Generally between 10-15 fellows are selected per year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, fellows are expected to attend all of the meetings. Each meeting is specifically designed to achieve certain goals. The meetings provide fellows with the opportunity to learn about current health and aging issues, gain in-depth knowledge on the policymaking process, and develop skills needed to influence policy. In addition, the meetings allow fellows to network with agency heads, congressional staff and other leaders and key players in the field of health and aging and policy, and with other fellows.
Mentoring constitutes an important component of the program and is provided through a range of sources:
- The Program Director and Deputy Director serve as “meta-mentors” for both fellowship and overall career mentoring.
- Peer Mentoring – Each fellow is paired with 2-3 HAPF Alumni based on shared content area interests, geographic overlap, and/or relevant institutional affiliations.
- Each fellow has a site-based mentor at his/her placement.
Additionally, the HAPF NPO provides transitional/post-fellowship mentoring to all alumni fellows; and, through involvement in ongoing fellowship activities, current and alumni fellows become part of a network of peer mentors.
Policy projects are determined by the placement site and may be national, state, local, or institution-based and will be designed to further the objectives of the fellows’ individualized learning objectives and plans. Content and duration of the brief placements will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Many of our residential fellows have had placements in Congress, both in the Senate and House of Representatives working either as legislative staff in the offices of individual members of Congress or as committee staff (e.g., Senate HELP Committee, Senate Finance Committee, House Rules Committee, etc.) on a wide portfolio of legislative issues related to health care reform, financing, prevention and wellness, and the integration of health care delivery systems, mental health, dental care, etc. Some of the fellows have been directly involved in the health care reform process, working with senior policy experts and advisors to members of Congress on all facets of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Also, many of our residential fellows have had placements in various executive branch agencies, including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Surgeon General’s Office, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Transportation (DoT), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Agriculture working on issues as varied as implementation of health care reform, “food deserts” (access to healthy foods), implementation of the National Healthcare Quality Strategy, etc.
Some of the issues fellows might be working on at the various placement sites will directly relate to health while others relate to larger societal issues but all are connected to the challenges confronting an aging society.
Placements for non-residential fellows included including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), as well as AHRQ , the Department of Transportation, and the Administration on Community Living as well as the Senate Special Committee on Aging, among others. Issues fellows might be working on include policies regarding ways to strengthen Medicare, improving advance care planning in dementia, and policies regarding medications in Medicare Part D as well as transportation issues for the elderly and disabled.
The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program has partnered with the Veterans Administration to establish a non-residential track for VA staff to represent the Department of Veterans Affairs as a VA/Health and Aging Policy Fellow. VA/Health and Aging Policy Fellow participate through the non-residential track of the fellowship.
It is a unique opportunity for professionals in health and aging within the VA to receive the experience and skills necessary to make a positive contribution to the development and implementation of health policies that affect older Americans. Benefits of participation in this program include formal sessions for fellows in Washington, DC and other locations addressing health and aging policy along with general career development and professional enrichment content; nationally recognized mentors to assist the fellow’s policy and career development; and participation in an ongoing community of peers and mentors to advance knowledge and practice to improve the Nation’s health and the profession.
VA Fellows must be nominated by the Office of Academic Affiliations and will be selected by Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program through a national competition based on the applicant’s commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential, and interest in impacting policy. The program has a broad interdisciplinary focus: Fellows have included physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, dieticians, healthcare administrators, epidemiologists, economists, and lawyers from academic and practice settings, spanning career stages from newly minted PhDs to senior professors and community leaders. The program is open to U.S. citizens at all career stages, with a focus on those early or midway through their careers.
A paid VA appointment is required prior to starting The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program as a VA Fellow but is not required at the time of application. Part-time VA appointments are acceptable to meet eligibility criteria. Applicants may be VA staff or trainees (e.g. Advanced Fellows).
Please contact Deborah Ludke, MHA, VHA-CM (P: 562-826-5492 | E: [email protected]) if you or any interested applicants have questions about the program or the application process.
The NPO provides transitional and post-fellowship mentoring to all fellows. In addition, through involvement of alumni in ongoing fellowship activities, current and alumni fellows become part of a network of peer mentors, with alumni fellows serving as peer mentors to current fellows. This provides an opportunity for alumni fellows to remain engaged in the program and expand their networks. The alumni network is strengthened through various mechanisms, including virtual roundtables, weekly and quarterly communications, and opportunities to participate in annual HAPF programming.
Although the selection committee does not follow any set quotas for selecting fellows, the goal is that a mix of disciplines and of professionals with diverse career experiences and interests are represented in the final selection of fellows. The program also makes every effort to attract applicants from underrepresented groups. Selection is based on the applicant’s potential for leadership in health policy, professional qualifications and achievements, impact of the fellowship experience on the applicant’s career, and interpersonal and communication skills. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its territories who have career plans that anticipate continued work in the U.S. after the fellowship period.
No. We want a mix of professionals with some clinical training and background, as well as professionals whose work directly pertains to clinical care, but they don’t need to currently be involved in providing clinical services.
No. The residential model provides fellows with a hands-on policy experience in settings that offer exposure to a wide range of policy issues. Each fellow in the residential track works with colleagues in his/her placement site to determine tasks and roles.
The Program does not have geographical restrictions or requirements. Residential fellows may find placements at the federal or state level. The majority of residential fellows find placements at the federal level – most commonly in Congress or in an executive branch agency and live in Washington, D.C. Residential fellows who would like to be placed with state agencies are not restricted to their own states, but the placements must provide a good fit with fellows’ interests.
All fellows must attend the meetings described in FAQ #2. Time commitments to non-residential fellows’ policy projects are determined on an individual case-by-case basis, but applicants should plan to commit approximately 1 day per week to their policy fellowship.
Ideally, non-residential fellows will have a “home mentor” in addition to the various mentors the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program will help to identify over the course of their fellowship (see also above “How are mentors identified?”). Having a home mentor will assist fellows with linking their fellowship work to policy resources at their home institution and with post-fellowship transitioning.
No, there are no restrictions on applicants reapplying to the program if not successful previously.
If reapplying, you can choose to continue with the same policy topic or change topics for your essay. The goal of the essay is to enable the selection committee to evaluate your ability to communicate in a policy context and to build a policy argument. For those reapplying, we do not compare previous policy essay(s) with the current year’s.