Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program Invites Candidates to Apply

The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program invites candidates with a strong commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential, and interest in aging-relevant policy work to join the next class of Health and Aging Policy Fellows (2020-21).

The program aims to create a cadre of leaders who will serve as change agents in health and aging policy to ultimately improve the health care of older adults. The year-long fellowship offers a rich and unique training and enrichment program that is focused on current policy issues, communication skills development, and professional networking opportunities to provide Fellows with the experience and skills necessary to help affect policy.

“My Fellowship opportunity exponentially expanded my learning and experience in how to engage in health policy reform for older adults in meaningful ways. Now, two years later, I believe I play my 'same' academic geriatric role in a significantly improved and hopefully more thoughtful and influential way.”

- Hillary Lum, MD, PhD (2015-2016 Fellow) Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Colorado

Physician Investigator in Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Eastern Colorado Health Care System


For an overview of the fellowship, including program tracks and eligibility and selection criteria, click here.
For information on how to apply, click here.

Application Key Dates

  • Submission deadline: April 15, 2020
  • Notification of finalists to be interviewed: Mid-May 
  • Interviews and selection of Fellows: Mid-June
  • Fellowship begins October 2020

If you are interested in becoming a Health and Aging Policy Fellow and have questions, were holding information sessions via phone during the following dates and times between now and April 2020:

  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 from 12:00-1:00 PM
  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 4:00-5:00 PM
  • Friday, April 3, 2020 from 12:00-1:00 PM


Testimonials from HAPF Alumni

  • Dawn Alley, PhD (2011-2012 Fellow)

Deputy Senior Advisor for Value-based Transformation, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

"The fellowship was transformative. It gave me the tools and network I needed to apply what I   had learned through my research to create change at the federal policy level. I absolutely would not be where I am today without it."

  • Lauren Reed Bangerter, PhD (2018-2019 Fellow)

Assistant Professor of Health Services Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

Research Associate, Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Healthcare Delivery, Mayo Clinic

“Like many millennials, I have found myself struggling to understand just how to go about meaningfully engaging in politics. I applied to the Health Aging Policy Fellowship because I want to become more politically engaged in a way that allows me to leverage my passion and expertise in aging research. Through this fellowship, my goal is to gain the skills necessary to apply my current and future research to help create evidence-based aging policies.”

  • Matthew L. Goldman, MD, MS (2018-2019 Fellow)

Public Psychiatry Fellow, University of California San Francisco

“Ever since starting medical school, I have been interested in finding ways to expand access to healthcare for vulnerable populations. In the various projects that I’ve worked on since then in my medical and psychiatric training, and as I continue to pursue a career in behavioral health services research, it has repeatedly become apparent that many barriers to care will require systems-level solutions that intersect with health care policy and regulations, payment dynamics, and mechanisms for measuring quality and accountability. The Health and Aging Policy Fellowship provides an ideal curriculum to frame and enrich my experience while working at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by orienting me to the multiple components of government that intersect to fundamentally influence how health care is delivered. I am thrilled to join a cohort of fellows and an alumni network to collaborate on this work now and into the future.”

  • Melinda Gruber, PhD, MBA, CNA (2018-2019 Fellow)

Vice President of Continued Care Services, Lakeland Health

Chief Executive Officer, Caring Circle

“As someone who cares for people with advanced illnesses and as a healthcare executive, I see the suffering individuals experience because of our Country’s fragmented approach to serious illness care. When people are faced with situations they are not prepared for, when family members and caregivers are uncertain, and when health professionals are strained, vulnerable individuals lose quality in their lives. I am passionate about improving policy at all levels to create a better system of care for the elderly and seriously ill, as well as their caregivers and care providers. I plan to expand my knowledge of health and aging policy, increase my experience and skills in policy translation, and broaden my professional network to become a bridge for front-line patient care, health care management, and policy. This will allow me to play a meaningful role in advocating for the best approaches to care for seriously ill people.”

  • Jane Pederson, MD, MS (2018-2019 Fellow)

Chief Medical Quality Officer, Stratis Health

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

Geriatrician, Allina Senior Health

“As a geriatrician, mother of three and family support for aging parents, I applied to be a Health and Aging Policy Fellow because I believe even though our youth may be our future, older individuals are our treasures. I want to learn how to influence the creation of policies that support aging individuals being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and defend their ability to maintain the independence and sense of control in their lives which we all desire. Keeping individuals as engaged members of society as they age not only promotes quality of life, but allows our youth and all of us ‘in between’ to benefit from the wisdom and insights that come with years of experience. When age does lead to the need for care and services, I want to assure our policies and programs support a person-centered approach that allows for individual autonomy and choice.”

  • Beth Prusaczyk, PhD, MSW (2018-2019 Fellow)

Instructor, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

“I applied to become a fellow because I am dedicated to improving healthcare for older   adults, a passion driven by my experiences in social work. I witnessed not only the suffering but also the strength of older adults living with physical and mental illnesses and the compassion healthcare providers brought to their jobs every day while working in a system fraught with challenges beyond their control. I aim to improve healthcare for older adults by ensuring that existing research findings ultimately translate into real-world practice or policy. I have previously focused my work in research but through the program I hope to gain the critical policy experience and skills necessary to be able to advance policies that concretely improve the quality, equity, effectiveness, and costs of healthcare provided to older adults.”

  • Steven Starks, MD (2018-2019 Fellow)

Faculty, Department of Clinical Services, University of Houston College of Medicine

“I have become increasingly attuned to healthcare policy's profound influence on the older adults, families and communities I serve. Modern-day medical care often overlooks the interplay between clinical practice and policy. My education, training and experiences as a geriatric psychiatrist have offered a “frame of practice” i.e. they have shown me how to provide medical care within structured systems of care. However, these opportunities have been unable to offer a broader understanding of these systems and, most importantly, the skills necessary to improve them. The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program will allow me to reshape health policies that address the challenges our elderly face in receiving comprehensive mental health care – obstacles that include barriers to access, inequities in treatment and inadequate community resources. Through engagement in this program, I hope to shift my efforts at advocacy for geriatric mental health & wellness from guiding individuals to empowering communities.”

  • Turner West, MPH, MTS (2016-2017 Fellow)

Associate Vice President for Health Policy, and

Director of the Palliative Care Leadership Center, Bluegrass Care Navigators

“The HAP Fellowship is an incredibly rewarding professional experience that provided me invaluable insight into how policy and payment influence health care delivery and connected me to an outstanding network of colleagues who are committed to improving health care for older adults.”

  • Jennifer Wong, PhD, MA (2018-2019 Fellow)

Master Plan for Aging Consultant, State of California Department of Aging

“America is aging rapidly. I am passionate about ensuring that our current systems provide quality health care and services to older adults so they may achieve their goals. As individuals age, their risk for experiencing disability increases. I believe that research can help provide evidence for how adults are currently aging with a disability or aging into a disability. However, research is only a part of the effort in how we prepare for our growing aging population. I am fascinated in the mechanisms of how empirical evidence influences policy and how policy influences research, which led me to apply to be a Health and Aging Policy Fellow. I hope my experiences as a fellow support my long-term goals of being a well-versed researcher, a strong advocate for equity and welfare, and contribute to the improvement of health care policy and reform.”