Health Policy Fellowship (Archive)

The National Pharmaceutical Council and Duke-Margolis Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Care Policy trains and empowers the next generation of health policy professionals and leaders. 

This nontraditional fellowship takes post-docs out of their academic program bubble and places them in the middle of the health care policy world in Washington, D.C. The fellow is provided with an office at NPC and access to office space and resources at Duke University’s Washington, D.C. location. The two-year program bridges the gap between health research and policy analysis and gives fellows exposure to real-world health policy issues that researchers typically do not get elsewhere.

2020-2022 NPC/Duke-Margolis Health Policy Fellow Salama Freed, PhD, talks about her research.

Fellows receive the opportunity to conduct rigorous, multidisciplinary research that addresses significant health policy challenges in a new health care environment changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They also explore the policy implications of health services research and learn how to design studies to inform U.S. health care policy.

All fellows have access to researchers and policy experts from Duke-Margolis and NPC, and will gain hands-on policy research experience, with opportunities to interact with a diverse set of stakeholders, attend conferences and participate in local policy meetings or forums.

What will you learn as a fellow?

Participants in the program will learn how to:

  • Identify important health policy issues and think about health policy from all different angles
  • Conduct high-quality scientific evidence-based policy research that could move the needle on improving the health care system for patients
  • Understand how data-driven research informs the development and implementation of policy solutions
  • Communicate effectively, get amplify your research and connect with influencers.

It is anticipated that upon completion of the program, the fellow would have the skills to identify, critically assess and pose policy-relevant research solutions for the challenges facing our evolving health care system. Among these are the struggle patients face in accessing the care they need due to a rapidly growing logistical and financial burden, the fragmented nature of our health system, the challenges it presents in shifting spending from low-value to high-value care, and public concerns about affordability that threaten sustained biopharmaceutical innovation and equitable care.

What will you be doing?

This fellowship is a natural extension of NPC’s mission to foster the high-quality research and analysis decision-makers need to drive value in health care and best outcomes for patients, and it furthers the Duke-Margolis mission to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions.

We expect the fellowship to equip individuals to advance the field in an academic role or provide leadership to payer organizations, industry, or the government. During the two-year fellowship, participants will:

  • Conduct at least one core policy-related research project that may be in conjunction with new or ongoing NPC research with an expectation that it would lead to first-authored, peer-reviewed publication(s).
  • Collaborate with other policy research groups in Washington, D.C.
  • Engage with relevant government agencies, academic institutions, and industry representatives to expand the professional network.
  • Attend relevant national conferences, participate in potential guest lecture opportunities, present work in front of diverse audiences – from academia to policymakers to industry.
  • Receive mentorship from members of the NPC and Duke-Margolis research teams. The combined mentorship from both organizations helps to guide fellows throughout the two-year term.

Will this fellowship help you land a job?

Fellows are given the opportunity to meet with experts and thought leaders throughout the health care policy world. These interactions allow fellows to make professional connections that could lead to job opportunities as well as help them figure out what career suits them best. In addition, mentors work with fellows to help them make sure their portfolios cover different potential paths for future employment.

What are the requirements to apply?

The Fellowship is open to PhD, MD, or PharmD-level researchers with a desire to understand and study the health policy implications pertaining to biopharmaceuticals in the new health care environment. As this is an early-career fellowship, preferences will be given to candidates who have completed their doctoral degree after January 1, 2015. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

2018-20 NPC/Duke-Margolis Health Policy Fellow, Taruja Karmarkar, PhD, MHS, discusses her research on step therapy.

About the National Pharmaceutical Council

The National Pharmaceutical Council is a health policy research organization dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science, and to fostering an environment in the United States that supports medical innovation. Founded in 1953 and supported by the nation’s major research-based pharmaceutical companies, NPC focuses on research development, information dissemination, and education on the critical issues of evidence, innovation and the value of medicines for patients. For more information, visit and follow NPC on Twitter @npcnow

About the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

The Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University is directed by Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, and brings together expertise from the Washington, D.C., policy community, Duke University, and Duke Health to address the most pressing issues in health policy. The Center’s mission is to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care by developing and implementing evidence-based policy solutions locally, nationally, and globally. For more information, visit