Fellowship Programs at the Institute of Medicine
In addition to providing guidance on a range of health and policy issues, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) offers a number of fellowship opportunities for health professionals. The fellowships are designed to provide exposure to the health policy processes of government—in Congress, the Executive Branch, and through IOM committee service.
ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON HEALTH POLICY FELLOWSHIPS
For three decades, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation® Health Policy Fellowships Program has enhanced the careers of outstanding mid-career academic health professionals, community health leaders, and behavioral scientists. Through a unique and comprehensive orientation program designed and administered by the IOM, followed by high-level work assignments in Congress or the Administration, almost 200 fellows have participated in shaping federal health policy. Strategically positioned at the nexus of health care, policy, and politics, fellows have frontline responsibilities in shaping the nation’s legislation and regulations governing health and health care.
Fellows frequently have been cited by members of Congress, the Administration, and the health policy community as significantly improving the outcomes of the health policymaking process. For example, Mario Pacheco (2000-2001) came to his congressional assignment with a concern about obesity in the Hispanic population, and he energetically supported the successful passage of legislation that created a study of school-based vending machines and their effect on childhood nutrition.
The scientific and clinical expertise that fellows possess make valuable contributions to the deliberations that face federal policymakers. Consequently, fellows are in high demand during their year in Washington, D.C., and beyond. They are recruited aggressively for congressional committee and personal staff positions on both sides of the aisle and in both the House and Senate, and they are sought for assignments in the Administration, including in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the White House Office of Domestic Policy. Federal and state agencies, as well as professional organizations and associations, also aggressively pursue alumni for
their insights and newly found abilities to serve in leadership roles. As examples, Lisa Kaplowitz (1996-1997) is now deputy commissioner of emergency preparedness and response for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Larry Kerr (1998-1999) serves in the Executive Office.
Outside of government, alumni serve as university presidents, vice chancellors, and department chairs, and as deans of schools of medicine, nursing, and public health. Many of them continue to enthusiastically maintain their connections to the workings of government, and some alumni have become official liaisons in government relations for their universities and professional societies.
SENIOR NURSE SCHOLARS-IN-RESIDENCE
In collaboration with the American Academy of Nursing and the American Nurses Foundation, the IOM manages a Senior Nurse Scholar-in-Residence Program to encourage and assist prominent nurse leaders in the articulation and assessment of health policy issues of national concern. Each scholar selects a specific health policy issue consistent with priority activities of the IOM and the nursing profession. Based at the IOM, the scholar attends orientation meetings with key officials in federal agencies and, along with other IOM fellows, meetings with congressional committees. The scholar also attends forums and meetings of the IOM and other branches of the National Academies, as well as meetings of the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Foundation, and the American Nurses Association. Mentors work with each scholar to help in refining the selected policy issue and in bridging the gap between academia and the service and health policy sectors. Before the end of the residency program, the scholar is required to submit a paper for peer-reviewed publication that frames academic or experiential knowledge into policy-relevant recommendations.
IOM ANNIVERSARY FELLOWSHIPS
To celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2005, the IOM is developing a new fellowship program to enable talented health science scholars early in their careers to participate in the work of the IOM and to further their careers as future leaders in the field. IOM boards, committees, and roundtables offer exceptional—and in many ways unique—learning environments that can offer early-career scholars extensive opportunities to interact with eminent
researchers, policy experts, and clinicians from across the country on a range of important health issues.
The 2-year program, which is expected to begin accepting applications in 2006, will be open to individuals who hold nontenured faculty positions in any university. It will especially welcome applications from underrepresented minority candidates. Fellows will continue with their main academic responsibilities while engaging part-time in various IOM activities. A 1-week immersion in the health policy arena in Washington, D.C., a mentoring relationship with a senior IOM member, and a flexible research stipend enhance the value of the program. The IOM anticipates that the benefits of gaining new knowledge, professional connections, and broad exposure to policy leaders will attract an outstanding pool of applicants from a range of health-related disciplines.