Health Policy & Advocacy Fellowship

The Health Policy Fellowship seeks to cultivate future physician leaders in health policy through the development of academic, clinical and professional skills in emergency medicine and health policy. The fellowship combines didactic teaching, coursework, and practical training in health policy to provide fellows with an unmatched learning and career development experience. Located in the heart of the nation’s capital, George Washington University’s proximity and connections to key policy decision makers and thought leaders enable the fellowship to leverage the best growth opportunities for the fellows. This two-year fellowship program will be open to graduating or recently-graduated physicians from emergency medicine training programs who are committed to lifelong careers in health policy and medicine and who wish to obtain the skills needed to be effective change agents in the health care system. 

Goals and Objectives

The goals of the fellowship-training program are to provide the fellow with:

  • Fundamental knowledge of the U.S. health care system and policy analysis skills
  • Practical policy experience through placement in a congressional office, government agency, policy think tank, or advocacy organization congruent with fellow’s interests
  • Development of skills to analyze and conduct health services research projects and create proposals for funded research
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills through presentations, course work, and policy office placement
  • A lifelong network of health policy mentors and professional policy contacts
  • Maintenance and refinement of clinical skills within his/her residency trained specialty at one of our affiliated hospitals

Curriculum Overview

Year 1

During the first year, the fellow will obtain formal training in policy analysis, development, and evaluation. Fellows are encouraged to use coursework in the Milken Institute School of Public Health towards a formal master's of public health degree or certificate in health policy. These academic programs offered through the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health are designed to provide advanced training in the skills of policy research and analysis. The Department of Health Policy’s core and adjunct faculty include some of the nation’s best known health policy experts as well as leaders from across the public and private health policy sector to provide an outstanding learning experience.

Fellows will typically enroll in the 45-credit Master of Public Health curriculum or the 18-credit Graduate Certificate in Health Policy, offered by the GW Department of Health Policy and funded almost entirely by the Department of Emergency Medicine. The following includes a sampling of some course requirements for the Master of Public Health degree and Graduate Certificate in Health Policy:

  • 6315.10: Introduction to Health Policy Analysis
  • 6325.10: Federal Policymaking and Advocacy
  • 6003.10: Principles and Practice of Epidemiology
  • 6005.10: Policy Approaches to Public Health
  • PubH 294, Health Economics and Financing
  • PubH 292, Health Services and Law
  • PubH 291, Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
  • PubH 307, Federal Budget Process for Health Policy
  • PubH 303, State Health Policy
  • PubH 310, Medicare and Medicaid Law and Policy
  • PubH 312, Pharmaceutical Policy

The fellow would have the option of converting the graduate certificate in health policy to a full master’s degree in public health to be completed over the course of two years.

Additional Didactics

Throughout the first year, the fellow will participate in monthly didactic sessions and small group discussions with faculty on timely and important policy issues. Didactic sessions may cover topics such as: Medicaid and Medicare reforms in health reform, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, pay-for-performance, comparative effectiveness, and health information technology. The fellow will also lead a quarterly health policy journal club in which an influential, current research or opinion article will be discussed, with input from faculty.

Throughout the program, fellows will benefit from regular leadership development conferences that are currently underway in the department, as well as individual executive coaching sessions. Fellows attend monthly conferences as part of a “Joint Fellowship Curriculum” targeted at fellows and junior faculty in the department. Faculty and guest lecturers cover topics such as networking, effective communication, financial management and the business of medicine, job searches, development of research proposals, grant funding, and more. 

Year 2

During the second year, the fellow will work full-time in their assigned office placement. Depending on the fellow’s interests, this may be in a congressional office, government agency, think tank, or advocacy organization. The fellow will only be placed in offices that can ensure they will be actively involved in substantive policy activities—gaining firsthand experience in the legislative, administrative, and political processes. Throughout Year 1, the fellowship director will work closely with the fellows and various candidate offices to ensure a good match for the fellow in terms of both interest and personality. This practical experience will also provide an opportunity to develop interpersonal and communication skills in varied settings, while expanding a professional network of contacts in health policy. The office placement will be arranged and coordinated by the fellowship director, in conjunction with the fellow, to find the best match possible for this component of the fellowship.

A sampling of the variety of worksites that may be available to a fellow include:

  • U.S. House of Representatives or U.S. Senate congressional offices
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • District of Columbia Department of Health


Fellows will have the opportunity join ongoing projects in health policy and health services research in the department and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Research projects may include topics such as:

  • Access to care
  • Health disparities
  • Health information technology
  • Children’s health

Clinical Medicine

The fellow will work clinically in the emergency department for approximately 650 hours total per year which is equivalent to an average of approximately 6-7 eight-hour shifts per month.

The fellow will work as a member of the clinical faculty at one or more affiliated hospitals. George Washington University Emergency Department physicians staff the emergency departments of the George Washington University Hospital, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, United Medical Center, and the Washington DC Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. GW Hospital sees approximately 62,000 patients per year and provides on-line medical control to the local EMS system. At the National Naval Medical Center, high-level emergency medical care is provided to active duty military, their family members, retirees, and other eligible beneficiaries. The VA Medical Center is a tertiary care teaching facility that provides care to over 50,000 veterans residing in the District of Columbia and portions of Virginia and Maryland. United Medical Center is a city-owned community hospital providing emergency medical care to 38,000 patients in underserved areas of Wards 7 and 8 in the District of Columbia.

The fellow will participate in all academic activities in the Department of Emergency Medicine in accordance with their residency training. This will include grand round presentations, conferences, and journal clubs.

Effective Dates and Duration:

The duration of the Health Policy Fellowship is two years. Candidates who have already earned a graduate degree in public health or health policy may be eligible to complete a modified one-year program.

Application Requirements

Fellows must be board eligible or board certified in Emergency Medicine. Up to three fellows are typically selected each year.

To apply, please submit a copy of your curriculum vitae, a letter of intent (1-2 pages in length) expressing your interest in the fellowship and the strengths that you would bring to the fellowship, and two reference letters. Materials should be emailed to and with subject line "Health Policy Fellowship Application - [Applicant's Name]".

Selected candidates will be invited to interview with the fellowship director, department chair, and other faculty in the department. 

  • Formal call for applications opens: August 1
  • Interviews: October - December 
  • Selection and Notification: Mid-December 

View our brochure here. 

For more information, please contact:

Natalie Kirilichin M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Health Policy Fellowship Program

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine

2120 L St. NW, Suite 450

Washington, D.C. 20037