What is the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship?

Established in 1996, and supported by The Commonwealth Fund, the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University (CFF) is a one-year, full-time, academic degree-granting fellowship.  This unique fellowship is designed to prepare physicians, particularly physicians from groups underrepresented in medicine, to become leaders who improve the health of disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through transforming health care delivery systems and promoting innovation in policies, practices and programs that address health equity and the social determinants of health.

Fellows will complete academic work leading to a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and gain exposure to, and understanding of, major health issues facing vulnerable and disadvantaged populations through fellowship activities.  The Fellowship also offers a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at the Harvard Kennedy School to physicians already possessing an MPH. It is expected that the Fellowship will support the development of a cadre of physician leaders in health policy and practice who are well-trained academically and professionally in health policy, health care management, minority health and clinical medicine, as well as actively committed to creating high-performance health systems for vulnerable populations and to pursuing careers in public service.

How many fellows will be recruited per year?

Ordinarily, up to six fellowships will be awarded per year.

What benefits does the program provide?

Each fellowship provides support including: a $60,000 stipend, full tuition for a master's level degree, health insurance, books, travel and related expenses, and financial assistance toward the support of a practicum project.

When does the program begin each year?

The program is a 12- month program beginning July 1, at the start of the summer session of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Who is eligible for the Fellowship?

  • Physicians who have completed residency in the U.S., either BE/BC. Additional experience beyond residency, such as chief residency, is preferred.
  • Experience or interest in addressing and improving the health needs of minority, disadvantaged and vulnerable populations as well as in advancing system change in ways that improve the health for all populations, but with particular emphasis on vulnerable populations.
  • Strong evidence of leadership experience or potential, especially as related to community efforts, quality improvement, transformation of health care delivery systems, and/or health policy.
  • Intention to pursue a career in policy, public service, and/or academia.
  • U.S. citizenship or U.S. permanent residency.

How to apply to the Fellowship?

Applicants are required to complete applications to both The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University and the MPH program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Fellowship participation is contingent upon acceptance to both, although applicants not accepted to the Fellowship will still be eligible for admission to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Questions about the Fellowship can be addressed to:

Program Coordinator
The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship
c/o Minority Faculty Development Program
164 Longwood Avenue, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02115-5818
Phone: 617-432-2922
E-mail: mfdp_cff@hms.harvard.edu

How to obtain a Fellowship application?

To apply click here.

Can I complete the Fellowship on a part-time basis?

The fellowships are intended for full-time study, and the extensions to complete degrees and the Fellowship on a part-time basis are not acceptable.

I already have an MPH degree, but not in the field of health policy. Can I still apply for the Fellowship?

Applicants with prior MPH degrees are not eligible to apply to the Fellowship to receive another MPH degree. However, applicants with prior MPH degrees are eligible to apply for the Fellowship to receive a Mid-Career MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.  Applicants are required to complete applications to both The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University and the Mid-Career MPA program for the Harvard Kennedy School.  Fellowship participation is contingent upon acceptance to both, although applicants not accepted to the Fellowship will still be eligible for admission to the Harvard Kennedy School.

In your advertisement, you put BC/BE required as one of qualifications. What does that mean?

This qualification refers to physicians who are either board certified (BC) or board eligible (BE).