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Alumni Spotlight

Following their participation in the Clinical Scholars program, many alumni put their experience to use in their careers. To read profiles of distinguished Program alumni who have gone on to make a difference in their fields, click on an article below.

Video: Insights from
RWJF Clinical Scholars

Video: Insights from RWJF Clinical Scholars

Video: Investing in People - The RWJF Scholars,
Fellows and Leadership Programs

Video: Insights from RWJF Clinical Scholars

A New Point of View - The Health Policy Elective

"A New Point of View - The Health Policy Elective", an article from the Fall 2013 newsletter, features the experiences of current scholars and alumni at several off-site health policy electives.

Read the article >

Collaborative Community Research and the Latino Health Care Workforce Pipeline

Clinical Scholars and alumni are tackling issues every day – through research and community-based work – to raise the bar for the quality of care that’s provided to underserved populations. Since 2005, community-based participatory research (CBPR) and community-partnered research training and practice have been integral to the Clinical Scholars program. As a result, Scholars get valuable hands-on experience working with community partners to create new programs or improve existing ones that change people’s lives – including their own. More >

Clinical Scholars Experience Key to Success for Three State Health Commissioners

Ed Ehlinger, M.D., M.S.P.H., David Gifford, M.D., M.P.H., Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H.
Being a Clinical Scholar alumnus certainly helps on the job. All three Clinical Scholars alumni who have been state Commissioners of Health, Ed Ehlinger, M.D., M.S.P.H. (UNC 1978–1980), David Gifford, M.D., M.P.H., (UCLA 1992–1994), and Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., (UCLA 2001–2003) have tapped the network of fellow scholars and colleagues in health care to help them address challenges they’ve encountered. Shah, who is also an alumnus of the RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars program (2007–2010), and a RWJF Health e-Technologies Initiative grantee (2004), advises, “The RWJF programs truly create generalists who are prepared to influence policy. Delving into policy is not only an option but a responsibility of folks who want to make a mark and change our health care system.” More >

At the Forefront of Health Care Leadership: Three RWJF Clinical Scholars Alumni Reflect on Their Path to Becoming University Deans

At a time when physician training did not focus far beyond individual patient care, the Clinical Scholars program set out to break new ground in physician leadership. That was in 1972. Today, more than 1100 Clinical Scholar alumni are having an impact in every corner of health and health care. Among these exceptional alumni are three university deans who provide the strategic leadership and insight at some of the top schools for health education in the United States.
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Dr. Robert Arnold
Dr. Robert Arnold learned about the Clinical Scholars program when he was a resident at Brown University.  Having gone to a medical school that did not emphasize research and knowing that he both wanted to be a generalist and academic medicine, he was not sure what to do after completing his residency.  His program director, Steve Wartman recommended that he look into the Clinical Scholars program. More >


Dr. Andrea Gottsegen Asnes
Andrea Gottsegen Asnes, MD, MSW (Yale CSP 2001-2003), currently an assistant professor in Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, speaks about her research career in child abuse pediatrics, influence of the CSP on her career, and current collaboration with pediatric trauma surgeon and alumnus Brendan Campbell MD (Mich CSP 2000-2002). More >

Dr. Daniel W. Bradford
For Daniel W. Bradford, MD, MPH, the Clinical Scholars Program was a life changing experience - one that impacted his career enormously. After learning about the Program from his medical school peers, Dr. Bradford applied and was accepted as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar. More >


Dr. Michael Cabana
For Dr. Michael Cabana, one of the most valuable parts of the Clinical Scholars program was the opportunity to focus on the “big” issues that affect medicine. “The Clinical Scholars fellowship is one of the rare opportunities in your career you get a chance to step back, where you’re allowed to not only focus on the question at hand, but also look at a broader picture,” he told us. More >


Dr. Carlyle Chan
For Carlyle Chan MD, the Clinical Scholars program was an important launching pad for his career as a academic psychiatrist and residency director. Chan applied to the Program in 1977, after reading about the Clinical Scholars program in a scholarly publication. He was completing his psychiatry residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics and was looking for a way to expand his experiences after spending the previous three years in an intensive clinical residency. More >


Dr. William Cunningham
Dr. William Cunningham, a leading researcher on HIV/AIDS and health disparities, credits the Clinical Scholars program as being a key influence in his career development. “I felt empowered to make a difference and have an impact,” he says of the Program. Most importantly, the Clinical Scholars program gave Cunningham a way to bridge his passion for medicine with his desire to do work that would benefit society—as well as perform research that had major policy implications for the way that HIV/AIDS treatment programs were developed and funded.  More >


Dr. Esa Davis
When Esa Davis first saw a chart of obesity rates broken out by race and gender while in medical school at UMDNJ-New Jersey, she was startled. The chart showed that while obesity rates were rising in the general population, they were rising much faster among African-American women. “It really startled me, because African-American women were off the charts, but African American men weren’t nearly as high,” Davis told us. “So, what’s predisposing African-American women to be more obese?” More >


Dr. Alison Gilbraith
Dr. Alison Galbraith learned about the Clinical Scholars program long before she actually applied. After completing her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, Galbraith worked as a research assistant with a former Clinical Scholar. “He was doing a study about people on dialysis and whether or not they had an advanced directive,” she told us. “He was interested in ethical issues, especially around things like living wills.” More >


Dr. Shamiram Feinglass
A mentor of Dr. Shamiram Feinglass’ suggested she apply to be a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar (heretofore, Clinical Scholar) when she began residency at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.  Having never heard of the program before, she was not quite sure why she should apply.  Upon more research, she found that it matched her interests: policy and medicine.  Having been a lobbyist following graduation from Smith College, she was determined to be a physician-policymaker because she thought there were too few physicians at the health policy debating table.
More >


Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the current President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Clinical Scholars alum, tells us that the Clinical Scholars Program helped to catapult her career.

“As a Clinical Scholar, I was encouraged to “analyze” the health care system in a new and innovative way – one that allowed me to describe health care beyond the clinical realm.”
More >

Nicole Lurie

Dr. Nicole Lurie
Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H., acknowledges that it’s not just the training and skills that set Clinical Scholars apart. “It’s the passion that we bring to the work—we come to the program with a commitment and a goal to do something significant. It was designed for people who want to change the world.”
More >

Jason A. Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H.

Jason A. Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H.
"(The Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars) program literally changed my life," Jason A. Mendoza, M.D., M.P.H. says. "I had the motivation and basic background from my clinical experience but I didn't have the skill set I needed. As a pediatrician, you're not trained to do public health, but rather one-on-one care…. I was with a cohort of scholars who were fabulous in developing ideas and refining them, and the faculty prepared us very well to become scientists."
More >


Dr. Kavitha Patel
Kavita Patel, M.D., M.S.H.S., learned about the Clinical Scholars Program when she was in medical school at Oregon Health and Sciences University.  As the National President of the American Medical School Association at the time, Dr. Patel said that “many of the leaders before me went on to the Program. Because we were like-minded individuals, it seemed like a perfect fit. I was right.”
More >

Neil R. Powe

Dr. Neil R. Powe
“One of the most valuable assets from the program has been my fellow scholars, mentors and advisors that I got to know and build relationships with,” says Dr. Neil R. Powe. “This network has been like a family that helped me pursue the things that I am passionate about.”
More >


Dr. Kimberly Rask
Dr. Kimberly Rask credits the Clinical Scholars Program with teaching her how to think about difficult issues and how to do research in a way that teaches us how to solve problems. “I would absolutely recommend the Clinical Scholars Program. There is no other program that has the eclectic, policy relevant, systems-thinking, advocacy-oriented, collaborative curriculum that this Program has. It was invaluable to my career.”
More >

Dr. Sheldon Michael Retchin

Dr. Sheldon Michael Retchin
"The perspective I got from my RWJF training is that I wanted to have an influence on the health of a population," Dr. Sheldon Michael Retchin says, pointing to the development of the HMOs as a reflection of that training. "The Virginia Coordinated Care (VCC) program is used to taking care of an inner-city population. We think it is the vehicle, the bridge to the way coverage will expand for health care reform. And all of that came out of my work with RWJF. It was the most important career decision I ever made."
More >


Dr. Terrence E. Steyer
For Terrence E. Steyer, MD, the Clinical Scholars Program was an invaluable way to meet contacts that impacted his career on many different levels. Referred to the Program by several of his mentors, Dr. Steyer applied and was accepted as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar.
More >


Dr. Joe Thompson
After completing two years of his residency, Dr. Joe Thompson, M.D. was on the path to becoming a pediatric, intensive care physician—he enjoyed the technical aspects of clinical care work and had never thought about working in the policy arena. During his residency, however, Thompson realized that he was also interested in broader health care issues. While he was satisfied that he was getting hands-on clinical experience and was able to treat individual patients, he wondered how prevention, funding, and social factors could also affect patients’ health outcomes. More >


Dr. Mort Wasserman
Dr. Wasserman believes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program is “incredibly valuable.” A current professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Dr. Wasserman spent two years at the University of Washington as a Clinical Scholar and also earning his Masters in Public Health.
More >

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