AcademyHealth Honors for LDI Fellows Jeffrey Hom, Navin Vij

AcademyHealth Honors for LDI Fellows Jeffrey Hom, Navin Vij

Presidential Scholarship for Institute of Advocacy and Public Policy

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Photo: Hoag Levins
LDI Fellow and Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Jeffrey Hom, MD, MPH, at the AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference in the Renaissance Downtown hotel in Washington, D.C.

University of Pennsylvania Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars and LDI Fellows Navin Vij and Jeffrey Hom are recipients of the AcademyHealth 2016 Presidential Scholarship for the AcademyHealth Institute of Advocacy and Public Policy.

Launched in 2012, the unique scholarship program is designed to more deeply engage research and health policy students in the annual AcademyHealth Health Policy Conference (NHPC) in Washington, D.C. as well as in advocacy action in support of the organization's goals. 

The annual NHPC scholarships underwrite the cost of travel and fees to attend this year's Feb 1 and 2 conference at Washington's Renaissance Downtown Hotel. Overall, there are  five 2016 recipients.

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LDI Fellow and RWJF Clinical Scholar Navin Vij, MD, tore his ACL in a basketball game the day before the conference and wasn't able to take advantage of his AcademyHealth scholarship.

Hom is a native of San Francisco and received his MPH at Harvard School of Public Health and his MD from Harvard Medical School before coming to Penn to be part of the RWJF Clinical Scholars program. Vij, who is from Bloomington, Minn., received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine before coming to Penn.

On Saturday, Vij tore his ACL while playing basketball and was unable to travel to Washington to take part in the scholarship activities.

Advocacy 'boot camp'
Hom made the trip and, along with three other recipients, attended a pre-conference AcademyHealth advocacy "boot camp" on Sunday. The day-long session was focused on effective methods for contacting, communicating and maintaining links with policy makers in Congress and Federal agencies. 

"I already had a sense of the importance of advocacy but this AcademyHealth experience has brought it into much sharper focus and taught me some useful practical skills," said Hom. "It also helped me understand how crucial it can be to advocate for your own research by alerting high-level policymakers about new findings relevant to their work and constituencies."

'Increasingly serious threats'
In her remarks at Monday's opening plenary session, AcademyHealth President Lisa Simpson emphasized the need for advocacy saying, "We have to respond to increasingly serious threats to funding for health services research as well as rhetoric that devalues certain kinds of health services research, such as health economics, social science research or even patient-centric outcomes research."

During the conference, the scholars are being hosted and mentored by AcademyHealth's advocacy committee. On Wednesday, the four will participate in "Hill Day" as part of an AcademyHealth team  that meets with Capitol Hill policymakers to discuss the importance of continued federal funding support for health services research.

Largest health services reseach organization
AcademyHealth, the country's largest organization of health policy researchers, works to maintain a robust environment for the production of health services research and to enhance the dissemination and use of that research at a time of great change across the U.S. health care system. 

The annual two-day NHPC brings together the country's top academic researchers, policy professionals, government health officials and industry leaders to share the latest insights about the medical, economic, and social issues that influence how health care is organized, financed, managed, and delivered.