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Margolis Scholars in Health Policy & Management

The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Sanford School of Public Policy invite highly qualified Master of Public Policy applicants who have demonstrated strong interest in health policy or have experience in the health field to apply for the next class of Margolis Scholars.

Margolis Scholars is a university-wide program led and supported by the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. The program provides students interested in health policy and management from graduate schools across Duke with an interdisciplinary perspective on key health policy and management issues as well as relevant practical and research opportunities to support professional development. The program prepares students to cultivate dynamic careers in government, academia, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, in the United States and abroad.

Margolis Scholars is not a separate degree program, and Margolis Scholars enrolled at the Sanford School of Public Policy are permitted to participate in joint degree programs available to Sanford students. The program aims to select up to two Margolis Scholars from Sanford each year

About the program

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  • Madhu Vulmiri

    Inaugural Scholar

    As part of the inaugural class of Margolis Scholars, Madhu Vulimiri helped craft a Medicaid reform proposal for North Carolina.


    "I was excited to work on Medicaid reform in North Carolina, especially at a time when states have really been at the forefront of innovating in health care. This project has allowed me to speak with executives from Duke University Health System, state legislatures and the folks at the Department of Health and Human Services who run Medicaid. It’s really exciting to take those perspectives and incorporate them into final recommendations." - Madhulika Vulimiri MPP'18 


    Madhu Vulmiri is now a Senior Medicaid Strategist with the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Margolis Scholars enroll in the two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) program, consistently ranked in the top 10 of U.S. public policy graduate programs. In addition to the MPP core curriculum, they complete a health policy and management concentration with at least one course each semester, and a summer internship.

The Margolis Scholars concentration combines a rigorous academic foundation in the tools of policy analysis with health policy and management course offerings in Sanford and other Duke schools. Classroom experiences are supplemented with seminars and access to the health policy, sciences and management expertise across Duke University and Duke Health.

Margolis Scholars also participate in consulting projects, a summer internship, professional skills training, and opportunities to interact with policymakers and health policy thought leaders. Together, the robust classroom and hands-on experiences provide outstanding career preparation for leadership roles in the health policy field.

The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy brings together resources in health policy and management from across Duke University and Duke Health, facilitating collaborations between public policy, medicine, biomedical research, clinical care, population health, global health, health economics, law and business. The Center also has an office in Washington, DC, providing a significant presence in policy conversations and support for translating new ideas into effective policy reforms.

Duke-Margolis’ director Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD, is former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


Margolis Scholars will receive:

  • A two-year financial award toward supporting education-related expenses associated with the Masters in Public Policy (MPP) degree.
  • Participation in experiential learning opportunities, including in research projects or teaching assistant opportunities led by affiliated faculty and research staff; pairing with Margolis faculty/research staff mentor, if desired.
  • Guidance on health policy and management courses across Duke and UNC.
  • Guidance on and support for internship and/or job placement from the Faculty Director of the Margolis Scholars program and Margolis leadership and affiliated faculty and staff.
    • Up to $5,000 to support an unpaid or insufficiently low-paying summer internship in health policy.
  • Increased exposure to health care faculty, staff, and other experts across Duke as well as external senior leaders and practitioners.
  • Membership in the Margolis Scholars community of graduate students and broader Margolis Center community of faculty, research staff, and students.
  • Recognition as a Margolis Scholar.

Expectations of the Scholars

Margolis Scholars are expected to fulfill the listed minimum expectations:

  • Participate in Margolis Scholars events (e.g., seminars, conferences, annual Margolis Scholars reception). 
  • Organize at least one Margolis Center event per academic year, in collaboration with all Margolis Scholars across campus. 
  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant for one health policy course in the second year of the program, or as a Research Assistant for one or more semesters, working with Margolis-affiliated faculty working on a research or applied policy project.
  • Complete five health policy and management courses, approved after consultation with the Margolis Scholars Faculty Director and Sanford Graduate Director of MPP studies.
  • Dedicate the summer following the first MPP year to an internship in health policy.
  • Focus required Master’s Project on a health policy topic of interest.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Ideal candidates:

  • Are students applying to the Sanford School of Public Policy MPP program. 
  • Have evidenced an interest in health policy through current research, related internships, work experience, extracurricular activities. 
  • Indicate a strong interest in taking advanced health management and policy courses. 
  • Have demonstrated a clear intention of pursuing a career in health care research, delivery, management, or policy following graduation. 
  • Have achieved high academic performance in current and/or previous studies.

Student Profile

Minahil Shahid

Minahil Shahid earned a degree in Economics and Political Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan. Prior to coming to Duke, she worked at the Chief Minister’s Delivery Unit in Punjab, Pakistan, where she closely coordinated with senior officials in government to devise and implement reforms to improve the state of health in the province.

Application Process

Margolis Scholars are selected from successful applicants to the MPP program. In addition to Sanford’s standard application, please prepare a brief statement of interest (3-page maximum) that details:

  1. Why you are interested in the Margolis Scholars program and how it will benefit you
  2. Previous health policy experience
  3. Key areas or topics of interest
  4. Future professional goals and directions

The statement of interest can be uploaded with your application to the MPP program.

Contact Us!

Jessica Pan, MPP Admissions, Duke Sanford School

Corinna Sorenson, PhD, MHSA, MPH, Faculty Director, Margolis Scholars Program

For more information about the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, please visit the website.