1. Based on your experience and familiarity with the fellows and the programs, what did the program really accomplish? What are the most important contributions?
There are definitely some people who went off into health policy and are doing great things, so the program kind of seeded the field in that way. There are a bunch of us who went into academia and other things, but that too supplements the field. What the program did for a lot of people was to give them an opportunity to get their doctorate under circumstances that if it were not for the program, they would not have been able to have done so. There were two things that the program did. The first was that it bestowed a certain amount of prestige, so it was seen as a career enhancer, and the other thing it did was to provide some funds. So, for example, in my case I had just finished my MPH, and I was in a sense retreating from a previous profession, and I probably would not have been able to get my PhD without the program. So, from my own perspective what the program did was to help us get our doctorate, which was critical to our careers.
The Pew program was supposed to take people out of their careers in health policy, tune them up, give them some skills, and put them back wiser and more skilled. The extent to which it did that I don't really know.
Certainly, one important contribution that it made in a generic sense was that it created a prestigious fellowship for health policy, which in and of itself said something about the importance of health policy as a discipline and that having a doctorate in health policy was a desirable thing. That was important. Some of us did some research that may have been useful. I think the issues that may have been important in health policy 13 years ago have changed so much that we certainly got a grounding and were able to understand what was happening, but the extent to which fellows have gone on and sort of changed the spin of health policy in this country, I don't know.
2. What was the most innovative or unique aspect of your particular program design and implementation?
I was at Boston University (BU) and I thought it was great that we could essentially design our own curriculum and decide what tools we wanted to get. One of the reasons