Daniel Derksen, M.D., professor in the UNM Department of Family & Community Medicine, is one of eight health professionals nationally with a wide range of academic and community-based experience to 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.

Additional information about The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows can be found at www.healthpolicyfellows.org.


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322