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 Duke Government Relations, fellows will develop and present their own advocacy platform to legislators and legislative aides in Washington, D.C.


Fellows will attend 6 half-day sessions throughout the course of the year and a two-day trip to Washington, DC in the spring. Sessions will be in the 3rd week of most months, alternating Thursday PM and Friday PM. Each session will involve some didactic time and some group work time. All sessions will be held 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 will follow a specific theme. Themes include an introduction to the structure of government and healthcare payment models in the United States, the impact of government policies on the physician workforce and the patients they treat, and the various ways that physicians can “do” advocacy. The curriculum is purposely flexible, to allow for changes in topics and speakers based on the fellows’ specific interests.

Throughout the year, fellows will be responsible for completing several self-directed tasks. We will encourage them to meet regularly with their faculty mentor and to 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 will develop an advocacy platform of their choosing. This work will involve 2-4 hours of work between each session.

The curriculum will culminate in a 2-day trip to Washington, DC in the spring. While there, fellows will meet with legislative staffers in Washington, DC and present their advocacy platform.

Session 1              Thursday, August 17

Session 2              Friday, October 20

Session 3              Thursday, November 16

Session 4              Friday, January 18

Session 5              Thursday, February 15

Session 6              Friday, March 15

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

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, DC, but 2 or 3 may be able to join depending on their interest / availability and budget constraints.


Applicants will 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, DC. Fellows do not need to have any health policy or advocacy experience to apply. Fellows 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 will be 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, DC.