The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows program provides the nation’s most comprehensive learning experience at the nexus of health, science, and policy in Washington, D.C.

The program seeks outstanding mid-career health professionals, behavioral/social scientists, and others with an interest in health and health policy. The fellowship requires a full-time commitment with a minimum 12-month residence in Washington, D.C., which prepares individuals to influence the future of health and health care in the nation.

To learn more about the program,

  • Read the 2023-24 CFA;
  • Register to join one of the informational applicant webinars, or
  • Contact the national program office (NPO) at (202) 334-1506 or info@healthpolicyfellows.org.


The fellowship begins in September with an intensive three-and-a-half-month orientation arranged by the NAM, during which time the fellows meet with national leaders well-versed in health, health care policy, health equity, social determinants of health, and structural racism; think tanks and interest groups; key executive branch officials; and members of Congress and their staffs. Fellows also participate in seminars on health economics; the congressional budget process; current priority issues in federal health policy; and the process for federal decision-making. The concentrated orientation is designed to prepare the fellows for immediate success in federal legislative and executive branch positions.

Fellowship Assignments

Fellowship placements generally begin no later than January 31. During these assignments, fellows are full-time, contributing participants in the policy process with members of Congress, a congressional committee, or in the executive branch. Solely under the supervision of the office in which they are placed, fellows typically will:

  • Help develop legislative or regulatory proposals;
  • Organize hearings, briefings, and stakeholder meetings;
  • Meet with constituents;
  • Brief legislators or senior administration officials on a range of health issues; and
  • Provide staff support for House-Senate conferences.

Fellowship assignments are supplemented throughout the year by nonpartisan seminars and group discussions on contemporary federal policy topics, as well as media/strategic communications training and leadership development activities. Fellows are asked to prepare a formal presentation on a health policy issue with which they have been engaged. Fellows also take part in NAM meetings and other health policy organizations, as well as in cultural and social functions.

Fellows may request approval from the national program office (NPO) at the NAM to extend the Washington stay past the 12-month residential period of September 1, 2023, to August 31, 2024, through the legislative session or until December 31, 2024. A fellow may carry out additional activities with the support of any remaining funds until August 31, 2025, subject to review and approval of those activities by the NPO and RWJF.

Post-Fellowship Assignments

After the Washington residential experience, fellows become part of a nationwide alumni network and typically return to Washington each year to attend the program’s annual meeting, and to be briefed on issues and trends in health and health care policy.

Conflict of Interest

Due to heightened ethical scrutiny at the federal level, including fellows placed in congressional or other federal offices, the NPO will request information from finalists about ongoing personal and professional activities or interests that might conflict with the participation of a fellow in congressional or federal assignments. This disclosure is required to identify any activity or interest that might:

  1. Significantly impair the fellow’s objectivity,
  2. Create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization.

Each finalist will provide a list of past, existing, and future paid and unpaid activities, board affiliations, consultancies, or other interests and sources of financial support. To preserve the integrity of the fellowship program and to ensure that the fellow—during tenure as a RWJF Health Policy Fellow—is not compromised by the appearance of a conflict of interest, fellows will sign a statement affirming that there is no conflict of interest or competing interests that would preclude them from accepting a congressional or executive branch placement during the fellowship year.

The term “conflict of interest” applies not only to the personal interests of the fellow but also to the interests of others with whom the fellow has substantial common financial interests, including the fellow’s spouse and dependent children.

As a condition of the fellowship, fellows may be required by the federal government to submit a financial disclosure statement and sign a declaration of adherence to policies and laws governing codes of ethical conduct. For more information about specific ethics determinations, please visit http://ethics.senate.gov/downloads/pdffiles/manual.pdf and http://ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.house.gov/files/documents/2008_House_Ethics_Manual.pdf(see page 284).