Frequently Asked Questions

+ What is HEalth Equity?

Healthy People 2020 describes health equity as the "attainment of the highest level of health for all people." In fact, there are many definitions of health equity and related terminology varies by region.

In the US, there is often greater use of the term ‘health disparities’ to describe our current environment, one characterized by inequity. Health disparities refer to the differences in health observed between groups. These differences are only partially explained by healthy behaviors or the quality of healthcare, the traditional focus of the medical system and public health organizations. On further examination, other factors reveal themselves as important, including issues of social support, physical environment, race, and income.

While many programs focus on characterizing disparities through research and public awareness efforts, the focus of the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity fellowship program is one of action, addressing disparities through each fellow’s unique role in his/her organization. Further investigation and awareness building are undoubtedly important, but this fellowship is built on the belief that more action is needed to eliminate disparities and create health equity.

+ WHY IS HEALTH EQUITY IMPORTANT?

As individuals and societies, we have some shared values and some important differences. All individuals value health and well-being, however, the rationale for why health is important to a society often varies.

The existence of disparities alone is motivating for those with a strong sense of social justice. Others view a healthy society as a prerequisite for economic growth and note that poor health is a barrier to development. Regardless of the perspective, achieving the highest level of health as a society remains important, and we need to involve diverse groups and perspectives to achieve measurable and meaningful results. In the words of Sir Michael Marmot, we would argue that “health is too important to be left solely to doctors.” In order to address important determinants of health beyond biology and healthy behaviors, we need to involve people and sectors beyond traditional healthcare and public health, as we do in this fellowship program.

+ WHAT IS A FELLOWSHIP?

Generally, a fellowship is: 1) a short-term opportunity, lasting a few months to a few years, 2) focused on the professional development of the fellow, and 3) sponsored by a specific organization seeking to expand leadership in their field. The duration of this fellowship is one (1) year.

+ DO I NEED TO BE A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO APPLY?

You do NOT need to be a health professional to apply for this fellowship. We are looking to recruit fellows who are currently engaged in health-related work including, but not limited to: finance, economics, art, architecture, academia, government, public health, law, media, and healthcare delivery. We encourage those with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply.

+ ARE THERE MINIMUM EDUCATIONAL/DEGREE REQUIREMENTS?

There are no educational/degree requirements for the fellowship program. Discussions will include advanced concepts and terminology in health equity, but we recognize that many leaders in the field have obtained advanced knowledge in non-traditional ways. We do look for fellows that have work experience related to health equity. Past work experience is considered important for reflection, discussion and leadership development.

+ DOES THE FELLOWSHIP INCLUDE A STIPEND?

Fellows will not receive a stipend for this program. They are expected to remain employed throughout the fellowship, so that leadership lessons are applied in real-life scenarios.

All educational experiences and travel expenses related to participation in the fellowship are covered by the program.

+ DO I NEED TO LIVE IN washington, DC TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM?

Fellows are not expected to live in Washington, DC, but they will be required to travel to Washington twice during the course of the year-long fellowship. Travel that takes place as a requirement of participation in fellowship activities will be covered by the program

+ DO I NEED TO BE A U.S. CITIZEN TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM?

Citizenship is not a requirement for this fellowship program, but all fellows need to be fluent in English and be able to travel internationally to participate in fellowship convenings. We will be selecting 10 U.S.-based and 10 international fellows.

+ WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE PROJECT PROPOSAL?

The curriculum is unique in its focus on taking action to combat inequity. As part of the program's practical approach, fellows are expected to apply new knowledge and skills to real life experiences – a project. The project proposal should be an ongoing or potential project at your current employer that relates to health equity. Throughout the fellowship, you will use the project to apply, practice, and reflect upon new concepts and experiences. This is also an opportunity to clarify your individual goals, challenges, and accomplishments through the lens of your ongoing work. For the purposes of the application, we are looking for a brief project description only. In the statement, consider how you can create health equity in the context of your work. Consider specific, measurable outcomes the yearlong fellowship program could help you achieve. Finally, be sure to consider and describe the broader community that you will engage with your work.

+ WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT FOR THIS FELLOWSHIP?

Fellows will meet in-person and online throughout the year. Attendance and participation in related activities for both in-person and online meetings is required for successful completion of the program. There are 4 in-person meetings, called convenings, throughout the year that represent a total anticipated time commitment of 5 weeks. Convenings are full time, out of office commitments. Online meetings take place every 2 weeks for 90 minutes. There is an additional time commitment of 12-16 hours per month for the online curriculum, but this is self-directed learning, i.e. completed at your own pace. Self-directed learning activities include completion of program readings, videos and assignments. Assignments may be related to your individual project, reflection, and/or program evaluation.

+ WHAT IF I RUN MY OWN ORGANIZATION?

We’re excited to welcome entrepreneurs and organizational leaders to the program. This question often comes up in the context of letters of recommendation/support. If you run your own organization, please have a member of your Board of Directors complete the letter of support and at least one letter of recommendation. The other letter of recommendation may come from a professional contact familiar with your work outside your organization.

+ HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP?

Please use the contact form on our Web site. We look forward to hearing from you!