The American Society of Human Genetics; Bethesda, MD 20814-3998
301/571-1825, Fax: /530-7079, firstname.lastname@example.org
Few individuals in the genetics community are conversant with federal mechanisms for developing and implementing policy on human genetics research. In 1995 the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), in conjunction with DOE, initiated an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Fellowship Program to strengthen the dialogue between the professional genetics community and federal policymakers. The fellowship will allow genetics professionals to spend a year as special legislative assistants on the staff of members of Congress or on congressional committees. Directed toward productive scientists, the program is intended to attract independent investigators.
In addition to educating the scientific community about the public policy process, the fellowship is expected to demonstrate the value of science-government interactions and make practical contributions to the effective use of scientific and technical knowledge in government. The program includes an orientation to legislative and executive operations and a year-long weekly seminar on issues involving science and public policy.
Unlike similar government programs, this fellowship is aimed primarily at scientists outside government. It emphasizes policy-oriented public service rather than observational learning and designates its fellows as free agents rather than representatives of their sponsoring societies.
One of the goals of DOE and ASHG is to develop a group of nongovernmental professionals who will be equipped to deal with issues concerning human genetics policy development and implementation, particularly in the current environment of health-care reform and managed care. Graduates of this program will serve as a resource for consultation in the development of public- health policy concerning genetic disease.
Fellowship candidates must demonstrate exceptional basic understanding of and competence in human genetics; hold an earned degree in genetics, biology, life sciences, or a similar field; have a well- grounded and appropriately documented scientific and technical background; have a broad professional background in the practice of human genetics as demonstrated by national or international reputation; be cognizant of related nonscientific matters that impact on human genetics; exhibit sensitivity toward political and social issues; have a strong interest and some experience in applying personal knowledge toward the solution of social problems; be a member of ASHG; be articulate, literate, adaptable, and interested in working on long-range public policy problems; be able to work with a variety of people of diverse professional backgrounds; and function well during periods of intense pressure.
The first fellow is working in the office of Senator Wellstone, Democrat from Minnesota, and devoting most of his time to studying and commenting on health-care and science issues.
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