Dr. Kristen Dillon of Hood River has been named to a one-year fellowship and will serve in Washington, D.C., starting in September.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) named Dillon and five other professionals to the 2019-2020 class of RWJF Health Policy Fellows.

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Kristen Dillon

The specifics of her assignment had been embargoed to the media before this week. The news of her taking a position out of state emerged in June when her husband, Paul Blackburn, announced he would resign his position as Hood River mayor in order to move with Dillon. 

Dillon will be working on health-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress and the executive branch.

Dillon is the Director of the Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization for PacificSource. She is a family physician who has been in practice in Hood River for 20 years, providing primary care services at Columbia Gorge Family Medicine and the Hood River Care Center.

The fellows were chosen in a national competition for highly accomplished health and behavioral/social science professionals who have an interest in health policy, stated an NAM/RWJF press release.

Their experiences in Washington will enrich their understanding of federal policy formation and how federal and state governments relate to the mission of their home institutions and local communities.  The fellowship program will commence with an intensive three-month orientation, followed by a nine-month assignment in a congressional office or the executive branch, where the fellows will be involved in health-related legislation and policy development. 

After their Washington assignment, the fellows will continue to receive support to sustain their development as health policy leaders.

“This is a very important time in federal health policy, and the decisions made over the next year will impact the health of people in this country for years to come,” said Gregg Margolis, director of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows Program at NAM. 

“We are proud to bring these six exceptional and accomplished professionals to Washington, D.C., to participate in the policy process. Their deep, practical experience in healthcare, public health, and research brings ‘real life’ perspectives to improve the health of the nation.”

The 2019-2020 fellows include:

Sharron Crowder, Ph.D., R.N., ATSF, clinical associate professor, School of Nursing, Indiana University, Indianapolis

Charles Mathias, Ph.D., associate professor, department of psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

Michelle Morse, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; founding co-director, EqualHealth; and co-founder, Social Medicine Consortium

Joseph Sakran, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., FACS, director of emergency general surgery and assistant professor of surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

Liliane Windsor, Ph.D., M.S.W., associate professor, School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana

The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program is the nation’s most prestigious learning experience at the nexus of health, science, and policy in Washington, D.C. Since 1973, this non-partisan fellowship has offered exclusive, hands-on policy experience with the most influential congressional and executive offices in the nation’s capital. Over 270 fellows from across the nation have worked hand-in-hand with the best and brightest in federal health policy to gain an insider’s perspective of the political process, develop unmatched leadership skills, and build a professional network that lasts a lifetime. 

As chancellors and deans at major academic institutions, presidents of professional societies and voluntary health organizations, leaders in local, state and federal government, and experts at think tanks and advocacy groups, fellows transform the nation’s health care policy and practice.

For more information, visit www.healthpolicyfellows.org.

For more than 45 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. RWJF is working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org

Follow the foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community.

Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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