Class of 2018-2019 RWJF Fellows and Nurse-Scholar-in-Residence Announced

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today named the 2018-2019 class of RWJF Health Policy Fellows.  Beginning in September, eight health professionals will spend a year in Washington, D.C., working on health-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress and the executive branch.  They will also engage in seminars and discussions on health policy and participate in leadership development programs.

The fellows were chosen in a national competition for highly accomplished health, behavioral, and social science professionals who have an interest in health policy. Their experiences in Washington will enrich their understanding of federal policy formation and how federal and state governments relate to the mission of their home institutions and local communities.  The fellowship program will commence with an intensive three-month orientation, followed by a nine-month assignment in a congressional office or the executive branch, where the fellows will be involved in health-related legislation and programs.  After their Washington assignment, the fellows will continue to receive support to sustain their development as health policy leaders.

“Federal government policies have a substantial impact on the health of the nation, and health care remains one of the most politically challenging issues that we face as a country,” said Gregg Margolis, director of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows Program at NAM.  “We are proud to bring these exceptional and accomplished professionals to Washington, D.C., to participate in the policy process.  Their deep and practical experience in health care, public health, and research bring ‘real life’ perspectives to federal legislative and regulatory processes.”

The 2018-2019 RWJF Health Policy Fellows are:

  • Brutrinia Cain, J.D., B.S.N., senior legislative analyst, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland
  • Michelle Dennison, Ph.D., R.D./L.D., director, Health Promotion Disease Prevention, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Kirsten Johnson, M.P.H., health officer, Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, Port Washington, Wisconsin
  • Ellen Kurtzman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., FAAN, associate professor, School of Nursing, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • Daniel O’Neill, M.A., M.S., former senior vice president and general manager, Medical Network, Change Healthcare Inc., San Francisco, California
  • Kristin Paulson, J.D., M.P.H., vice president of research and innovation, Center for Improving Value in Health Care, Denver, Colorado
  • Samuel Stebbins, M.D., M.P.H., public health and school health physician, Public Health Division, Arlington County Department of Health and Human Services, Arlington, Virginia
  • Carlos Williams, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., director, Office of Global Health Engagement, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, U.S. Department of the Navy, Falls Church, Virginia

The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program is the nation’s most prestigious learning experience at the nexus of health, science, and policy in Washington, D.C.  Since 1973, this non-partisan fellowship has offered exclusive, hands-on policy experience with the most influential congressional and executive offices in the nation’s capital.  Over 260 fellows from across the nation have worked hand-in-hand with the best and brightest in federal health policy to gain an insider’s perspective of the political process, develop unmatched leadership skills, and build a professional network that lasts a lifetime.  As chancellors and deans at major academic institutions; presidents of professional societies and voluntary health organizations; leaders in local, state and federal government; and experts at think tanks and advocacy groups, fellows transform the nation’s health care policy and practice.  For more information, visit

For more than 45 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. RWJF is working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.  For more information, visit  Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


The National Academy of Medicine is also pleased to announce that Lori Trego, Ph.D., C.N.M., FAAN has been selected as the 2018-2019 Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence. The Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program, formed in 1992, provides a leadership opportunity to participate in shaping health policy for the nation. Dr. Trego hopes to utilize the program to expand her leadership skills and to work to enhance the wellness of women who serve and have served in the military. The Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program is supported by the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the American Nurses Foundation.