About the Fellowship

The Australian Government Department of Health hopes to enrich health policy thinking as Australian–American Health Policy Fellows study how Australia approaches health policy issues, share lessons learned from the United States, and develop an international perspective and network of contacts to facilitate policy exchange and collaboration that extends beyond the fellowship experience. 

Australian-American Health Policy Fellows are open to accomplished, mid-career health policy researchers and practitioners, including, academics, clinicians, decision makers in managed care and other private sector health care organizations, federal and state health officials, and journalists.

The deadline for receipt of applications for the 2016-17 fellowship is October 2, 2015.

For a full 10-month stay in Australia, the fellowship awards up to $87,000 (AUD) which includes a living allowance, relocation expenses, research related travel and conferences, etc. There is also a family supplement available (e.g. up to $26,000 for a partner and two children). Round trip airfares to Australia are also covered.

Focused on issues of common concern to Australian and U.S. policymakers, the fellowships are structured around areas of mutual policy interest, for example: health care quality and safety, the private/public mix of insurance and providers, the fiscal sustainability of health systems, the health care workforce, management of health care delivery, and investment in preventive care strategies. (See "2016-17 Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship Areas of Interest").

Candidates must complete a formal application, including a project proposal for a study that will inform health policy in Australia and the United States. Proposals should address one of the program's areas of interest and clearly demonstrate:

  • the intention to combine research and practical experience;
  • relevance to both the United States and Australia;
  • achievable outcomes, given the duration of the placement; and
  • the potential to advance policy in Australia and the United States.

Candidates may indicate the organizations to which they would prefer to be attached, but final decisions on placements are made by the program's advisory committee in Australia.

One fellow will be selected annually. Once selected, the Australian Government Department of Health will assist fellows in refining their research projects and introduce fellows to Australian policy experts, with whom they will be encouraged to discuss their projects to gain further feedback. With guidance from its advisory committee, the department will help identify and place fellows with mentors who are experts in the policy area to be studied. Depending on the nature of the project, fellows will be placed at academic institutions, in commonwealth or state health departments, or at other health agencies. Leading policy experts will be assigned as mentors and will supervise fellows' research, provide technical expertise and guidance, and facilitate access to data, colleagues, and organizations.

The 2016-17 Australian-American Health Policy Fellows will arrive in Australia in July 2016. In addition to undertaking original policy research, fellows will participate in a program of seminars and policy briefings. These may include seminars for health leaders or meetings with senior officials at the commonwealth and state levels, ministerial officers, service providers, academics, and other stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

At the end of their tenure, fellows are expected to produce a final report and/or peer-reviewed journal article, and present project findings to senior government officials and policy experts at a final reporting seminar. From the beginning of their fellowship, fellows will be encouraged to think creatively about dissemination opportunities and vehicles in Australia and the United States, including peer-reviewed journal articles, policy briefings, op-ed articles for major newspapers, testimony before legislative committees, and presentations at professional meetings. Selected papers may be published and disseminated by the Australian Government Department of Health and The Commonwealth Fund.

Throughout the fellowship and afterwards, Fellows will also benefit from established links with the Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice, a parallel program sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund that enables Australian, German, New Zealand, and U.K. professionals to undertake policy research in the United States and gain firsthand exposure to the U.S. health care system. Since 1998, the program has included over 100 health policy fellows, many of whom have moved into positions of leadership in their home countries. Australian-American Health Policy Fellows will have every opportunity to participate in Harkness alumni activities and become part of this vital health policy network.

The Australian–American Health Policy Fellowships are sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Health and managed by the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation in Sydney. On the U.S. side, the program is administered by The Commonwealth Fund, a New York City–based private foundation that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy within its mission to promote a high-performing health care system.

Read our brochure for more information.


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