Two prestigious health programs at Penn have scheduled their departures.
Penn has hosted two of these programs, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars program, which is no longer accepting applicants, and the RWJF Clinical Scholars program, which will admit scholars for one final two-year round.
These programs are “for physicians, typically after they complete a residency [and]…for a broad range of individuals from many fields, but most commonly those with PhDs in sociology, psychology, and economics,” respectively, Perelman School of Medicine Professor David Asch explained in an email.
The two-year-long Health and Society Scholars program investigates links between different determinants of health. Program scholars use those links to develop interventions to improve the nation’s health. The RWJF Clinical Scholars program blends courses in health, economics and policy, giving participants more than a $60,000 stipend for each of their two years in the research-heavy initiative.
Program President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said in a statement on the RWJF website that the cut in programming would, “produce even more well-prepared and well-connected scholars and leaders more efficiently.”
The foundation, which has been in existence for about 40 years, is eliminating a total of 10 programs from its current roster. The cuts affect a variety of affiliated institutions.
Lavizzo -Mourey also mentioned that their decision was based on “a thorough analysis of all our work, including our Human Capital Portfolio investments, which include programs that date back to the foundation’s beginning.”
Although the programs will be ending in their “current configuration,” according to Asch, they have been integral in Penn’s growth.
“These programs have both developed Penn as an institution and have revealed how well Penn can attract and train people who can make important contributions to health and health care,” Asch said.
Mitesh Patel, a 2009 Wharton MBA graduate taking part in the Clinical Scholars program, said that it helped change the structure of his career.
“[It] has been tremendous, unique and has helped promote leaders in academic medicine across the country for the last 40 years,” Patel said. He added that the foundation of the program is “well-founded,” and is hopeful that more funding may become available for RWJ to continue at Penn in the future.
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