By Alfred M. Pheley, PhD, and Daniel Skinner, PhD
Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship Co-Directors
On December 6, 2020, the Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship (OHPF) will graduate its 26th class of fellows. Given the limitations of COVID-19, this class’s experience was unlike that of any other preceding it, however the Fellowship has persisted and grown from the experience. We used this difficult moment to think hard about the importance of health policy during times when resources are strained, but also when creative thinking about health and healthcare is more needed than ever. The 2019 – 2020 fellows join the ranks of more than 260 osteopathic physicians and healthcare professionals who have completed this national program, which prepares leaders to engage in the formulation, analysis and advocacy of unbiased policy that seeks to improve population health.
Due to the pandemic, and given the importance of the traditional program being conducted in person, our leadership opted to defer a class of 2021, and instead offer a virtual Osteopathic Health Policy Alumni Fellowship. Over 17 sessions, a group of more than 30 alumni of the program have begun engaging in a wide range of issues, including the relationship between policy and politics, ethics, evidence and beyond. In an effort to continue to build capacity and renew relationships within the osteopathic profession, the program will run through spring 2021, though it is our hope that the OHPF Alumni Fellowship will be able to convene for a final in-person session at the Osteopathic Medical Education Conference 2021.
Applications for the 2021 – 2022 OHPF class will open in January. We encourage you to read about the program and consider applying. Also, we encourage state osteopathic associations and colleges of osteopathic medicine to consider nominating individuals from their organizations and networks. Like many of us, the Fellowship remains optimistic about the return to the in-person Fellowship sessions that have helped foster learning and comradery for 26 years. Please be in touch with OHPF Co-Directors, Dan Skinner, PhD, and Al Pheley, PhD, with questions by emailing Dr. Pheley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OHPF is primarily funded through the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, along with support from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and CONSULTUS Health Research Group.