National Pharmaceutical Council and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy Announce New Health Policy Fellow

Dr. Salama Freed has been named NPC/Duke-Margolis Health Policy Fellow for 2020-22.

For Immediate Release

Contacts: Andrea Hofelich,, 202-827-2078 (NPC)
Patricia Green,, 301-520-6482 (Duke-Margolis)

July 6, 2020 —The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) and Duke University's Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy today announced that Salama Freed, PhD, has been named the 2020-22 post-doctoral health policy fellow.

The two-year fellowship position, based in Washington, D.C., is designed to bridge a persistent gap between health research and policy analysis. Dr. Freed is the fourth Fellow to enter the program since the Fellowship was launched by NPC in 2013.

“This program helps to train the next generation of health care policy researchers by putting Fellows right in the middle of the health policy ecosystem,” said NPC Chief Science Officer and Executive Vice President Robert W. Dubois, MD, PhD. “We want this Fellowship to produce innovative policy researchers who can advance the field, help to improve health policy and offer research-based solutions.”

Dr. Freed previously was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and Perelman School of Medicine. She earned her doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University and was named a health policy fellow by the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. She also received a Master of economics from Duke University, a Master of electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University. 

Her research portfolio has highlighted two intertwined investigational tracks focused on innovations in health care access and delivery: how vulnerable populations may be affected by disruptions in these innovations, and how these innovations may help to contain costs.
Dr. Freed’s strong research experience will serve as a foundation for her fellowship and will allow her to understand how policy drives everything forward. Looking forward to applying these skills, Dr. Freed’s fellowship research will focus on the intersection of payment reform such as provider rate changes, insurance rate setting and bundled payment initiatives and how this can encourage, rather than discourage, equitable health care access. 

“I sought out the NPC/Duke-Margolis Health Policy Fellowship to understand where and how to affect change in policies in each of these issues,” said Dr. Freed. “At a high level, I recognize the tradeoffs between the interests of health care providers, federal agencies, legislators, and health insurance providers. I am seeking a deeper understanding of how to address these tradeoffs to increase efficacy and equity in the health care system. Adding this to my skill set with my current experience with health economics and data analysis would help me to ensure my research can inform policy and patient care.”

Dr. Freed will be mentored by Dr. Dubois and Jennifer Graff, PharmD, Vice President of Comparative Effectiveness Research at NPC, Gillian Sanders, PhD, Deputy Director, Academics, Duke-Margolis, and Professor of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine, and Rob Saunders, PhD, Research Director, Payment and Delivery Reform, Duke-Margolis.

“As we face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to transform our health care system to address it, Dr. Freed’s expertise in vulnerable populations, health care innovation, and cost, is needed now more than ever,” said Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, director of Duke-Margolis. “The NPC/Duke-Margolis fellowship is an essential to prepare health care leaders today to guide the nation tomorrow.”

The NPC/Duke-Margolis Post-Doctoral Health Policy Fellowship is designed for early career researchers to explore the policy implications of health services research and to learn how to design studies to inform U.S. health care policy. As a Fellow, Dr. Freed will have access to researchers and policy experts from Duke and from NPC and will gain hands-on policy research experience, with opportunities to interact with a diverse set of stakeholders.

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, DC, policy community, Duke University, and Duke Health to address the most pressing issues in health policy. The Center’s mission is to improve health and the value of health care by developing and implementing evidence-based policy solutions locally, nationally, and globally. For more information, visit