*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
HHS Office and Location: A fellowship opportunity is currently available in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) located in Washington, DC.
The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.
Research Project: An estimated 850 million people worldwide live with kidney disease, and more than one in seven American adults live with kidney disease. Kidney diseases are a range of chronic and genetic illnesses that reduce the ability of a person’s kidneys to filter blood, causing wastes to build up in the body. For people with kidney failure, the only treatment option other than a transplant is dialysis, which takes a severe toll. Dialysis patients typically spend 12 hours a week attached to a machine. Their five-year life expectancy is worse than that of most cancer patients. The treatment is also costly — Medicare alone spends more than $100 billion annually on kidney care. One in five Medicare dollars is spent on dialysis.
In 2019, the CDC found that the eighth leading cause of death in the United States was kidney disease. Chronic Kidney Disease is more common in Black adults (16%) than in White adults (13%) or Asian adults (13%). Treatment for kidney disease has not changed much since the 1970s. Dialysis is still the primary treatment option. In-center hemodialysis, the most common form of therapy for kidney failure, requires patients to sit near other immune-compromised patients for 12-16 hours every week. The Medicare program annually spends $114 billion to manage kidney diseases and related comorbidities, nearly 30% of traditional fee for service (FFS) spending, and $36 billion to manage kidney failure alone through the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease Program, which provides coverage for the management of kidney failure regardless of beneficiary age or income. COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue of kidney disease. According to 2020 Medicare claims data, patients with kidney failure are the most at-risk group among Medicare enrollees. COVID-19 patients with kidney diseases are two and half times more likely to be hospitalized or face other adverse outcomes – such as death – from the virus.
The Kidney Innovation Accelerator (KidneyX) is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) to accelerate innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. HHS and ASN formed KidneyX in April 2018 through a Memorandum of Understanding to spur the development and commercialization of disruptive innovations in kidney care through a series of prize competitions, intended to shine a light on unmet kidney patient needs and catalyze investment in promising early-stage companies, among other creative strategies. KidneyX is guided by an independent steering committee convened by ASN to provide input on KidneyX strategies. KidneyX is engaging a community of researchers, innovators, and investors to bring breakthrough therapies to patients through:
- Development – Driving patient access to disruptive technologies via competitive, merit-based prize funding for innovators.
- Coordination – Providing a clearer and less expensive path for bringing products to patients and their families.
- Urgency – Creating a sense of urgency by spotlighting the immediate needs of patients and their families.
Under the guidance of a mentor, the selected participant will provide coordination, scientific and technical support around Kidney and Renal disease, diagnosis prevention, treatment while being exposed to:
- Scientific public-private partnership development and strategy
- Federal interagency health strategy development
- Cutting-edge research in collaboration with federal, private, and academic partners
- Application of novel Open Innovation approaches to addressing health challenges in government, among others
- New skills and techniques from federal, private, and academic partners on applying novel open innovation approaches to addressing American health challenges
- Techniques for successful public-private collaboration
- How to apply scientific/technical communication skills to brief non-technical audiences, including executive-level briefings
- How to interpret and apply policy decisions to day to day program execution
- How to apply strategic thinking and leadership skills to diverse, interdisciplinary working groups
Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Alexander Wilson (email@example.com). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 2021. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.
Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of HHS and is contingent on the availability of funds.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. A health insurance allowance will be provided. A training allowance will also be provided with sufficient justification. No relocation allowance will be provided.
Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.
ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and HHS. Participants do not become employees of HHS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email HHSrpp@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity (HHS-OASH-2021-0218).