Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Enters 34th Year

Robert Wood Johnson FoundationEight health professionals selected to receive competitive award.

Eight health professionals with a wide range of academic and community-based experience have been named Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellows for 2007-2008.

Established in 1973, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows—the second-oldest active program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)—is designed to develop the capacities of outstanding mid-career health professionals in academic and community-based settings by providing them with an understanding of the health policy process. The program is administered by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Each year, fellows are selected on a competitive basis and leave their academic settings and practice responsibilities to spend a year in the nation’s capital. A three-month orientation program is followed by a nine-month assignment in which fellows work in a congressional office or the executive branch. Following the one-year experience, fellows return to their home institutions or practices to assume leadership roles in improving health policy and management.

“The fellows bring much needed practical knowledge of the health care system to Washington, D.C., where they can help our nation’s leaders work to improve care,” said Michael Painter, J.D., M.D., RWJF senior program officer and 2003-2004 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow. “The ‘hands-on’ health and health care experience they bring positions them to have a substantial impact on the nation’s health care policy.”

Fellows begin the program in September and undergo an intense three-month orientation, meeting top administrators of agencies responsible for health and health care activities, congressional committee staff members, representatives of major health interest groups, officials of the Office of Management and Budget, and key White House advisors.

Toward the end of their orientation, the fellows interview for work assignments in legislative or executive branch offices with leading responsibilities for health and health care legislation and programs. In order to continue their development as health policy leaders, fellows receive additional support for up to two years following the completion of their federal work assignments.

Over 200 fellows from universities, colleges and other health-related organizations across the nation have participated. Those selected for the 2007-2008 program are:

  • Daniel Derksen, M.D. 
    Professor and vice chair, Department of Family & Community Medicine University of New Mexico (UNM)
  • Renee Fox, M.D. 
    Associate professor, Department of Pediatrics University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • Susan Hinck, B.S.N., M.N., Ph.D.
    Associate professor, Department of Nursing Missouri State University
  • Kathleen Klink, M.D.
    Director of the Center for Family Medicine Columbia University
  • Nancy Ridenour Ph.D., R.N., C.S., F.N.C., F.A.A.N.
    Dean and professor, Mennonite College of Nursing Illinois State University
  • Lupita Salazar Letscher, B.S.N., M.S., R.N.
    Former deputy director of Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future, a collaborative partnership between the Northwest Health Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Deborah E. Trautman, Ph.D., R.N.
    Interim vice president, Patient Care Services for Howard County General Hospital; director of nursing for Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital; and faculty sssociate, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.
  • William Lofton Turner, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.
    Professor of family therapy, Department of Family Social Science University of Minnesota

Additional information about The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows can be found at

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.