Postfellowship Pathways

Choosing a career in health equity and health care policy


Dr. Anyane-Yeboa is a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University and a recent graduate of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She previously completed her gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Chicago. She will be an academic gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital starting in the fall of 2020.

How did your career pathway lead you to a career in health equity and policy?

I have been passionate about issues related to health equity, workforce diversity, and care of vulnerable populations since the early years of my career. For instance, as undergraduates my friends and I received a grant to start a program to provide mentorship for endangered youth in Boston. During my residency and chief residency, I advocated for increased resident diversity and created programs for underrepresented minority medical students to increase minority representation in medicine. During my gastroenterology fellowship, I remained passionate about the care of minority and underserved populations. During my second year of fellowship, I looked for advanced training opportunities where I could learn the skills to tackle health disparities in minority communities, and almost serendipitously came across the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy. When I decided to apply for the fellowship, I knew that this would be a nontraditional path for most gastroenterology fellows, but the right path for me.

About the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship

Dr. Adjoa Anyane-Yeboa

The purpose of the Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University is to train the next generation of leaders in health care. The program is based at Harvard Medical School and supported by the Commonwealth Fund whose mission is to “provide affordable quality health care for all.” The aim of the fellowship program is to prepare physicians underrepresented in medicine for leadership in health policy, health care delivery reform, health equity, and issues surrounding the care of vulnerable populations. To date, the fellowship has trained more than 130 physicians who are advancing health care across the nation as leaders in public health, academic medicine, and health policy.

The fellowship is a year-long, full-time, degree-granting program. Fellows are eligible for a master’s in public health with a concentration in health management or health policy from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health or a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

The fellowship program and experiences have been transformative for me. The structure of the program consists of visits to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Commonwealth Fund, as well as lectures, seminars, and journal club sessions with national leaders in public health, health policy, and health care delivery reform. Additional opportunities include one-on-one shadowing experiences with leaders in hospital administration at academic institutions in Boston and private meetings with leaders and staff at several government agencies in Washington, including the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services, the Office of Minority Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Resources & Services Administration, and the National Institutes of Health.

The program has given me an opportunity to meet and learn from physicians who have chosen a variety of different career paths. Through the program I have had exposure to physicians in academic medicine, health care administration, health policy, and public service as well as those who have chosen a combination of clinical practice with any of the above. This experience has opened my eyes to the different possibilities for physician careers and has encouraged me to be open if new opportunities should arise.

As part of the fellowship, we also have regular meetings with Joan Reede, MD, MPH, who is the director of the fellowship and has been with the program since its inception; she is also the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Reede is an incredibly wise, insightful, and caring mentor, but also a powerhouse in issues surrounding workforce diversity, mentorship, policy, care of underserved communities, and being an advocate for change. To have access to such a powerful individual who has dedicated her career to the mentorship of individuals like myself, who cares deeply about the impact of our careers, and who genuinely values each fellow almost as her own child is a unique gift that is hard to describe in words.

The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship also provides a large network of mentors and advisers. My direct mentor for the program is Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, who is a former Commonwealth Fund fellow and the current Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. However, I also have a wealth of other mentors and advisers in the alumni fellows, including Darrell Gray II, MD, MPH, a former fellow and gastroenterologist at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, as well as the other faculty associated with the program. I never imagined that I would have access to leaders in so many different sectors of health care and policy who are genuinely and passionately rooting for my success. In addition, my cofellows and I have created a uniquely special bond, and they will likely continue as my close network of peer advisers as I move forward throughout my career.


Next Article: