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Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice

The Commonwealth Fund is pleased to announce the co-sponsorship of the Australian Government and state and territory governments in the Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice, bringing to the program an invaluable policy perspective and commitment to a high performing health care system that will further enrich the experience of Fellows and their impact upon returning home.

The Commonwealth Fund and the Australian governments invite you to nominate a candidate for the 2020-21 Australian Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy and Practice.

While all interested applicants are welcome to apply, we encourage nominations and appreciate your taking the time to identify potential applicants for this prestigious Fellowship program.

Please complete and email the nomination information below to Robin Osborn, director of the Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice, at as soon as possible, and application materials will be emailed directly to your nominee.

  • Candidate’s Name
  • Candidate’s Job Title
  • Organization
  • Email

About the Fellowship

Promising mid-career professionals—government policymakers, academic researchers, clinical leaders, hospital and insurance managers, and journalists—from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom—are encouraged to apply for a unique opportunity to spend up to 12 months in the United States as a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice.

Fellows are placed with mentors who are leading U.S. experts at organizations such as Harvard University, Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to study issues within the scope of the Fund’s mission to support a high performing health care system ─ insurance coverage, access, and affordability; health care delivery system reforms (e.g. value-based payment models,  innovative approaches to care for high need/high cost patients, integration of medical care, mental health, and social care; and,  better models of primary care for vulnerable populations); cost containment; and other critical issues on the health policy agenda in both the U.S. and their home countries.

Applications for the 2020-21 Australian Harkness Fellowship must relate to one of the following eight priority policy themes jointly agreed upon by the Australian Government and state and territory governments.

  • Integration of Care across all sectors of the health system, including aged care
  • Chronic Disease and Multi-Morbidity, including prevention and public health
  • Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
  • Obesity
  • Impact and Utilisation of Technology and Artificial Intelligence on service delivery, and potentially the implications for rural, remote and regional settings
  • Workforce to support new models of care (including merger of health and social care workforce)
  • Overall Health System Sustainability (trajectories of needs/costs and implications for health and broader public policy)
  • Early Years and/or End of Life

In order to apply, applicants will need a letter of support from an Australian Government, or state/territory government official endorsing the proposed project. Please see the Harkness Fellowship website for more information and a list of contact information for participating government officials (

Products of the fellowship may include a peer-reviewed journal article or policy report for Health Ministers and other high-level policy audiences, as well as Issue Briefs, Op-Eds, and Blogs. Other products, more relevant to frontline delivery system innovation, are also encouraged.

The Commonwealth Fund brings together the full class of Fellows throughout the year to participate in a series of high level policy briefings and leadership seminars with U.S. health care leaders.

Each fellowship provides up to U.S. $130,000 in support, which covers roundtrip airfare to the U.S., living allowance, project-related travel, travel to fellowship seminars, health insurance, and U.S. federal and state taxes. A family supplement (i.e. $60,000 for partner and two children up to age 18) is also provided to cover airfare, living allowance, and health insurance.

The Harkness Fellowship is widely regarded as the pinnacle international program for health system researchers and policy leaders, and for very good reason. The Commonwealth Fund’s standing allows Fellows direct and unparalleled access to leading U.S. health care experts within government, academia, and provider organisations. My time at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) led to a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine and allowed me to build a strong network of U.S. and international collaborators that continues to this day. The Harkness Fellowship has been, and will continue to be, instrumental in my career development, and the bonds made with other Fellows will be long-lasting. – Adam Elshaug (2010-11 Harkness Fellow), Professor of Health Policy and Co-Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, The University of Sydney; Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution

The deadline for receipt of applications from Australia is 28 October 2019.

The Commonwealth Fund values diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation, established in 1918 and based in New York, which aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable. 

For further information and application guidelines, visit:

Please feel free to contact Robin Osborn, Senior Adviser, Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice ( or Professor Jane Hall at CHERE ( with any questions about eligibility, the fellowship,  or the application process.

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