The Congressional Healthcare Policy Fellow Program, a collaborative effort of the School of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has been preparing pharmacists for public service for more than a decade.
The program comprises unique healthcare-policy learning experiences in the United States Congress and the government affairs offices of ACCP and ASHP. During the 14 month program Fellows contribute to the effective use of scientific, therapeutic, and pharmaceutical knowledge in professional organization and government policy decision-making. The Fellow is actively mentored while gaining experience in issue prioritization, policy analysis, legislative evaluation and policy development, researching the issues of the day, effective writing, and advocacy program development and implementation skills. The integration of these skills becomes the foundation for a future focused on practical policy development and evaluation. The Fellow’s responsibilities in a Congressional office have typically included researching and writing briefs on healthcare issues, assisting with policy analyses, and drafting memoranda, floor speeches and questions for panelists at Congressional hearings, as well as planning, organizing, and contributing to the Senator or Representative’s office policy and management issues for the year.
The program brings external perspectives to the policy process, emphasizes policy-oriented learning through participation, rather than observation, provides a year-long Congressional experience for pharmacists, and includes the “Inside Congress” orientation program conducted by the Brookings Institution in early July of each year. Following the orientation, the Fellow will:
The program is an enriching opportunity for each fellow to develop legislative evaluation and policy development skills, improve research and writing skills, and integrate practical policy experience with theory. The fellow will be expected to undertake a wide array of responsibilities including researching and preparing briefs on health care issues; assisting with policy decisions; drafting memoranda; and planning, organizing and carrying out program and management objectives. The congressional office (personal or committee) placement should ideally be with one of the committees that predominantly deal with health issues such as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; the Senate Finance Committee; the Senate Budget Committee; the House Ways and Means Committee; or the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Each applicant applies on his/her own initiative. No outside instrumental endorsement or screening is sought or required. Applicants should submit materials to the program director, Kristin Zimmerman at the VCU School of Pharmacy.