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Public Health Fellowship in Government

APHA is no longer accepting applications for this fellowship


The Fellowship in Government provides a unique public policy learning experience, demonstrates the value of science-government interaction and enhances public health science and practical knowledge in government. APHA looked for candidates with strong public health credentials and an interest in serving as a staff person in the U.S. Congress. The fellowship was based in Washington, D.C. One fellow was chosen each year.

The fellow had the option of working in the House or Senate on legislative and policy issues such as creating healthy communities, improving health equity, addressing environmental health concerns, population health or the social determinants of health. Much of the work developing public policy happens at the staff level, where these critical issues are not well understood or incorporated into the discussion. The fellow had the opportunity to make an impact and improve the health of the public. 

The fellowship aimed to:

  • Establish and nurture critical links between federal decision-makers and public health professionals;
  • Educate public health professionals about the legislative process and the skills necessary to be successful, including the ability to translate complex public health issues into legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives;
  • Increase the visibility and impact public health professionals in the policy arena;
  • Increase attention to and focus on the social determinants of health and the goal of improving health equity and creating healthy communities;
  • Support the inclusion of sound public health science in policy; and
  • Create a culture of policy engagement for public health professionals.

This fellowship was sponsored by an unrestricted grant from the Aetna Foundation.


Erika Lautenbach (Nuerenberg), MPH

Erika was the 2019 APHA fellow, moving from Washington state to have the experience to work on national public health policy. Previously, she was the assistant director of her county's local health and human services department, and had worked for elected officials in state, city, and county government in Washington, as well as leading government relations for a west coast environmental corporation.

Erika chose the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee as her placement, and enjoyed the opportunity to work on a variety of health and human services issues. Most notably, Erika was involved with reauthorization bills on child abuse prevention and treatment, and services for older Americans; a public health package which included raising the tobacco age to 21, providing funding for public health data and infrastructure, and developing toolkits for states on obesity prevention; and communication with HHS officials on suicide prevention and tobacco control efforts.

The experience was fantastic and rewarding, and provided great learning to translate national policy to the local level.

Sherie Lou Z. Santos, MPH, MCHES

Being APHA’s 2018 Public Health Fellowship in Government was an amazing and life-changing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I saw this fellowship as a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to grow and further my career, despite the stark shift in sectors. I had been functioning in the DC Metropolitan’s public health arena at a grassroots level and had experienced firsthand how public policy directly affected not only my career (e.g., grant funding) but also the lives of the community members I worked so closely with (e.g., availability of federally-funded programs, acquisition of health insurance).

My placement with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee was more than anything I could have ever hoped for! I worked predominantly on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) portfolio (of which I knew almost nothing about) and the public health preparedness portfolio – two extremely intriguing portfolios that I truly enjoyed working on. Additionally, since Senator Murray did not have any health legislative assistants on her personal staff, I was able to experience working with her personal office in addition to the health team and the other HELP Committee teams. I loved every humbling, intellectually-engaging and challenging, and exhausting minute of it.

Fauzia Khan, MD, MPH

As the 2017 Public Health Fellow in Government, I was lucky enough to serve as a policy advisor for Representatives Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo.  During my time with Rep. Hastings, I gained valuable experience in the legislative process by managing the portfolio on health, appropriations, environment, housing, science and technology. The exposure to a diverse range of issues increased my understanding of federal programs and the budget and appropriations processes and enhanced my ability to excel in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. Hastings served on the Rules Committee, which helped me better understand the rules, processes and details of legislation coming to the floor for a vote. 

For the first half of my Fellowship, I served as a Fellow on Rep. Diana DeGette's staff. I provided recommendations and tracked development of legislation related to health care programs specifically but not limited to Medicare, Medicaid, school-based programs, Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting; and the Food and Drug Administration. I researched and wrote legislation briefs and memoranda. This role also included submitting requests for increased Congressional funding for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and the National Institute of Health.


Sarah Moreland-Russell, PhD, MPH

As the 2015-2016 Public Health Fellow in Government, Sarah served as the fellow for the 114th Congress for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., where she advised on health-related policy action. As a member of Gillibrand’s office, Sarah used her public health expertise and research practice to: help analyze legislation and brainstorm innovative policy strategies for addressing complicated public health related issues; participate in meetings with constituents, lobbyists and stakeholders; and communicate with executive branch agencies to outline public health policy concerns regarding a variety of issues.

Termika Smith, MPA

Recipient of the 2015 APHA Public Health Fellowship.

Barbara Baylor, MPH, CHES

Recipient of the 2013 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government. Upon completion of her fellowship, Barbara has accepted a position as Policy Advocate for Health Issues with the D.C. branch of the United Church of Christ. She will apply her learning to help communicate and translate national policies to local faith and community organizations for action and to develop a national faith-based youth health policy.

Read about Barbara’s year on the Hill…

Jamesine (Jamie) Rogers, MPH

Recipient of the 2012 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government

André Stanley, MPH

Recipient of the 2011 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government engaging in the federal public policy process and to gain a deeper understanding of the membership, organizational structure and legislative processes and procedures of the United States Congress.

Read about André’s year on the Hill…

Craig Mosbaek, MPH

Recipient of the 2010 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government and Brookings Institution LEGIS Congressional Fellow

Read about Craig’s year on the Hill…

Monica Feit, MPH

Recipient of the 2009 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government and Brookings Institution LEGIS Congressional Fellow

Read about Monica’s year on the Hill…

Fern Goodhart, MPH

Fern was selected as the first APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government and currently works in the office of Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., championing domestic social issues affecting health, children, education, aging, Indian Health and Education and advancing legislative and policy recommendations.

Read about Fern's year on the Hill...

APHA gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Aetna Foundation for the APHA Fellowship in Government starting in 2015.