The H. Jack Geiger Congressional Health Policy Fellows program provided the Congressional Tri-Caucus groups, health committees and offices on health disparities and health policy an important opportunity to have on staff highly trained minority health policy advisors who can actively participate in national public policy decisions that can improve the health of minority populations.
This high level of leadership requires a sophisticated knowledge of public policy development in government, of cutting-edge scholarship around health disparities, as well as an in-depth understanding of clinical medicine, community health programs and public health.
The purpose of the Geiger Fellows Program was to bring widespread attention to healthcare access and health disparities issues of minorities and underserved populations in the U.S. The program is designed to expand the nation’s capacity for research, leadership and policy development to more effectively address the broad range of factors affecting minority health.
The program mission was based on the principle that progress in the field of health policy depends on having an in-depth understanding of biobehavioral and social sciences health research, public health and behavioral interventions, health and social policy, and budget and legislative public policy development.
The Geiger Fellows concentrated on one of the following areas:
- Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative
Tracking and monitoring at the community level (e.g., do community based organizations have adequate capacity, where are the gaps, outcome/impact measures). The Fellow will also monitor what the planning councils (and their composition) are doing to address the HIV/AIDS issues of African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans in their community.
- Health Professions Training
Examine the opportunities and experiences of under represented minorities with regard to research, clinical investigations, minority recruitment and retention of minority physicians in managed care, and federally funded programs such as the National Health Service Corps, etc.
- Health Disparity Federal Initiatives
Examine Healthy People 2010 initiatives as they relate to minority populations. Fellows will work on the alignment of national health objectives with Federal programs as they relate to minority communities. Fellows will determine how these initiatives and programs are being translated and received at the community level.
- Healthcare coverage
Examine the health insurance status and coverage of minority groups in the U.S. Examine what states are currently doing in Medicaid, federal waiver programs and demonstration projects across the U.S. Determine what programs work best in covering the needs of minority populations including dental, vision, mental health and other preventive services.
- Community Health Centers
Examine the focus of the community health centers expansion and activities to be funded. Consider whether there is enough emphasis on community health workers, career ladders and social/environmental determinants, as well as community participation and involvement in oversight.
H. Jack Geiger Congressional Health Policy Fellowships were made possible through funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Aetna Foundation and the Annie C. Casey Foundation.