The program offers two different tracks:
- Residential model: Includes a nine-to-12-month placement in Washington, D.C. or at a state agency (as a legislative assistant in Congress, a professional staff member in an executive agency or in a policy organization).
- Non-residential model: Fellows remain, for the most part, at their home institution, and focus on a project addressing a key policy issue with brief placement(s) throughout the year at relevant policy settings (as opposed to a nine-to-12-month relocation).
Fellows can engage at many levels of policymaking – global, federal, state, community – through The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program. The fellowship experience is enhanced by our partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the National Insitute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and most recently with The Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Areas of focus include but are not limited to:
- Behavioral Health
- Societal Aging and Age-Friendly Public Health
- Global Health and Aging
- Aging at the Federal, State, and/or Community Level
Fellows’ health policy projects may be global, national, state, local, or institution-based.
Non-residential fellows focused on National policy issues develop part-time placements/partnerships with federal agencies and Congressional offices.
Global Health and Aging Policy Fellows develop policy projects in collaboration with international agencies (e.g., the World Health Organization, the World Bank, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), ministries of health, labor and social affairs, funding agencies, and foundations that focus on the global shift in demographics and the related policy implications). The Global Policy Fellows may identify successful health policy models, may compare national policies on particular aging issues, or work on global policy recommendations with international organizations. In all cases, the policy project will have practical, policy implications for adaptation and implementation that will enable populations to age better, not just live longer.
State and Community fellows remain, for the most part, at their home institution, and focus on a project addressing a state or local policy issue with brief placement(s) throughout the year at relevant policy settings (as opposed to a nine-to-12-month relocation). This program is designed to focus on policy issues that directly influence the way health and social services are delivered at the state, local, and organizational/provider level given that so many policies that impact older adults are refined and implemented at these more local levels.
By participating in the fellowship, fellows will not only expand their own professional networks but they will also serve to strengthen the network of professionals in that community working in the field. Moreover, community fellows will serve as potential links to federal agencies and institutions to support implementation of policies at the local level. Potential placement sites could be state and local agencies and non-governmental organizations or federal congressional offices or agencies with linkage to important local issues.
The VA Track is a specific 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).
Whereas the residential model provides fellows with a hands-on policy experience in settings that offer exposure to a wide range of policy issues, the non-residential model is organized around a specific health policy project with placement opportunities tailored to the fellows’ individual policy interests and background. Once selected, the National Program Officer Director and Associate Director (along with staff from the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program) work with each fellow to identify appropriate projects, placements, and mentors.
Fellows in all tracks participate in core program components that are designed to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to translate their work into policy action (see Core Program Components for Both Tracks).
Examples of placements for fellows include:
Congress – U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
Fellows have been placed as staff on Congressional committees as well legislative staff to individual Senators and Representatives. For example, in the first year of the fellowship, five Health and Aging Policy Fellows work for the Senate Finance Committee or Senators on that committee developing the Affordable Care Act). Fellows have also worked for the House Rules Committee, the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Aging. There has been remarkable interest from Congressional offices (Senate and House of Representatives) seeking to have our residential fellows placed in their offices working on a specific health and aging related policy project of interest to a Senator or Representative or on a committee.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC’s mission is to create expertise, information and tools through health information dissemination, preparedness, prevention, research, and surveillance to help people and communities to reduce the health and economic consequences of the leading causes of death and disability, thereby ensuring a long, productive, healthy life for all people. To learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, please visit CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. As one of the largest purchasers of health care in the United States, CMS’s mission is to ensure effective, up-to-date health care coverage and to promote quality care for beneficiaries through its various programs, and achieve a transformed and modernized health care system. To learn more about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, please visit its website at http://www.cms.gov
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization working to build the consumer and community leadership that is required to transform the American health system. Community Catalyst’s mission is to organize and sustain a powerful consumer voice to ensure that all individuals and communities can influence the local, state and national decisions that affect their health. To learn more, please visit Community Catalyst’s website at http://www.communitycatalyst.org/
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
The office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) provides advice to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on policy development in health, disability, human services, and science, and provides advice and analysis on economic policy. The office leads special initiatives, coordinates the Department’s evaluation, research and demonstration activities, and manages cross-Department planning activities such as strategic planning, legislative planning and review of regulations. Integral to this role, ASPE conducts research and evaluation studies, develops policy analyses and estimates the cost and benefits of policy alternatives under consideration by the Department or Congress. To learn more about ASPE and its research activities, please visit its website at http://aspe.hhs.gov/
National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Aging, (NIA)
NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, leads the federal government in conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life. NIA sponsors research on aging through extramural and intramural programs. The extramural program funds research and training at universities, hospitals, medical centers, and other public and private organizations nationwide. To learn more about NIA, please visit its website at http://www.nia.nih.gov/
World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. To learn more, please visit WHO’s website at http://www.who.int
Administration on Community Living (ACL)
HHS established a single organization to include the efforts and achievements of the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in a single agency. It provides enhanced policy and program support for both cross-cutting initiatives and efforts focused on the unique needs of individual groups such as children with developmental disabilities, adults with physical disabilities, or seniors, including seniors with Alzheimer’s. The new agency is also working with CMS to develop, refine and strengthen policies that promote independent living among all populations, especially those served by Medicaid and to promote home and community based services and supports. To learn more about ACL and its various functions, please visit its website at http://www.hhs.gov/acl/
The United Way Worldwide is a nonprofit organization that works with more than 1,200 local United Way offices throughout the country in a coalition of charitable organizations to pool efforts in fundraising and support. United Way’s focus is to identify and resolve pressing community issues, and to make measurable changes in communities through partnerships with schools, government agencies, businesses, organized labor, financial institutions, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, the faith community, and others. The work of United Way is focused on the three main areas of education, income, and health. To learn more, please visit United Way’s website at http://www.unitedway.org/
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process. It conducts objective, impartial analysis, but does not make policy recommendations. To learn more, please visit CBO’s website at http://www.cbo.gov
Congressional Research Service (CRS)
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) serves as shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process — from the early considerations that precede bill drafting, through committee hearings and floor debate, to the oversight of enacted laws and various agency activities. To learn more, please visit its website at http://www.loc.gov/
Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology
The ONC is a staff division of the Office of the Secretary, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is primarily focused on coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of National Coordinator was created in 2004, through an Executive Order, and legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009. For more information, please visit its website athttp://www.healthit.gov/
National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a component of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDILRR conducts comprehensive and coordinated research programs to maximize the full inclusion, social integration, employment and independent living of individuals of all ages with disabilities. NIDRR’s focus includes research in areas such as employment, health and function, technology for access and function, and independent living and community integration. To learn more, please visit the website www.acl.gov/programs/NIDILRR
US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and other facilities. In addition, VA administers a variety of benefits and services that provide financial and other forms of assistance to Service members, Veterans, their dependents and survivors. Through various research program and activities, the VA is exploring new, innovative solutions in health care delivery, and safe, secure, and authentic health record interoperability among other areas of innovation. For more information, please visit the VA’s website at http://www.va.gov/
Department of Transportation (DoT)
The DoT supports many areas of transportation policy and research. Among others, it supports projects and policy initiatives that are related to older adults, including those related to transportation access and safety. For more information, please visit its website at http://www.dot.gov/research
Department of Defense (DoD)
The Department of Defense oversees an enormous health system and supports research programs and demonstration projects that look at funding and delivery mechanisms to make sure all eligible retired servicemen and their families receive high quality and efficient health care. To learn more, please visit its website at http://www.defense.gov
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Among EPA’s top priorities are issues that are specifically important to the health and well-being of older adults such as improving air quality, cleaning up communities by removing toxic chemicals, protecting water supplies and outreach and protection for communities historically underrepresented in EPA decision-making. For more information, please visit EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/