Nick Littlefield

Nick Littlefield Fellowship

Program Note: The Nick Littlefield Health Policy Fellowship Program is ending as of August 31 and, at this time, no new fellowships will be approved

The Nick Littlefield Health Policy Fellowship is a unique fellowship focused on developing innovative leaders in health policy. Health care is in the midst of tremendous change – demanding action on great challenges while presenting opportunities for historic progress. The key to success is innovation leadership: finding creative solutions and harnessing their power for greatest benefit. Nick Littlefield Fellows will gain experience in such leadership by helping to advance the NEHI innovation agenda focused on four critical health system objectives:

Health care reform

Create clarity about which innovative payment structures, programs and incentives are working (and which are not) in achieving the goals of better outcomes, reduced cost and improved quality of care for patients.

Population health improvement

Seed and speed the adoption of effective innovations to better serve populations and patients with complex health issues.

Research translation

Achieve reforms that reduce the time, cost and uncertainty of translating research discoveries into products and services that benefit patients.

Funding breakthrough products

Develop and implement innovative structures to finance and deliver breakthrough therapies for large populations.

The Fellowship Program

Nick Littlefield Fellows have a structured, pre-determined curriculum to gain experience in health policy research, collaboration, and implementation. This is a yearlong fellowship beginning in September of each year.

The 12-month program includes the following:

A core experience at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a Fellow in the Health Policy program to gain essential methodological skills (three to six months)

Fellows participate in classes at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to gain a solid base of both quantitative and qualitative research skills. Course selection is tailored to the interests of the Fellow with a focus on broadening the Fellow’s existing knowledge base.

An applied research experience focused on health improvement issues that are at the center of the NEHI agenda (three to six months)

Fellows work directly with NEHI’s research team to gain extensive knowledge of the policy issues NEHI champions. Work includes: direct policy research; meeting with NEHI members and other key health care stakeholders; and collaborating with NEHI team members to execute on NEHI events, reports, and publications.

Working for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions in Washington, DC (or other legislative committee as appropriate) (three months)

Fellows will work directly with legislators and staff to advance health policy legislation in our nation’s capital.

A research elective of the Fellow’s choice (three months)

The fellowship will conclude with a final research project that draws from the knowledge gained over the previous nine months. Projects are developed by the Fellow and will advance the policy issues on NEHI’s agenda.

Graduates of the Fellowship will have the capacity to translate innovation into action. They will gain an understanding of current and emerging innovations with great potential for improving health and health care. They will know how to identify and assess new innovations through research. They will be able to view innovations through the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, dramatically increasing their chances of successful implementation. And they will have built networks with other innovation leaders across the nation, enhancing their ability to learn and advocate for needed change.

Nick Littlefield


Nick Littlefield Fellows are mid-career professionals who have developed expertise in a specific area of health care—either through direct clinical practice, academic research, health policy, or work in the life sciences industry—and who wish to bring the full force of their professional experience to bear on state and federal health policy.  Candidates must have a desire to create substantive and lasting change in health policy through evidence based research and a passion for NEHI’s core mission.  We select candidates whose record demonstrates professional momentum and outstanding leadership in their chosen health care field.

Emphasis will be placed on selecting candidates who are in a position of rising responsibility in the service delivery, policy, or industry sectors.

Candidates must have

Recent doctoral or masters graduates whose research focused on health policy are also welcome to apply.

Honoring Nick Littlefield: Inspiration for the Fellowship

Nick Littlefield’s career is defined by astonishing passion, resilience, and leadership.

Ted and Nick

As staff director and chief counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Nick shepherded a long list of enduring health policy reforms, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, and two bi-partisan initiatives – HIPAA and Children’s Health Insurance.

In private practice, he advanced initiatives for a broad range of health and life science companies, many of which had impact on millions of Americans, such as the Medicare Prescription Drug Act.


Nick was also a founder of NEHI (the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation) and imbued the organization with his approach to making things happen. That is: understand a problem from all perspectives; find research-based answers; and translate solutions into policy.

At this critical time in health care, we will need to develop a new generation of leaders in the Nick Littlefield mold. This fellowship honors Nick Littlefield’s distinguished career in public health and health policy and bolsters our entire health service delivery and life sciences sectors by preparing a new generation of skilled advocates for health innovation.

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