An In-Depth Look at the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity Program

Health equity is a pressing global issue that requires innovative solutions and coordination between diverse perspectives. The Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity program aims to advance health equity worldwide by developing leaders who can drive positive change. This comprehensive program overview will explore the goals, impact, curriculum, and application process of the Atlantic Fellows program in order to inform and educate readers.

What is Health Equity?

Before delving into the specifics of the Atlantic Fellows program, it’s important to first define the concept of health equity that is at the core of their mission. Health equity connotes the principle that all people deserve a fair opportunity to attain their highest possible health regardless of who they are or where they live. However, not everyone is afforded this fair opportunity in reality due to factors like socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, gender, geography, or other social determinants of health.

Levels of Health Inequity

Health inequities exist at multiple levels including:

Individual Level

  • Genetic predispositions and personal health behaviors
  • Access to healthcare services
  • Literacy levels that impact understanding of health issues

Community Level

  • Environmental exposures like pollution or living conditions
  • Access to healthy foods, safe parks and walkable neighborhoods
  • Crime, violence and stress levels in the community

Societal Level

  • Structural factors like racism, classism and other forms of oppression
  • Public policies around social services, education and the economy
  • Distribution of resources and power across groups

All of these factors interact in complex ways to systematically disadvantage some groups and advantage others in terms of health outcomes. For example, communities of color in the U.S. face a disproportionate burden from diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease due to social and environmental inequities over generations. Achieving health equity therefore requires addressing the root causes of inequities at multiple levels through collaborative, multidisciplinary solutions.

The Need for Health Equity Leaders

It is clear that solving entrenched health disparities will involve tackling their social, political, and economic drivers – not just treating diseases. This requires developing a new generation of leaders who understand these broader issues and can operate at the intersection of medicine, public policy, business, community organizing, and more. Unfortunately, the fields that influence health, like government, business, and academia have historically lacked diversity.

Lack of Representation

Minority groups and those from low-income backgrounds remain underrepresented in leadership positions. For example, only about 6% of U.S. physicians are Black or Hispanic despite comprising around 30% of the population. This lack of representation means the perspectives of marginalized communities are often missing from decision-making tables where policies and interventions are designed.

Multidimensional Solutions

Effecting real change will necessitate looking beyond any single disciplinary lens to pursue multidimensional, collaborative solutions. Leaders who can bridge diverse sectors, think systemically about complex problems, build consensus among stakeholders, and enact an equity agenda. They must understand both the medical aspects of disparities as well as their underlying socioeconomic drivers in order to target interventions at their root causes.

Developing this new generation of health equity leaders is precisely what the Atlantic Fellows program aims to accomplish. By selecting a diverse class of early and mid-career professionals each year, they cultivate the multidisciplinary perspective and skills necessary to tackle health inequities through an equity-focused leadership model.

The Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity Program

So in summary, the overarching goal of the Atlantic Fellows program is to:

Advance health equity worldwide by developing collaborative leaders who can drive positive change through an equity-focused leadership model.

To achieve this, the program selects a new class of 10-12 Atlantic Fellows each year who then participate in a rigorous 11-month fellowship. Here are some key details about the fellowship:

Program Length

  • 11 months, usually running from September through July
  • Based full-time in London at The Atlantic Institute

Selection Criteria

  • Open to professionals of all nationalities in medicine, public health, law, business, policy etc.
  • 2-7 years of experience, early to mid-career stage
  • Commitment to health equity and an interest in leadership development
  • Demonstrated initiative, achievement and potential for impact

Fellowship Structure

  • Multi-disciplinary curriculum blending academic, professional and personal development
  • Mentorship from leaders across sectors like politicians, CEOs, public figures
  • Collaborative research project addressing a real-world health equity challenge
  • International travel and field visits to global health organizations

Key Objectives

  • Develop advanced analytical and strategic leadership skills
  • Gain expertise in cross-sector collaboration and stakeholder engagement
  • Deepen their understanding of socioeconomic determinants of health and health systems strengthening
  • Build a network of lifelong peers and mentors working on health equity globally

Upon completion, Fellows receive a Certificate in Leadership for Health Equity from the University College London. Many continue their careers in impactful positions where they can apply the skills gained to advance equitable solutions and reshape institutions from within.

The Curriculum

A major strength of the Atlantic Fellows program is its carefully designed, multi-dimensional curriculum. Over the 11 months, Fellows engage in a combination of:

Coursework and Training

  • Academic modules on topics like health policy, global health systems, economics of inequality and more
  • Workshops enhancing skills in advocacy, communication, project management etc.

Collaborative Research

  • Conduct substantive research with peers on an issue related to their common theme
  • Produce a professional quality report with proposed recommendations

Mentorship Sessions

  • Bi-weekly sessions with mentors providing advice, connections, and insights

Field Placements

  • Short internships at innovative global health organizations in London and abroad

Conferences and Debates

  • Participate in major policy forums, exchange ideas with thought leaders

Professional Development

  • Individual coaching, networking events, leadership assessments and planning

Cultural Immersion

  • Activities enhancing cultural competency through experiential learning

Rather than rigid classroom lectures, lessons incorporate interactive discussions, role plays, site visits and guest speakers to foster an applied, participatory learning environment. An overarching theme also ties together each Fellow’s research interests. Overall, the curriculum holistically strengthens the hard and soft capabilities needed for health equity leadership.

Impact and Accomplishments

Since the program’s founding in 2008, Atlantic Fellows have gone on to make meaningful impacts in their respective fields:

  • Establishing new non-profits, policy centers, and social enterprises focused on equity
  • Securing leadership roles within influential institutions like the WHO and World Bank
  • Advising governments on national health strategies in countries like Rwanda and Indonesia
  • Publishing influential papers and books on topics like racism in medicine
  • Obtaining advanced degrees at top schools like Yale, Oxford and Johns Hopkins
  • Receiving awards and honors for their ongoing health equity efforts

In Rwanda, Atlantic Fellows helped pass tobacco control laws and strengthen the community health system. In the UK, they influenced kidney care guidelines and maternal mental healthcare. Collectively, Fellows have expanded equitable access to services for millions worldwide.

A recent external review found the program is achieving its goals of developing multidisciplinary leaders and driving positive change through collaboration. Alumni consistently cite the Fellowship’s unique approach to equipping them with the adaptive skills and vision to reshape systems. Many also credit it for expanding their professional networks across borders and sectors.

The Application Process

With only 10-12 spots available each year, competition for the Atlantic Fellows program is understandably intense. Here are the key steps and deadlines involved in applying:

  • January: Application period opens along with detailed submission guidelines
  • March: Completed online applications due, including CV, statements, and 3 references
  • April: Select applicants invited for panel interviews conducted remotely
  • May: Final fellowship recipients notified of acceptance decision
  • September: 11-month fellowship term commences in London

A complete application demonstrates a strong commitment to health equity, leadership potential and fit with the program goals. Review committees look for:

  • Accomplishments and initiative within their career/field
  • Clear articulation of how the Fellowship will accelerate their impact
  • Understanding of socioeconomic determinants beyond clinical aspects
  • Passion, motivation, and maturity to engage peers from diverse backgrounds

Successful candidates often have a combination of clinical grounding plus exposure in sectors like research, policy or business. International experience is valued but not required. It’s recommended to draft application materials well in advance with input from mentors.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will address some commonly asked questions about the Atlantic Fellows program:

1. Who funds the program, and how much does it cost?

The Atlantic Fellows program is funded through a mix of philanthropic donations as well as in-kind support from various partners. There is no cost to the selected Fellows to participate – the full fellowship is covered, including housing, meals, course materials, and travel stipends.

2. What are the career outcomes and prospects after completing the Fellowship?

Notable career trajectories of Atlantic Fellows alumni include leadership roles within influential global institutions, starting their own health equity ventures, advisory roles in government, and advising philanthropists. Many also go on to obtain advanced degrees like MBAs, MPHs, and PhDs to fortify their leadership skills. The Fellowship greatly expands professional networks, which often lead to new opportunities. Graduates regularly cite how the program equipped them to make more significant, strategic impacts.

3. Is the Fellowship only for those in the medical field?

No, the Atlantic Fellows openly welcome applicants from a wide range of fields that influence health, like public health, law, business, social sciences, technology, and more. They seek a multidisciplinary mix of professions each year. What matters most is a demonstrable commitment to advancing health equity.

4. What is the time commitment like during the Fellowship?

The 11-month program is considered a full-time commitment. Fellows reside in London, where all activities are based. There is an expectation of dedicating 40+ hours per week to the blended curriculum of coursework, research, mentorship sessions, and externships. Some evenings and weekends may involve program events or travel. Fellows receive a monthly living stipend to support their studies.

5. Is it possible to complete the program part-time or remotely?

No, the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity is strictly a full-time, in-person program based in London. The intensive, immersive nature of interacting with peers daily from diverse backgrounds is core to the fellowship experience and outcomes. It would not be feasible to achieve the same impact part-time or remotely.

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