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?
The program created a national focus on health policy training which was buttressed by the six institutions in four demographically diverse cities. Each institution brought its particular strengths to the whole of the program and chose fellows whose similar aims were to study health policy. The richness of the program lay in the multitude of choices that these institutions offered. In a sense, program directors recruited fellows for all institutions: if an applicant called the RAND/UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) office but was looking for a program which allowed him/her to remain at home and employed, the applicant was referred to the Michigan program. Another example: RAND/UCLA offered a midcareer, year-long residential study, but inquiries often came from individuals who had just finished a PhD program or medical residency, so they might be referred to UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) which had established a postdoctoral offering. It was my understanding from people like Steve Crane (Boston University [BU]), David Perlman (Michigan), and Ted Benjamin (UCSF) that they too referred fellows to us or other more appropriate programs.
The most important contributions may be the richness of the health policy community today, which boasts 250 additional minds responsible for health policy decision making in a wide variety of venues: local, state, and national governments; private foundations and institutions; universities; and research institutes. The ripple effect of this knowledge and expertise is found in the lives and future endeavors of those whom past fellows influence. Whether it be a change in policy at the local level or the influence of a teacher for a student to pursue a change in career in health policy, the ramifications are far reaching.
2. How and why did your specific program develop? To what extent will your program continue now that Pew funding has ceased?
Al Williams can answer this better than I since he was involved from the very beginning, whereas I was hired after Pew funded RAND and UCLA. My understanding, however, is that there already existed loose ties between the UCLA Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Public Health, and RAND.