The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program was established in 1992 with the purpose of fostering a new generation of thought leaders and creative problem solvers in health policy research. Between 1993 and 2014, the Program recruited 236 top young scholars (within five years post-Ph.D.) from three core social science disciplines (economics, political science, and sociology) and provided them with two-year fellowships at one of three eminent universities. Initially, the three universities were the University of California, Berkeley (in conjunction with the University of California, San Francisco), The University of Michigan, and Yale University. In 2002, Harvard University replaced Yale. The program aimed to attract individuals who were “new to health” but who were committed to pursuing careers in health policy research.
In addition to its primary goal, the Program was dedicated to two other aims: (1) maintaining Scholars’ academic and intellectual ties to their home disciplines; and (2) changing the “culture” within participating universities to encourage greater health policy research collaboration among disciplines and across departments and schools. Oversight and direction was provided by Foundation staff, a National Program Office (NPO) based at Boston University, and a National Advisory Committee (NAC) composed of leading thinkers and scholars from the three core disciplines.