Health Policy Leadership Fellowship Program

Developing Health Leaders to Champion Health Equity

The Health Policy Leadership Fellowship Program, established in 2009, is a 10-month multidisciplinary training program designed to provide physicians and postdoctoral professionals with the specific knowledge, skills, and experiences to prepare them for leadership roles promoting and implementing policies and practices to reduce disparities and advance health equity. The fellowship’s major focus areas include leadership development, health policy, and health equity, with concentrations in both behavioral and sexual health. Our program graduates have taken on leadership roles across the country in academic, health care, governmental, and community-based organizations, agencies, and institutions.

The fellowship program’s overriding objectives are to ensure that fellows are prepared to:

  1. Critically analyze issues, programs, and policies that impact health and health care, particularly as they relate to health disparities and advancing health equity.
  2. Inform the development of health policies to reduce disparities and advance health equity.
  3. Assume leadership roles that support the development of programs and policies that reduce disparities and advance health equity.
  4. Work effectively with disadvantaged communities to develop sustainable programs and organizations that support the reduction of disparities and advancement of health equity.

The Satcher Health Leadership Institute Health Policy Fellowship Program is committed to developing health leaders from those communities most affected by health disparities. We are the only health policy fellowship in the country intentionally focused on leadership development, health policy, and health equity.

-Dr. Harry Heiman
Director, Division of Health Policy


Fellowship Information


  • Applicants to the fellowship program must have received a doctoral degree or medical degree with completed residency training prior to the start of the fellowship program.
  • All fellowships are for a 10-month period, beginning in September and ending in June of the following year.
  • Fellows may also receive faculty appointments at the Instructor or Assistant Professor level (based on qualifications) in an academic department at Morehouse School of Medicine related to their discipline.
  • Positions will be full time, with time divided between fellowship and departmental responsibilities.
  • Postdoctoral fellows will receive a minimum $50,000 stipend, based on level of appointment and departmental affiliation.
  • Fringe benefits, through Morehouse School of Medicine, including health, vision and dental insurance, are provided.
  • In addition, fellows receive support for books, conferences, travel, and other program-related expenses.

Combined Health Policy-GaLEND Fellowship

The Combined Health Policy-GaLEND Fellowship is a partnership with Georgia State University’s (GSU) Center for Leadership in Disability for candidates who will also participate in the Georgia Leadership & Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) interdisciplinary training program at GSU. The GaLEND program prepares health leaders to serve children with developmental disabilities and their families. Health Policy-GaLEND fellows will divide their time, fulfilling the requirements of both programs.

Fellowship Program Description

The Health Policy Leadership Fellowship Program includes formal and informal instruction, policy leadership shadowing and learning experiences with government, business, health care, public health, and community partners, monthly Journal club, and health policy leadership forums. In addition, fellows may have practice, teaching, and/or research responsibilities with their supporting academic departments, community-based practicum experiences, and complete a health policy research project. All fellows will also participate in the National Center for Primary Care Faculty Development Program.

Didactic Sessions
Interactive didactic sessions are designed to cover the gamut of basic and advanced content from which fellows build and advance their knowledge.  Content areas include topics in health systems, public health, health policy, health disparities, sexual health, behavioral health and leadership development. Fellows actively learn and participate in sessions through presentations, case studies, development of policy briefs, and other activities.

Community-Based Practicum Experiences
Fellows complete two 8-week practicum experiences, one in sexual health and the other in behavioral health. Community-based practicum experiences are designed as opportunities to get involved with a broad range of governmental and community-based organizations and apply their knowledge and skills related to both policy analysis and organizational leadership. Practicum sites are selected based on alignment with fellows’ interests and career goals. Select fellows will be placed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente.

Leadership Experiences
Fellows participate in learning and leadership experiences with government leaders, community leaders, and decision makers at the local, state and national levels. This includes shadowing Georgia State Legislators during the legislative session and a one-week policy experience in Washington, D.C., providing the opportunity to observe firsthand how health policy making intersects with both politics and the legislative process.

Leadership Forums
Leadership forums are held monthly to provide opportunities to meet and learn about the challenges of leadership from a pool of experts. Leaders from government, business, health care, public health, academic institutions and community organizations serve as subject matter experts and lead discussions regarding identified leadership issues. This provides exposure to leadership styles and strategies across a variety of organizational types and structures.

Health Policy Journal Club
Fellows are responsible for presenting a monthly health policy journal club to discuss current articles and research related to health policy, particularly as it relates to health disparities and health equity.

Health Policy Research Project
Fellows are required to complete a health policy research project resulting in a manuscript submitted for publication. Research projects must address a health policy issue that impacts disparities and health equity. Projects can be related to departmental work, community-based practicum experiences or an area of health policy interest. The Fellowship Director must approve the research topic.

Faculty Development Program
All fellows participate in the National Center for Primary Care Faculty Development Program, a modular program designed to develop critical teaching, writing and research skills for health professionals in a supportive, nurturing environment. This program takes place one half-day weekly.

Fellowship Application Information

Applications for the 2016-2017 Health Policy Leadership Fellowship will be accepted from November 1, 2015 to January 15, 2016.

All application materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. eastern time on January 15, 2016. Once all components of your application have been received you will be notified via email.

Application packet checklist

  • Completed application
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all institutions, colleges and universities attended (transcripts must come directly from your institution, college, and/or university)
  • Certified copy of doctoral degree diploma or letter from Department Chair attesting that degree requirements will be completed no later than June 1 (June 30 for residency programs).
  • Curriculum Vitae (in Morehouse School of Medicine format) (link)

Application timeline

  • Nov 1 – Jan 15: Applications and supplemental materials accepted
  • Feb 8 – Feb 19: Interviews will be scheduled for select applicants
  • Mar 7 – Mar 18: Notices of acceptance will be sent

All letters of recommendation and transcripts should be submitted to:

L. Lerissa Smith, MPH
Health Policy Leadership Fellowship Program
Satcher Health Leadership Institute
Morehouse School of Medicine
720 Westview Drive, SW
NCPC Suite 236
Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Tel:  404-752-1825

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Contact Us

Division of Health Policy
(404) 752-1745