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HHS COVID-19 Policy Fellowship

HHS Office and LocationSeveral fellowship opportunities are currently available in the Office of Science and Data Policy within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. The fellow is expected to adhere to federal telework policies.

The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

Research Project: ASPE advises the HHS Secretary on policy development, leads special initiatives, coordinates the Department's evaluation, research and demonstration activities, and manages cross-Department planning activities such as strategic planning, legislative planning, and review of regulations. 

The fellow will have the opportunity to conduct policy research and analysis, program evaluation, and public health systems research pertaining to federal efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for future pandemics and public health emergencies. The fellow will participate in one or more of several ongoing COVID-19 projects, for example a mixed methods study to identify best practices in COVID-19 vaccination and testing, and also contribute to efforts to identify broader lessons learned in the COVID-19 pandemic response. 

The selected fellow will be mentored by a team of policy, public health, and economic experts who focus on biomedical science and public health policies. In addition to direct mentorship by the ASPE team, the fellow will have the opportunity to collaborate with a broad set of federal and non-federal stakeholders. 

Learning Objectives

  • Conducting or contributing to policy research and analysis, program evaluation, and public health systems research pertaining to federal efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for future pandemics and public health emergencies;
  • Providing subject matter expertise and contributing to review and analysis for the annual HHS budget and legislative development process, as well as reviewing and analyzing relevant regulations, legislation, executive directives, reports, and other documents for policy implications and alignment with HHS priorities; 
  • Supporting research and evaluation activities to inform decisions about program improvement, regulations, and/or policy making related to biomedical science and public health issues; and
  • Drafting internal and external correspondence, reports, presentations, talking points, and other materials for use by staff, management, and/or senior ASPE leadership in briefing key stakeholders and other leadership, including the HHS Secretary. 

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Deborah Porterfield ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 15, 2022. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of HHS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and HHS. Participants do not become employees of HHS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should have received a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Public Policy, Health Policy, Public Health, Behavioral Science, Social Science), or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion before the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within the last five years. 

Preferred Skills: 

  • Experience designing, planning, conducting, and communicating the results of analytical projects within public health, public policy or the biomedical or behavioral sciences
  • Knowledge of and experience with qualitative analytic approaches (e.g., conducting, collating, analyzing and interpreting results from key informant/subject matter expert interviews) and/or
  • Knowledge of and experience with quantitative research approaches (e.g., statistics, econometrics, epidemiology, health services or public health systems research)
  • Experience writing documents such as fact sheets, reports, white papers and peer reviewed articles
  • Working in a team and being an effective collaborator
  • Experience in infectious diseases or emergency preparedness/response