Fellows Advocacy Curriculum

The Fellows Advocacy Curriculum (FAC) is an elective track for subspecialty Medicine fellows who have an interest in health policy and/or advocacy. It does not alter the length or content of fellowship training. Through collaboration with the Duke Government Relations Office, fellows develop and present their own advocacy platform to legislators and legislative aides in Washington, D.C. 

Apply by Monday July 8, 11:59pm.


Fellows attend 6 half-day sessions throughout the course of the year and a two-day trip to Washington, D.C. in the spring. Sessions are held on Thursdays from 1:00-5:00pm and involve some didactic time and some group work time. All sessions are in-person.


The intention of the didactic curriculum is to provide fellows with a broad overview of the health policy landscape in the United States. Each session follows a specific theme that includes an introduction to the structure of government and healthcare payment models in the United States, the impact of government policies on the physician workforce, the patients they treat, and the various ways that physicians can “do” advocacy. Sessions are in-person and interactive. Almost all talks are given by guest speakers from across Duke campus and across the country. The curriculum is purposely flexible to allow for changes in topics and speakers based on the fellows’ specific interests.

Fellows are responsible for completing several self-directed tasks and are encouraged to meet regularly with their faculty mentor and reach out to their professional society/societies to learn about the policy issues that are most relevant to their subspecialty and the patients they serve. With guidance from their faculty mentor, the FAC directors, and their peers, they develop an advocacy platform of their choosing. These tasks will involve 2-4 hours of work between each session.

The curriculum will culminate in a 2-day trip to Washington, D.C. in the spring. While there, fellows will meet with legislative staffers in Washington, D.C. and present their advocacy platform. The FAC director and the Duke Office of Government Relations will also work to arrange meetings with members of the Administration (e.g., Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services) and professional societies (e.g., AAMC, AMA) while in DC.  

Session 1              Monday, August 19

Session 2              Monday, October 21

Session 3              Monday, November 18

Session 4              Monday, January 13

Session 5              Monday, February 10

Session 6              Monday, March 17

DC trip                  Third week of April (flexible, depending on participants’ schedules)

2024-2025 Curriculum

The exact order and topics for 2024-2025 will depend on topics of interest to fellows and speaker availability.

Session  # Block (1-5pm)


Speakers Self-Directed Work 
Session 1 Introductions

Intro to FAC + begin brainstorming possible topics

Intro to Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy + discuss possible topics

Intro to Duke Government Relations + discuss possible topics

Takeaways from sessions, next steps, and select topics for additional talks in Feb & March

Speakers are a mix of Duke, non-Duke invited speakers and representatives from Duke’s Government Relation’s Office Brainstorm possible topics; connect with advocacy arm of your professional society
Session 2 Federal Government Structure

Medicare / Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services / US healthcare primer

Legislative and Executive Branch advocacy

Small group discussions / work on topics / brainstorm cross-specialty topics

Peter Ubel (Duke Fuqua School of Business)

Outside speaker (Emory)

Group work

Finalize your topic; pick 2-3 bills to advocate for/against; get advice from faculty mentor, professional society and/or Duke government relations (should have something to send them before the session)
Session 3 Many ways to “do” advocacy How to weave advocacy into your career Panel of Duke faculty from across departments engaged in advocacy Background research, gather relevant patient stories
Session 4 Preparing for the advocacy trip

Framing your pitch for audiences with different political perspectives + making a good handout

Workshop on how to talk to a staffer and make your case

Small group discussions re: topics

Caroline Sloan

Duke’s Government Relations Office

Group work

Prepare your handout
Session 5 Special guests

“How congress really works”

What it’s like to work in politics

Asher Hildebrand (Duke Sanford School of Public Policy)

NC State Representative

Work on pitch
Session 6 Group prep


Take turns practicing pitches and give / receive feedback on pitches and handouts

Additional research as needed

Group work


Faculty Mentors

Each fellow will be assigned a faculty mentor. Mentors will be selected based on their interest and their experience in health policy and advocacy. Their responsibilities are to meet with their mentee monthly for 30-60 minutes to ensure that they are working on their advocacy platform, help make connections to relevant faculty or professional societies, etc. Faculty mentors can attend any half-day sessions if they are free from clinical responsibilities at the time. Faculty mentors are not expected to attend the trip to Washington, D.C., but 2 or 3 may be able to join depending on their interest/availability and budget constraints.


Applicants need to submit a short application in the early spring. They must have the support of their fellowship director in order to participate. Fellowship directors should ensure that fellows are free from all outpatient and inpatient clinical responsibilities during the entirety of each half-day session and the 2-day trip to Washington, D.C. Fellows do not need to have any health policy or advocacy experience to apply. Fellows who are in multi-year fellowship programs will be given preference during year(s) with fewer clinical responsibilities.

Program Expectations

  • Fellows must be free from all outpatient and inpatient clinical responsibilities during the entirety of each half-day session and the 2-day trip to Washington, DC.
  • Fellows are expected to attend seminars in person as long as public health and Duke guidelines permit. Fellows will have the ability to join sessions virtually if they are sick, out of town for a meeting, or have other extenuating circumstances.
  • Fellows must attend a minimum of 4 out of 6 full half-day sessions to be eligible to participate in the trip to Washington, D.C.