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Policy & Position Statement Archives



Genetics & Public Policy Fellowship

Apply Now! Deadline: April 21, 2017
Preview application (PDF)



Sponsored by:

The American Society of Human Genetics

The National Human Genome Research Institute




The extent to which the discoveries from genetics and genomics research are translated into the improved health of the American people is greatly influenced by policy decisions guiding research and the integration of genetics and genomics tools in the clinical setting. The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) co-sponsor the Genetics and Public Policy Fellowship to give genetics professionals an opportunity to contribute to the policy-making process. The fellowship is designed as a bridge for genetics professionals wishing to transition to a policy career. This unique fellowship provides three separate types of experiences: time spent in the National Institutes of Health within the Executive Branch; a staff position on Capitol Hill serving elected officials in the Legislative Branch; and experience working with ASHG in the non-profit science advocacy sector. This variety of assignments provides experience for fellows in multiple areas of policy-making and helps build a professional network that advances their careers in policy.




Program Overview


Purpose: This is a fellowship program designed for genetics professionals with an advanced degree who are early in their careers and interested in the development and implementation of genetics-related health and research policies at a national level. The fellow will have the opportunity to participate in policy analysis at NHGRI and ASHG, and to work directly within the U.S. Congress.

Julie Nadel, PhD, 2015-16 Genetics & Education Fellow, describes her experience.
Cari Young, ScM, 2015-2016 Genetics & Public Policy Fellow, describes her experience.

Duration of Fellowship: 16 months

Start Date: August to early September (negotiable)

Compensation Package: annual $72k stipend plus benefits

Designated Mentor(s):

  • Cristina Kapustij, M.S.
    Chief, Policy and Program Analysis Branch, NHGRI

  • Derek Scholes, Ph.D
    Director of Science Policy, ASHG


Current and Former Fellows: Where They Are Now



Current Employer


Office Rotation in Congress

2016 Christa Wagner ASHG/NHGRI Genetics and Public Policy Fellow Sen. Sherrod Brown
2015 Caroline Young NIH – Office of Science Policy Health Science Policy Analyst Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
2014 Katherine Blizinsky NIH - Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) Policy Analyst Sen. Patty Murray
2013 Katherine Donigan U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Staff Fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren
2012 Laura Koontz U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Personalized Medicine Staff Rep. Louise Slaughter
2011 Cristina Kapustij NIH - National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Chief, Policy and Program Analysis Branch Rep. John Dingell
2010 Kyle Brown Office of the Governor of Colorado Health Policy Advisor Senate HELP Committee
2009 Selvi Sriranganathan Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States Certified Genetic Counselor Rep. Eddie Bernice-Johnson
2008 Sara Selgrade NIH - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Section Chief for Legislative Activities Senate HELP Committee
2007 Pam Bradley U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Staff Fellow Senate HELP Committee
2006 Ed Ramos NIH - National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Program Director Sen. Barack Obama
2005 Derek Scholes ASHG Director of Science Policy Senate HELP Committee
2004 Mike Stebbins Arnold Foundation Vice President of Science and Technology Senate Minority Leaders Office
2003 Jennifer Leib HealthFutures, LLC Partner Senate HELP Committee
2002 Daryl Pritchard Personalized Medicine Coalition Vice President, Science Policy Rep. Louise Slaughter


Testimonials from Past Genetics & Public Policy Fellows

Cari Young

Cari YoungThe ASHG/NHGRI Policy Fellowship provided me with diverse learning opportunities and the chance to contribute meaningfully to the formation and analysis of health and science policy.  It provided a unique opportunity to take on varied roles within the science and health policy landscape, allowing me to experience the pros and cons of working in each setting and helping me to crystallize my thinking on where I might want to go next. It also made me a more marketable applicant for policy positions beyond the fellowship.

- Cari Young (2015 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)  

Laura Koontz

Laura KoontzThe ASHG/NHGRI Genetics and Public Policy Fellowship was without exaggeration a life-changing experience. My fellowship allowed me to take my background in genetics research and translate it into a career as a public policy professional at a national cancer patient advocacy organization. Not only has the experience been invaluable, the network of fellows I've joined as an alumna are among the best policy professionals in D.C...The fellowship has also allowed me to fully realize my commitment to bettering the lives and treatment of people with cancer - the reason I got into scientific research in the first place!

- Laura Koontz (2012 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)  

Cristina Kapustij

Christina KapustijI've gained a very desirable skillset and professional network only achievable by doing the work I was given. I will use the tools this experience has given me in every aspect of my career. This fellowship has created a group of impressive policy makers networked into the genetics community that is a force to be reckoned with in Washington, DC. And our numbers grow every year.

- Cristina Kapustij (2011 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)

Sara Selgrade

Sara Selgrade One of the most valuable things about the fellowship has been the group of former fellows, most of whom are still working in policy in or near Washington, D.C. They are an amazing resource and a testament to how the fellowship prepares you for a variety of rewarding careers at the intersection of science and policy.

- Sara Selgrade (2008 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)

Pam Bradley

Pam BradleyThe ASHG/NHGRI fellowship is unique in providing "immersion" experiences in multiple sectors, giving the fellow a first-hand understanding of the different perspectives, motivations and limitations in policymaking. The fellowship was instrumental in launching me into an exciting and rewarding policy career that builds on my science background. The past fellows network is also an amazing resource. Access to the variety and depth of expertise of the past fellows greatly enriched the fellowship experience, and the growing network continues to help me professionally and personally.

- Pam Bradley (2007 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)

Ed Ramos

Ed RamosWithout question, the fellowship brought to light new pathways not often considered when pursuing a PhD and I am grateful for the strong network that supported me as a fellow and continues to support me to this day.

- Ed Ramos (2006 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)


Derek Scholes

Derek Scholes"This fellowship changed my life. During my postdoc, I developed a passion for science and health policy, and was very keen to pursue a policy career. The fellowship was exactly the opportunity I needed to gain the training, knowledge and experience necessary to enter the policy world of Washington, D.C. Because the fellowship allows the fellow to work in different settings, I gained an appreciation of the range of career options available, and this empowered me to choose a career path after the fellowship that was right for me. It is a wonderful bonus that the alumni from this fellowship all remain in contact with each other: I consider this network of former fellows to be among my most trusted colleagues."

- Derek Scholes (2005 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)

Daryl Pritchard

Daryl Pritchard"So many opportunities have been afforded to me by this fellowship. When I first applied for the position, I was a genetics postdoc living in DC. As a scientist, I primarily worked in a laboratory and didn’t have many chances to communicate with others about my research and technological advancements in medicine. I was interested in public policy and got involved in government relations. The fellowship allowed me to go further in that direction by combining my scientific expertise with the communication of science to large audiences, and it provided me with experience and skills in policy development, legislative affairs, business, and government relations that I continue to draw upon today."

- Daryl Pritchard (2002 ASHG/NHGRI Fellow)



Rotations (schedule approximate)


Sept. - Dec. 2017 Policy and Program Analysis Branch, Office of the Director, at NHGRI: Participate as a member of the Branch on a variety of projects related to genomics policies and other activities such as the development of the federal budget.
Jan. - Sept. 2018 Congressional office and/or Committee involved in genetics-related public policy issues: Work within the personal office of a Member of Congress or a Congressional committee with jurisdiction over biomedical research, health or science. Fellows determine their positions based on availability and their own interests, and participate fully in staff functions during this time.
Oct. - Dec. 2018 Advocacy at ASHG: Work within the ASHG science policy office advocating for ASHG's policy platform and examining policy issues related to genetics research, the use of genetics in the clinic, and the non-clinical applications of genetics in society. 






The activities of the fellow will vary with each rotation. They will include research and analysis on a wide range of policy issues impacting biomedical research and its clinical application, and summarizing those analyses for different audiences. Writing tasks may include crafting new policy position statements, preparing testimony, summarizing legislation and drafting speeches. The fellow will participate in a variety of forums and will be expected to represent the involved organizations effectively in individual meetings and larger settings.



Qualifications and Skills


Candidates are expected to have an advanced degree in human genetics or related field. Exceptional applicants with other advanced degrees and clearly demonstrated experience-based knowledge in science policy could be considered. Ideally, candidates will have completed graduate training, but be early in the career development path. In addition to possessing a scientific knowledge base, the candidate must have a well-articulated interest in policy.   Demonstrated skills in oral and written communications are essential. United States citizenship is not required, but candidates must be eligible to work in in the U.S. (i.e., the fellowship organizations will not sponsor visas).



Selection Process


A committee of representatives from ASHG and NHGRI will review application materials, interview finalists, and recommend up to three candidates to the organizational leaders for the final selection decision. Candidates are asked in the application materials to explain their motivation, areas of interest, and future plans (click to preview application).

Applications are open for the 2017-2018 fellowship. Deadline: April 21, 2017.



Other Policy Fellowships and Internships


NHGRI regularly receives inquiries from geneticists and genomicists interested in pursuing science and health policy, but who are not eligible for the NHGRI/ASHG Genetics and Public Policy Fellowship. To assist such individuals, NHGRI has compiled a list of other policy-related fellowships and internships that may be of interest.  See: Other Policy Fellowships and Internships





Questions can be directed to:

Derek Scholes, PhD
Director of Science Policy
American Society of Human Genetics

Cristina Kapustij, MS
Chief, Policy and Program Analysis Branch
National Human Genome Research Institute


The American Society of Human Genetics, Incorporated

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