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Program Details

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program enhances and broadens the intellectual perspectives that scholars bring from their original disciplines.  The program has enabled up to 12 individuals, each year, who have completed their doctoral training and produced outstanding work to engage in an intensive two-year program at one of four nationally prominent universities. Training activities at the participating universities are intentionally flexible to meet the diverse backgrounds, interests and needs of individual scholars. Specific offerings vary by site, but include two years of intensive seminars, scholar-directed research and analysis conducted with the guidance or collaboration of distinguished faculty mentors, and focused training in the skills necessary for effective leadership, program implementation and policy change. It is anticipated that academic, government and other employers involved in policy-making will seek out program graduates for leadership positions.

The curriculum will foster cross-disciplinary thinking and dialogue, as scholars and faculty from different disciplines explore contributing risk factors, interactions among contextual forces, behavioral predispositions, biological susceptibility, developmental timing and influences, and approaches to intervention. The program thus expands the intellectual scope, collaborative competence, shared language and scientific creativity of both scholars and faculty.

Scholars become familiar with various means of assessing the broad range of factors that influence health, as well as measurement issues related to population health. Scholars study interactions among context, behavior and biology across the life span, and learn to think creatively about the intersections among different disciplines by considering dynamic time processes, inference and causality, and multilevel analytic techniques. Scholars will learn about various approaches to program design, implementation and evaluation; the effective communication of knowledge to decision-makers and opinion leaders in multiple sectors; models of behavior change; methods of determining cost-effectiveness; and the evaluation of complex multilevel interventions.

Scholars are expected to concentrate their intellectual energies on program-related activities and research. They should not pursue other degrees during the program period, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program will not provide tuition support for any degree program. Scholars must be in residence at the site throughout the program period.

Research done during the fellowship should be based on domestic populations (e.g. US, including immigrant populations), or on analysis of datasets from other nations in comparison to US populations.

Awards and use of Foundation funds

The final Cohort of 12 scholars was selected for their two-year appointments which began in the fall of 2014. Grants have been made to the four participating universities in accordance with RWJF’s regular funding guidelines. Scholars have access to a full range of university resources and receive an annual stipend of $80,000, plus health insurance from their university site. Scholars also have access at each university to financial support for research-related expenses, training workshops and travel to professional meetings.