The Communication in Health and Epidemiology Fellowship (CHEF) at Columbia University is a 1-year, cooperative educational opportunity for students interested in learning about the theory and practice of communicating health information to the public in a hands-on manner. Fellows work intimately with each other and with editors of our online and print media to pitch, edit, and write content for these venues. The program combines formal training in health communication in the form of didactic lectures, workshops, and networking events along with formal work experience.
The Fellows are those who are interested in translating public health research to an influential and educated lay audience. Typically, Fellows are students at or recent graduates of programs at Columbia University, although we welcome inquiries from interested potential applicants. Fellows are interested in public health, have strong backgrounds in science (broadly defined, including social as well as natural sciences) and excellent writing skills, as well as the demonstrated ability to work independently, and in collaboration, respond constructively and promptly to feedback, and they are active consumers of health and news media. Each year’s cohort includes four fellows. Former fellows have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees in public health, and careers in public health practice and public health communications.
All Fellows learn how to pitch articles and commentaries effectively, synthesize topical scientific discussion into compelling narratives for wider public conversation, understand the logistics, strengths, and limitations of web and print publishing, and effectively leverage social media platforms for dissemination of content. In order to achieve these aims, our program involves a combination of the following elements: 1) real-time mentoring and support; 2) hands-on experience with production, editing, and writing; 3) didactic lectures and workshops with professionals in both science and journalism; and 4) networking opportunities with both scientists and journalists.
We expect that Fellows dedicate 15-20 hours per week to fellowship-related work and learning experiences. Fellows work directly each other, staff writers, and the Editor-in-Chief. Fellows’ day-to-day responsibilities include contacting and working with authors, editing submissions, and writing and/or researching pieces for publication. Fellows are expected to attend and actively participate in weekly think tank-style meetings (IdeaLab), and to complete assignments in a timely manner. Each Fellow is awarded a stipend of $7,500. Fellows on federal training grants may have different work requirements and/or stipends.
Applications for Cohort 5 will be accepted in January 2016.
Applications must include the following in a single PDF document:
For questions or more information about the fellowship, please email Editor-in-Chief, Dana March, at firstname.lastname@example.org.