- researching the causes of social problems and potential solutions;
- investing in tests of promising innovations and promoting the spread of successful ones
- tracking progress against improvement benchmarks; and
- communicating results to advance changes in public and private policy that will support innovations and system transformation.
In the United States, well-known fellowship and scholars programs in the health care field include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Clinical Scholars program, Health Policy Fellowships, and Executive Nurse Fellows program. Most recently, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in 2010 established the Macy Faculty Scholars program to identify and nurture the careers of educational innovators in medicine and nursing. In addition to such "foundation-owned" programs, a number of foundations choose to invest in people through organizations with ongoing programs such as the National Medical Fellowships, which since 1948 has supported the training of minority physicians.
This essay reports on a review of the Fund’s international Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice program, which was undertaken in 2011 at the request of the foundation’s board of directors. The findings, which draw on the foundation’s long experience in conducting fellowship programs, are likely to be of interest to other organizations that support, or are considering supporting, such programs, as well as to stakeholders in fellowship programs.
To read the complete essay, download Bringing the International Experience to Bear on the U.S. Health Reform Debate: The Commonwealth Fund’s Harkness Fellowships Program.