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Fellowships to USA Mid-Career Professionals to Improve Health Equity

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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Geographic Focus

Important Dates
LOI Date: 11/01/23
Deadline: 02/08/24 3:00 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Fellowships to USA professionals working at government agencies and academic institutions to improve health equity, health policy, and health care. Applicants are required to submit a preliminary application prior to submitting a full proposal. The fellowship requires a full-time commitment with a minimum 12-month residence in Washington, DC, which prepares individuals to influence the future of health and healthcare in the nation.

The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program provides the nation’s most comprehensive learning experience at the nexus of health, science, and policy in Washington, D.C. It is an outstanding opportunity for exceptional mid-career health professionals and behavioral/social scientists with an interest in advancing health and health equity through policy change. Fellows participate in the policy process at the federal level and leverage that leadership experience to promote policies, practices, and systems changes that advance health and health equity.

The fellowship begins in September with an intensive three-and-a-half-month orientation arranged by the NAM, during which time the fellows meet with national leaders well-versed in health, healthcare policy, health equity, social determinants of health, and structural racism; 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. The concentrated orientation is designed to prepare the fellows for immediate success in federal legislative and executive branch positions.

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; and
  • Brief legislators or senior administration officials on a range of health issues.

Fellowship assignments are supplemented throughout the year by nonpartisan seminars and group discussions on contemporary federal policy topics, as well as media/strategic communications training and leadership development activities. Fellows prepare a formal presentation on a health policy issue with which they have been engaged. Fellows also take part in NAM meetings and with other health policy organizations throughout the year.

After the Washington residential experience, fellows become part of a nationwide alumni network and typically return to Washington each year to attend an Alumni Retreat and the NAM Annual Meeting, and to be briefed on issues and trends in health and healthcare policy.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligibility Criteria:
- Exceptional midcareer professionals from academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, or government (including military; U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs; U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; and state offices who are not considered government officials under Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code);
- Applicants must have earned an advanced degree (masters or doctoral degree);
- In addition, applicants must have deep experience and subject matter expertise in a health-related discipline. Examples include but are not limited to medicine; nursing; public health; law, dentistry; economics and other social sciences (especially disciplines related to factors that influence population health, such as housing, transportation, nutrition, wealth, employment, education, and environmental and community conditions); health services and social work/behavioral health; and other health professions;
- Applicants whose official job description or responsibilities are primarily government relations or advocacy are not eligible;
- Individual candidates for receipt of award funds must be U.S. citizens, or permanent residents at the time of application. Because the RWJF Health Policy Fellows are placed in assignments in the federal government, changes in federal policy or law may necessitate that RWJF consider adjustments in eligibility and grant terms, as well as placements in the program.
- Additionally, individual candidates for receipt of award funds cannot be related by blood or marriage to any Officer or Trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or be a descendant of its founder, Robert Wood Johnson.

No additional direct or indirect costs are paid during the 12–24 months of this program. At no time are indirect costs allowable for the fellowship award. Funding for computers, laptops, printers, smartphones, or other equipment is not allowed.

Pre-Proposal Conference
August 8, 2023 (3 p.m. ET), September 20, 2023 (11 a.m. ET), and October 25, 2023 (3 p.m. ET): Optional applicant web conference calls. Registration is required. Please visit the program’s website for complete details and to register.

Register at:

Pre-Application Information
Key Dates and Deadlines:
- October 30, 2023 (3 p.m. ET): Deadline for receipt of three reference letters.
- November 1, 2023 (3 p.m. ET): Deadline for receipt of preliminary applications.
- Mid-January 2024: Selection of finalists.
- February 8, 2024 (3 p.m. ET): Deadline for receipt of full applications.
- Mid/late February 2024: Finalist interviews with the advisory board.
- Late February 2024: Selection and notification.
- September 1, 2024: Start of fellowships.

Late submissions will not be accepted for any reason.

The NAM will assist all fellows in setting up placement interviews. Each fellow is, however, solely responsible for selecting and securing their own placement in a federal government office in Washington, D.C., no later than January 15, 2025. Fellowship placements generally begin no later than January 31.

More information:


Number of Grants
Up to eight fellows

Estimated Size of Grant
Stipend: $175,000 per fellow over a period of 12–24 months for up to eight fellows.

Housing/Relocation: Fellows will be directly reimbursed for relocation and approved housing
expenses through separate funds within limits specified by the NAM and RWJF.

Term of Contract
The fellowship requires a full-time commitment with a minimum 12-month residence.

Fellowship placements generally begin no later than January 31. Fellows may request approval from the national program office (NPO) at the NAM to extend the Washington, D.C., stay past the 12-month residential period of September 1, 2024, to August 31, 2025, until December 31, 2025, when the legislative session ends.

Contact Information
Apply online:

RWJF Health Policy Fellows
National Academy of Medicine
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: (202) 334-1506
Fax: (202) 334-3862

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