Special Communication  |   March 2017
A Qualitative, Interview-Based Study of the Health Policy Fellowship’s Osteopathic Identity
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Social Medicine at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dublin (Dr Skinner) and Athens (Dr Franz). 
  • Disclosures: Dr Skinner periodically lectures as part of the Health Policy Fellowship sessions. However, he does not receive any compensation for these presentations beyond travel costs. Dr Franz has no financial disclosure or conflict of interest to report. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Daniel Skinner, PhD, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Department of Social Medicine, 6775 Bobcat Way, Dublin, OH 43016-1406. E-mail: skinnerd@ohio.edu
     
Article Information
Professional Issues
Special Communication   |   March 2017
A Qualitative, Interview-Based Study of the Health Policy Fellowship’s Osteopathic Identity
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2017, Vol. 117, 184-190. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2017.032
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2017, Vol. 117, 184-190. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2017.032
Abstract

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.

Objective: 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.

Conclusion: 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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