1a. Based on your experience and familiarity with the Pew program, what did the fellowship really accomplish? What are the most important contributions?
It helped me complete a career transition that I had planned from basic science to policy research, and I'm sure that without the fellowship I would not have been able to do that. It also helped me develop a lot of contacts in the health policy world and to learn how to develop policy-relevant research questions.
In general, Pew has succeeded in sending out some highly trained people to a whole variety of positions around the United States to do policy-relevant research. I know one of the goals of the Pew program was to seed the field, and I think it has accomplished that.
1b. What is the Pew "legacy" in terms of:
It established a network of highly trained individuals who will stay in touch forever. That will be really important, as it helps people in different agencies and in different states as they approach similar problems with different perspectives.
The Pew program has trained fellows in health policy, where there has not been a lot of programs available. From a more personal perspective, the postdoctoral training has really been a lot more valuable because there are just more programs for undergraduate training. That is not to say that we have enough of either. But for the postdoctoral training it filled a very large gap. There just wasn't anything out there, and what that was able to do was to educate people who had fairly advanced training in some specific discipline and then help them target their current training for health policy.
The program positioned me for doing a lot of international work. I had my first contact with the World Health Organization while I was a Pew fellow. That rocketed me into doing international health policy work, which was great. I got a real jump start on that through the fellowship.