NPC-Schaeffer Fellowship

National Pharmaceutical Council and USC Schaeffer Center Fellowship in Health Care Policy


Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the U.S. healthcare system has gone through rapid change. From the proliferation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to the increased reliance on performance measures to assess provider and delivery system quality, healthcare decision-makers are increasingly focused on providing value to patients and the American public. This paradigm shift in the U.S. healthcare system raises many questions as stakeholders address new and old challenges facing our healthcare system. Among these are how to ensure high-quality real-world evidence is used to inform decision-making, allow patients meaningful access to healthcare, quantify and facilitate the use of high-value healthcare services, while supporting an environment that fosters innovation and improves patient lives. It will be important for policy professionals to have the skills to identify, critically assess and provide solutions for the challenges facing our evolving healthcare system.

Although many programs train researchers, the interface between research and policy analysts offers a unique opportunity for the successful fellowship candidate. This fellowship will enable the candidate to explore the policy implications of comparative effectiveness or health services research as well as how to design studies to help inform policy options. It is anticipated that upon completion of the program, the fellow would have the capability to identify important health policy issues and conduct the work to address them. It is our expectation that this fellowship will produce individuals who can continue to advance the field in an academic role or provide leadership to payer organizations, industry, or the government.

The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) is a health policy research organization, dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science and to fostering an environment in the U.S. that supports medical innovation. It is funded by the pharmaceutical industry but does not engage in lobbying or other advocacy type activities. NPC typically has more than 25 to 30 active projects underway at any time, publishes a daily comparative effectiveness research newsfeed, conducts educational conferences, authors numerous peer-reviewed articles each year and participates in nationally recognized conferences. The fellow will have the opportunity to engage with colleagues on a regular basis from a variety of backgrounds including economics, medicine, health and public policy, and business. NPC staff members have prior experience within government, manufacturers, payers, consulting groups and academic institutions and are able to share their previous experience to help shape the fellow’s future career. NPC has the research capabilities and domain knowledge to support this program.

The Schaeffer Center is a unique collaboration between USC’s Price School of Public Policy and the USC School of Pharmacy. It has grown rapidly from its inception with a vast number faculty members across academic disciplines of economics, psychology, policy and health.  The Schaeffer Center has a strong track record in National Institutes of Health — in particular the National Institute of Aging — and extramural funding, having received more than $65 million in grants since its inception. In addition, visiting fellows from across the United States and around the world come to the Center to participate in our research and training activities.

The combined expertise of NPC and USC provides postdoctoral fellows a unique research and policy experience in the Washington, D.C., environment. The fellow will have exposure to academic mentors as well as those conducting policy research in nonacademic environments.

Fellowship Description

Duration: 2 years
Overview: The program entails

  • Conducting at least one core policy related research project that may be in conjunction with new or ongoing NPC research with an expectation that it would lead to first-authored peer-reviewed publication(s)
  • Opportunities to collaborate with other policy research groups in Washington, D.C.
  • Engagement with relevant government agencies, academic institutions and industry representatives on health policy related to pharmaceuticals as well as additional topics
  • Potential guest lecture opportunities on health policy related to pharmaceuticals at USC
  • Mentoring by members of NPC’s research group and USC Schaeffer Center faculty
  • Coordinating a quarterly journal club discussion with healthcare policy and research leaders
  • Attending relevant national conferences

Candidate characteristics: PhD, MD or PharmD-level individual with research skills and a desire to understand and study the health policy implications as they pertain to pharmaceuticals in the new healthcare environment. This is an early career fellowship, thus preferences will be for candidates who have completed their doctoral degree after January 1, 2010. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Location: The fellow will be based in Washington, D.C., and will have an office at NPC and temporary office space while visiting USC.
Compensation: Includes a competitive base salary and benefits package, a computer and travel to relevant national conferences.
Organizational Structure: The fellow would be an employee of NPC and would have a Schaeffer Center faculty mentor at USC.
Application Instructions: Applicants must submit a cover letter or statement, resume and a research paper or writing sample. Applications should be sent (electronically preferred) to, or NPC/USC Fellowship Search Committee, National Pharmaceutical Council, 1717 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20006.