at our best estimate of longer term outcomes. Read the alumni news and see what we are doing. Check out the number of Deans, new and important publications, committee appointments, awards, and other recognitions that are proof positive of attainment of that ultimate goal -- leadership in health policy throughout the country. Every day our fellows and alums find a new opportunity to learn, adapt and lead. We are well positioned to promote the nation’s health. And our numbers continue to grow.

2008-2009 Class of Fellows







The 2014-2015 Fellows

The National Program Office is pleased to announce the placements of the Class of 2014-2015 fellows to the community of alumni and friends.

Karen Armitage, M.D.
Office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Lemuel Dent, M.D.
U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)

Marian Grant, D.N.P.
Office of the Democratic Leader Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Kimberlyn Leary, Ph.D., M.P.A.
White House Council on Women and Girls

Colleen Leners, D.N.P.
Office of Senator John Thune (R-SD)

Karen Matthews, M.D.
Office of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Anh Nguyen, M.D., M.B.A.
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

2014 Class photo

Fellows with Sam Kass (White House)

Fellows East Wing Tour


2015 State Site Visits

In March and April, the 2014-2015 Fellows met with key health policy leaders in Virginia and Massachusetts to compare and contrast policy-making at the state and federal levels. The Fellows had the unique opportunity to learn about and discuss the challenges in health care facing states today. These trips were generously facilitated by alums Carole Pratt (’11-’12) and Jay Himmelstein (’91-’92) in Virginia and Massachusetts, respectively.  Thank you Carole and Jay!

VA First Lady

Fellows’ luncheon at the Executive Mansion with First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Jennifer Lee

VA Governor

Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe

State House

Visit to Massachusetts State House with Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing


Fellows with Executive Director of the MA Health Policy Commission David Seltz, Blue Cross Blue Sheild Foundation of Massachusetts President Audrey Shelto, and Associated Industries of Massachusetts President and CEO Rick Lord


The 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award

We are pleased to announce Jo Ivey Boufford as the recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Dr. Carole Pratt, RWJF Health Policy Fellows Program Advisory Board Member and Alum presented the award during the 2014 RWJF Health Policy Fellows Alumni Retreat in October. Dr. Boufford was unable to attend the event in person as she was representing the Institute of Medicine in Berlin at the World Health Summit M8 Alliance, but expressed her appreciation for the award and reflected on her time as a fellow in a video message. Dr. Boufford was a member of the 1979-1980 class of Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows.  During her time as a fellow, Dr. Boufford worked in the office of Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY). 

Lifetime Achievement


The 2014 Alumni Retreat

In October, the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows Program Alumni gathered for a day and a half in Washington, DC to celebrate the rich history of the program.  Attendees heard from notable speakers including National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Karen DeSalvo; Acting United States Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak; and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and program alum, Karen Guice.  Speakers and their corresponding reactor panels discussed important topics in health and health policy ranging from meaningful use, to policy alignment, to military medicine.  Guests enjoyed an opportunity to reconnect with fellow alums and to meet the 2014-2015 cohort.  In her closing remarks, Director Marie Michnich reflected on the program’s success in preparing health policy leaders over the past forty years and welcomed its next chapter.


“Beyond Health Care” panel Barbara Damron (’12-’13),
Linda Degutis (‘96-‘97), Harry Heiman (‘12-‘13),
and Janet Phoenix (‘08-‘09)


'12-'13 Fellow Steve Ferrara and member of the
2014 Alumni Retreat Planning Group


Advisory Board member and ’11-’12 fellow Carole Pratt
presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Jo Ivey Boufford (’79-’80)


Guest Speaker and alum Karen Guice (’96-’97) and
Advisory Board member and alum Art Kellermann (’06-’07)


Nancy Ridenour (’07-’08) and Wendi Gosliner (’13-’14)

Advisory Board News

Dr. A. Eugene Washington is the now Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke.  Dr. Washington served as RWJF Health Policy Fellows Advisory Board Member from 2005-2009.  Prior to his position as Chancellor for Health Affairs, Dr. Washington served as vice chancellor for health affairs at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and chief executive officer of the UCLA Health System.  During his time on the Advisory Board, Dr. Washington served as executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  Read more here…

Thank You!
The RWJF Health Policy Fellows Advisory Board and Program Staff acknowledge with gratitude the service of two members who are completing their terms this year.  Over the past six years, Susan Dentzer and Jim Gavin have both lent their time and expertise to the process of selecting exceptional mid-career health professionals to be Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows.  Thank you for your outstanding work and dedication to the program!

Michnich and Gavin


Keep Your Website Profile Up-to-Date

Please take a moment to make sure your profile on the website is up-to-date.  If you need to make any edits, contact the National Program Office at info@healthpolicyfellows.org or (202) 334-1506 and we will be glad to help.

David Altman

David Altman
David Altman (‘92-‘93) is now Chief Medical Officer for Integra Health Plan in New York.  Integra provides managed long term care coverage for a Medicaid population and also is participating in a New York State pilot program for dually-eligible participants as part of care delivery redesign under the State's 1115 waiver. 

Kira Bacal

Kira Bacal
Kira Bacal (‘04-‘05) gave birth to twin boys in September. She is living in New Zealand and is splitting time between academic medicine and telemedicine. Congratulations on your growing family, Kira!


Nadine Braunstein
Nadine Braunstein (’13-’14) was appointed to be the Vice Chair of the Licensure and Public Policy Committee for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Kenneth Chance
Kenneth Chance (‘91-‘92) is enjoying his position as Dean of the Case Western Reserve University, School of Dental Medicine and says, “it is a great opportunity to facilitate the success of others while applying the excellent knowledge received by our great RWJ program.”


Michele Curtis
Michele Curtis (‘02-‘03) is now attending the University of Houston Law school, where she has successfully completed her first semester.  Dr. Curtis is interested in a practice that will combine health law, intellectual property, and international law and will continue limited part time clinical practice. 


Peter Dans
Peter Dans (‘76-‘77) is looking forward to the publication of his new children’s book this summer titled Sergeant Bill and His Horse Bob. The book tells the story of mounted police in Baltimore who directed traffic at what may have at the time been the busiest intersection in America.  Dr. Dans has also published another children's book Perry's Baltimore Adventure: A Birds-eye View of Charm City, which is used in the 3rd Grade Social Studies curriculum Baltimore City Schools to teach urban geography.


Linda Degutis
Linda Degutis (’96-’97) was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) membership. She is one of the 70 new members who have been recognized for outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Congratulations Linda! Read the press release.

In addition to her new IOM Membership, as of March 23rd, Dr. Degutis is the Executive Director of the Center for Innovation with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine located at USUHS and is also working from Atlanta.


Dan Derksen

Dan Derksen (’07-’08) has been named director of the community, environment and policy division at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Derksen is also Director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health at the University Of Arizona College of Public Health.


Louis Diamond
Louis Diamond (‘90-‘91) served as chair for the Quality Improvement Education Roadmap Report and co-authored the report released January for the Alliance for Continuing Education for the Health Professions.  Dr. Diamond will also serve as co-chair for implementation of the report recommendations later this year.


William Eaglstein
William Eaglstein’s (‘86-‘87) book The FDA for Doctors (Springer) was published in September. Dr. Eaglstein says about the book, “It was written to address the lack of education doctors receive about the FDA but has also been well received by people in industry.” Click here to read the Table of Contents, Introduction and portions of several chapters online.


Sheldon D. Fields
As of January 12, 2015, Sheldon Fields (’09-’10) was appointed Dean of the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing (MMDSON) at Charles R. Drew University. Dr. Fields is celebrating a career in nursing that spans more than two decades.


Jean Paul Gagnon
Jean Paul Gagnon (’81-’82) was nominated Honorary President of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) for 2016. He retired from Sanofi in 2011 but continues to consult with pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Gagnon also serves as Chairman of the PhRMA Foundation Health Outcomes Committee, Adjunct Professor and Chairman of the Mayes College Board of Advisors, and Adjunct Professor and a member of the Rutgers School of Pharmacy Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics program Corporate Advisory Board.


Karen Hein
Karen Hein (’93-’94) gave the 2014 Academic Pediatric Association’s George Armstrong Lecture in Vancouver.  Dr. Hein’s presentation, titled “Outside Looking In, Inside Looking Out—Expanding the Concept of Health” was published in the March/April issue of Academic Pediatrics. Click here to read.


Richard Krugman
The University of Colorado School of Medicine has honored Richard Krugman (‘80-‘81) for his 25 years as dean and vice-chancellor for health affairs.  In a ceremony held in January, faculty and students gathered to dedicate a conference hall in the school’s research complex in Dr. Krugman’s honor.  Read more!


Matthew Levy
On January 2nd, Matthew Levy (‘10-‘11) was sworn in for a two-year term as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the Ward 6, representing about 2000 constituents.

Dr. Levy was also accepted into the inaugural class of the MedStar Leaders of the Future: Physician Leadership Development Training program. This 18 month program combines leadership and business development in order to prepare physicians to lead the MedStar Health organization in its growth as a health care system.


Marie Michnich
While we have always known this to be true, Disruptive Women in Health Care has named Marie Michnich (1984-1985) one of the 15 Disruptive Women to Watch in 2015.  The Disruptive Women to Watch series aims to “highlight women from a broad cross-section of disciplines all of which profoundly impact health and health care.”  Congratulations Marie! Read more…


Jerome Paulson
Jerome Paulson (‘85-‘86) is looking forward to continuing to focus on children’s environmental health as his career path shifts toward a new direction beginning this year. Dr. Paulson will be consulting with the American Academy of Pediatrics on the PEHSU-East Program and looks forward to developing other consulting opportunities with agencies, NGOs and others.


Janice Phillips
Janice Phillips (‘10-‘11) received the 2014 Nursing Outlook Excellence in Policy Award for her article “Prescription Drug Abuse: Problem, Policies, and Implications” at the American Academy of Nursing's Annual meeting on October 16th, 2014.  Dr. Phillips published this article as part of her RWJF Fellowship.


Keith Powell
Keith Powell (‘92-‘93) is now working for Doctors Without Borders.  Dr. Powell spent 9 months as a pediatrician in Pakistan, and most recently, 6 months in South Sudan working with adults and children.  This year, Dr. Powell is looking forward to enjoying some sightseeing with his partner in the Western U.S. and Italy, as well as celebrating his grandson's first birthday.


Nancy Ridenour
Nancy Ridenour (‘07-‘08) recently joined the American Academy of Nursing Primary Care Expert Panel and is working on projects related to Primary Care Coordination with fellow Expert Panel members.  In April 2014, Dr. Ridenour was the featured speaker at the Kentucky Board of Nursing Centennial Celebration with a workshop titled “The Affordable Care Act: Implications, Effects and Impacts”. Dr. Ridenour was then invited to be the keynote speaker at a regional event in Henderson, KY in November 2014 to present on the same topic.

Working with the RWJF Nursing and Health Policy Collaborative at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Ridenour organized the “Integrating Health Policy into Doctoral Nursing Programs” conference in San Diego, CA in January.  Dr. Ridenour co-authored, along with other executive leaders at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, “Vision 2020 Measures University of New Mexico’s Success by Health of Its State” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine January 2015 issue.  As a Board Member of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, Dr. Ridenour also co-authored two position papers on Nurse Practitioner Faculty Practice and Nurse Practitioner Faculty Workload.


Richard Rieselbach
Richard Rieselbach ('85-'86) is working on projects related to Graduate Medical Education policy. He recently co-authored an article on the Health Affairs Blog titled "Graduate Medical Education: The Need For New Leadership In Governance And Financing". Click here to read...


Hassan A. Tetteh
Earlier this year, Hassan Tetteh’s (’12-’13) notable work at the Defense Health Headquarters as Physician Health Policy Advisor was highlighted in two stories featured on the Navy Medicine website.  The stories describe Dr. Tetteh’s experiences attending the 2013 TEDMED conference as a Front Line Scholar and his impactful work as a Navy Medicine Officer and surgeon

Click here to read Dr. Tetteh’s recent article in the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation newsletter highlighting the importance of artistic expression in the lives of doctors and patients alike, something he experienced through the creative process of writing Gifts of the Heart.


Edward “Terry” Wimberley
Terry Wimberley (’89-‘90) is now working in the area of environmental health policy and sustainability and has authored Ecopragmatics which “provides a framework for addressing seemingly intransigent environmental issues by relying upon a method of pragmatic analysis and inquiry grounded in the ideas of William James and John Dewey.”


Earnestine Willis
Beginning in January, Earnestine Willis (‘89-‘90) will be lending her expertise to the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Health Literacy.  This IOM Roundtable aims to identify key pathways to health literacy advancement by engaging stakeholders and discussing ways to improve translation of research findings.


Peggy Wilmoth
In December, Peggy Wilmoth (’09-‘10) was promoted by Senate confirmation to Major General in the U.S. Army Reserve.  Dr. Wilmoth serves as Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization, Readiness and Army Reserve Affairs in the Office of the Surgeon General, US Army.


Scott Young
In 2014, Scott Young (‘01-‘02) participated in conferences hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Data & Society Research Institute aimed at examining the social, cultural, and ethical implications of “big data”.

Additionally, earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced Dr. Young as one of four new members of their Research Advisory Committee (RAC). The RAC was established to provide advice to the VA on proposed research studies, research plans, or research strategies related to the health consequences of military service in Southwest Asia during the Persian Gulf War.

© 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows
A National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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