Medical EducationOriginal Article

A Qualitative, Interview Based Study of the Health Policy Fellowship’s Osteopathic Identity

Daniel Skinner, PhD, and Berkeley Franz, AMRS, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: November 29, 2016

Accepted: December 13, 2016

Published: March 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(3): 184-190

Context: Since 1993, the Health Policy Fellowship (HPF) has trained osteopathic professionals in health policy and leadership. Although almost 250 fellows have graduated from the program, many of whom have assumed leadership roles within the osteopathic medical profession, the HPF has, to the authors’ knowledge, never been subjected to scholarly analysis.

Objectives: To understand the HPF’s professional significance as a health policy and leadership training program that has enrolled mostly osteopathic physicians.

Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with graduates supplemented by interviews with other professionals involved with the HPF. Using an inductive grounded theory approach, we coded interviews for major themes.

Results: Forty-three interviews were conducted, 38 of which were with graduates of the program and 5 of which were with HPF staff. The data suggest that although the content of the HPF is applicable to all medical professionals, the program’s language and structure are designed to accommodate specific needs of osteopathic professionals. Specifically, the language of the fellowship emphasizes the “high ground” (considering multiple perspectives on an issue), and the structure of the fellowship allows fellows to continue in their jobs but travel to several COMs and to Washington, DC, throughout the year.

Conclusions: Closer examination of the HPF helped convey the relevance of this program, and perhaps programs like it, for a minority medical profession still finding its voice within the policy climate of US health care.

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