Producing Tomorrow’s Health Leaders: Fellowships 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 and behavioral and social scientists. The fellowships provide exposure to the health policy processes of Congress and the executive branch, as well as opportunities to engage with the IOM’s committees and other activities.
Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships
For more than 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 and social scientists. Through a unique and comprehensive orientation program designed and administered by the IOM, followed by high-level work assignments in Congress and the administration, more than 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 policy-making process. For example, Mario Pacheco (2000–2001) came to his congressional assignment with a concern
about obesity in the Hispanic population and 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 makes valuable contributions to the deliberations of federal policy makers. Consequently, fellows are in great demand during their year in Washington, DC, and beyond. They are recruited for congressional staff positions and have taken assignments in the administration, including in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, and the White House Office of Domestic Policy. Federal and state agencies, along with professional organizations and associations, also enlist alumni of this program for their insight and experience to serve in leadership roles.
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. For examples, Kristofer Hagglund (2000–2001) and Karen Edison (1999–2000) are the codirectors and cofounders of the Center for Health Policy at the University of Missouri–Columbia.
IOM Anniversary Fellows Program
To celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2005, the IOM created 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 health field. IOM boards, committees, and roundtables provide 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 is open to individuals who hold nontenured faculty positions in any university. It especially welcomes applications from underrepresented minority candidates. Fellows continue with their main academic responsibilities while engaging part-time in various IOM activities. A one-week immersion in the health policy arena in Washington, DC, 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.
An endowment from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) has created the Norman F. Gant/American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Fellowship. The fellowship, created to honor Norman F. Gant, M.D., a member of the IOM and the executive director of ABOG, is targeted to obstetricians and gynecologists early in their careers.
Distinguished Nurse Scholar Program
The Distinguished Nurse Scholar Program is designed to assist outstanding nurse leaders in playing a more prominent role in health policy development at the national level. The program seeks individuals who have the capacity and skills to help increase policy makers’ awareness and understanding of critical issues related to nursing. As part of the program, the scholar is asked to produce a policy-oriented paper or to become actively involved in an IOM study related to his or her area of expertise.
The program, initiated in 1992, is supported by the American Academy of Nursing and the American Nurses Foundation and is conducted by the IOM. Each year, one senior nurse scholar is selected from an eligible institution or organization to come to Washington, DC, to participate in a one-year program of orientation and work at the IOM.