Executive Branch Host Agencies: Health, Education & Human Services Program

The executive branch agencies listed below anticipate hosting and funding first-year Fellows in 2012-13 in the Health, Education & Human Services (HEHS) Program in collaboration with AAAS.

Return to the complete list of Executive Branch Host Agencies.


 USDA Food Safety Inspection Service

The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for protecting the public from food-borne illness and ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

  • Risk Assessment Division
    The Division develops and performs quantitative risk assessments of biological/chemical hazards in meat, poultry and egg products in support of the Agency’s policy development activities. These risk assessments are used to evaluate intervention strategies to reduce food-borne risks, guide the allocation of inspection resources, prioritize research and data collection initiatives, and enhance the Agency’s overall decision-making process.

Read testimonials of former Fellows in the HEHS Program Area

Web site: www.fsis.usda.gov


 Department of Defense (DoD)

AAAS Fellows work with staff involved in the planning, development and oversight of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) programs. Although not government officials with formal authority over such efforts, Fellows have the opportunity to advise and be involved in virtually all aspects of this process.

Fellows should not expect to work specifically on technical issues related to their dissertations or previous post-doctoral appointments, but rather to apply their technical, organizational, and communication skills to technical and policy issues in DoD. Additionally, Fellows help increase the awareness of DoD and its agencies as a challenging and rewarding career environment for scientists and engineers.

  • Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense; Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs (ATSD/NCB)
    This office is the principal staff element of and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for all matters concerning the formulation of policy and plans for nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, and chemical and biological defense. It is also directly responsible to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for matters associated with nuclear weapons safety and security, chemical weapons demilitarization, chemical and biological defense programs, and smoke and obscurants.

Web site: www.dod.gov


  Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHS represents almost a quarter of all federal outlays and it administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined.

Fellows may have an opportunity to work in one of several offices:

  • Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO)
    The Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO) is responsible for developing operational plans, analytical products, and developing and participating in training and exercises to ensure the preparedness of the Office, the Department, the Government and the public to respond to domestic and international public health and medical threats and emergencies.

Read testimonials of former Fellows in the HEHS Program Area

Web site: www.hhs.gov/


Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense. The VA employs nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. The benefits provided include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits and burial benefits.

Read testimonials of former Fellows in the HEHS Program Area

Web site: www.va.gov


 National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. Its mission is science in pursuit of fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. As the world’s premier medical research organization, the NIH includes 27 separate health institutes and centers, and supports over 37,000 research projects nationwide in diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, heart ailments and AIDS.

The AAAS Fellowships at NIH are established to enhance scientific and technical policy expertise in medical research policy issues, and depending upon the issues and opportunities addressed by NIH during the period of the fellowship, participants may be involved in some of the following activities:

  • Collect and analyze scientific and technical information pertinent to the preparation of reports and other documents regarding a broad range of NIH research policy and planning issues;
  • Participate in the evaluation of scientific opportunities, funding implications, and impact of federal policies on the conduct of biomedical research;
  • Initiate scholarly activities and coordinate analytic approaches to evaluate and interpret the economic impact and biomedical impact on public health and society;
  • Participate in activities that consider and advance safeguards of research on human subjects;
  • Coordinate and organize planning and policy activities in response to congressional actions and recommendations of external advisors and the NIH leadership;
  • Promote policies and planning that enhance the interactions among public and private research sectors with the goal of fostering collaboration and improved efficiency in the transfer of scientific knowledge and technologies to benefit the health of the nation;
  • Advise on the development of policies to advance and promote the public awareness of, and interest in, biomedical research and health benefits to society;

For additional information about Fellowship Programs at the NIH, visit: http://ospa.od.nih.gov/fellowship.html.

Placement for AAAS Fellows at the NIH in a particular office depends upon current and emerging needs, and the compatibility, goals, and available resources of sponsoring Institute/Center/Office. Past participating Institutes/Centers and Offices include:

Read testimonials of former Fellows in the HEHS Program Area

Web site: http://www.nih.gov


National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) broad mandate authorizes it to engage in a wide range of activities relating to research and education in science, engineering and technology. Fellows will be placed in offices within NSF that will expose them to the agency’s role in the policy process. While the fellowships are primarily a learning experience, NSF values the technical expertise provided by the Fellows.

Fellows may work on programs that foster an interchange of scientific information; support the development and use of scientific methods and technologies; evaluate the status and needs of the various disciplines of science and fields of engineering; collect, interpret and analyze data; analyze federal funding for basic and applied research; initiate and support activities relating to international cooperation and national security; and recommend national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering.

In the past, Fellows have been involved in the development of new funding programs (e.g., Cognitive Neuroscience, Public Understanding of Research); efforts to increase the participation of women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities in science and technology; and communication of the NSF’s programs, policies and activities to Congress, state and local governments, other federal agencies, the research and education communities, and the general public.

Fellows may choose to work in any one of several offices within NSF. Below are summaries of agencies and offices where past Fellows have served:

  • Office of the Director (OD)
    This office uses the Foundation’s top leadership, and oversees all Foundation activities from the development of policy priorities to the establishment of administrative and management guidelines, including long-range planning.
  • Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)
    Provides support for research to advance understanding of the underlying principles and mechanisms governing life.
  • Directorate for Computer and Information Sciences & Engineering (CISE)
    Supports investigator initiated research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, helps develop and maintain cutting-edge national computing and information infrastructure for research and education generally, and contributes to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
  • Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR)
    Its mission is to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings (both formal and informal) in order to support the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians and educators and a well-informed citizenry that have access to the ideas and tools of science and engineering.
    • Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)
      Supports the National Science Foundation’s mission of providing leadership and promoting development of the infrastructure and resources needed to improve preK-12 STEM education throughout the United States.
    • Division of Graduate Education (DGE)
      Leads the National Science Foundation’s efforts to attract the most talented US students into graduate studies, and to support them in their quest to become the leading scientists and engineers of the future.
  • Directorate for Engineering (ENG)
    The Division of Engineering Education & Centers (EEC) encourages the integration of engineering research and education to accelerate technological and educational innovation and improve the quality and diversity of engineering graduates entering the technical workforce.
  • Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)
    Its mission is to support research in the atmospheric, earth, and ocean sciences. GEO addresses the nation’s need to understand, predict, and respond to environmental events and changes to use Earth’s resources wisely.
  • Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)
    The Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) mission is to help ensure the scientific excellence of the U.S. astronomical community by supporting forefront research in ground-based astronomy and the development of new instrumentation and key facilities.
  • Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
    Supports the research that underlies such findings, as well as other research that builds fundamental knowledge of human behavior, interaction, and social and economic systems, organizations and institutions
    • Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
      Supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge on human cognition, language, social behavior and culture, as well as research on the interactions between human societies and the physical environment.

Read testimonials of former Fellows in the HEHS Program Area

Web site: www.nsf.gov


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