UW News

April 12, 2007

Two UW faculty members awarded Robert Wood Johnson fellowships

Two University of Washington faculty members have garnered coveted fellowships in a two-year program that aims to produce creative thinking in health policy research.

The Scholars in Health Policy Research Program, (http://www.healthpolicyscholars.org) run by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, places them at one of three prominent universities attending seminars, workshops, tutorials and conducting independent research projects. The scholars do not have teaching, consulting or administrative responsibilities.

Laura Evans of the Evans School and Christopher Adolph of the Political Science Department and the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences successfully competed in a field of more than 100 junior faculty members. They are among 13 chosen from across the country.

The program targets freshly minted scholars — those whose doctoral degrees are no more than five years old — in one of three disciplines: political science, economics and sociology. Both Evans and Adolph earned their doctoral degrees in political science, Evans at the University of Michigan and Adolph at Harvard University.

Alan Cohen, the fellowship program’s Boston-based, national director, said, “We are looking to recruit people who are new to health — people who have not had major exposure.”

Mixing scholars with different backgrounds in a rich learning environment gives them a chance to exchange ideas, broaden their professional research agendas, and return to their institutions ready to inject new intellectual life, Cohen said.

The program, he said, seeks scholars who we believe “are going to have an excellent career and contribute to health policy in the United States.”

Cohen added, “Without a doubt, it’s a coup” for the UW to have secured two spots among the newest crop of program scholars.”

Sandra Archibald, dean of the Evans School of Public Affairs, said, “Laura and Chris are shining examples of the quality of our faculty here at the UW. Having two scholars selected for this prestigious program is a testament to the high caliber of their scholarship and to the University’s ability to recruit good young faculty.”

The program’s partnering schools are Harvard, which is where Evans will be located, the University of California — Berkeley (in collaboration with the University of California — San Francisco) and the University of Michigan, which is where Adolph is headed.

Fellows receive stipends of $80,000 for the first year and $83,000 for the second, plus limited financial support for research-related expenses.

Evans, an assistant professor who became a UW faculty member three years ago, described the fellowship as “an exciting opportunity to develop some new skills and expertise.” She said it will help launch her next major project — a book that looks at how local governments help or hinder health and well being.

Adolph, also an assistant professor who arrived at the UW in 2004, is likewise excited and pleased at the prospect of taking a break from teaching. The program, he said, will give him a chance to incorporate health policy into research areas he’s already familiar with.

He said he plans to focus in part on how political influences affect the allocation of health care dollars, and on the ways in which bureaucracies impact the delivery of health care policies.

Two other UW faculty members have participated in the fellowship program. Naomi Murakawa, an assistant professor of political science, is in her second year at Berkeley. And John Wilkerson, an associate professor of political science, was in the program’s first cohort in 1994.

In addition, Chris Parker, who entered the program from the University of California — Santa Barbara, has since joined the UW faculty. He is scheduled to complete his fellowship this summer and start teaching political science in the fall.