As we say farewell to 2012, we celebrate so many wonderful events of significance to our fellowship. I had the distinct honor of representing us at the 40th Anniversary of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It was an emotional event that included the opportunity to spend time with several of our alums, board members, program officers and friends. In these days of constant and rapid change, it is heartening to confirm the continued strength of the Foundation and its commitment to programs like ours. As this year draws to a close, we are saying goodbye to the class of 2011-2012 who made us proud. The fellows served in the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Administration, working for Republicans and Democrats, and, most importantly, succeeded in collaborating across the aisle to pass needed legislation. In these days when the partisan divide seems irreconcilable, it is good to know that our fellows continue to experience the satisfaction of a bipartisan legislative process. In September, we welcomed our 38th class of fellows and, once again, the placements for the 2012-2013 fellows are looking as promising as the outgoing class (more updates will come later when all assignments are finalized).
Another memorable event, this time credited to the 2009-2010 Class, was the 2012 Alumni Retreat held in October. You may recall that the class that is two years out is responsible for planning the educational sessions. They assembled an amazing program with a keynote delivered by Senator Tom Daschle. The retreat also included the granting of the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award to alumnus Karen Hein (1993-1994). It was delightful to see that several classes took this opportunity to hold their own mini-reunions in conjunction with the Alumni Retreat and the Annual Meeting of the IOM. I must also report that the Class of 2012-2013 delivered a hilarious skit that was appreciated by all.
We welcome 2013 with much anticipation. The Foundation has graciously provided support for an important Board Retreat in the spring that will allow us to reexamine all aspects of the fellowship so that we continue to be referred to as the best and most prestigious health policy fellowship in the Nation. After a decade of having the privilege of serving as the Director, I think it is wise to challenge all our assumptions and processes to keep us on our toes and adaptable to the dynamic world we live in. If any of you have any ideas or recommendations for the Board to consider, I urge you to bring them to my attention or to the attention of our Board Chair, Gail Warden. You may send them to his attention at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a separate note, we have had the great honor of launching two new fellowship programs at the Institute of Medicine in addition to my stewardship of our beloved RWJF Health Policy Fellows. About 6 years ago, the IOM, in honor of its 35th Anniversary, introduced the IOM Anniversary Fellowships for young health scientists to work on IOM Boards and Committees. We now have 5 endowed fellowships with more on the horizon. And this year, we initiated an IOM/FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellowship with 3 fellows placed at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, with plans to recruit 6 fellows in 2013. It is so exciting and fulfilling to see all these programs interact and flourish.
To all of you, I wish you a Happy and Healthy 2013 and hope our paths cross in the days ahead.