MPP Health Policy Fellowship Honors

 January 30, 2024

Sanford Master of Public Policy candidates are receiving fellowship recognition for their dedication to health policy.

Jack Pitsor MPP'24

Jack Pitsor MPP’24 was awarded the David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship for 2024-2025, one of only two awardees nationwide for this prestigious fellowship.

“I’m absolutely delighted to build on my state health policy experience by jumping into substantive federal policy work through the Winston Fellowship,” Pitsor said.

In addition to pursuing his MPP with a concentration in health policy, Pitsor is a Duke-Margolis Health Policy Scholar. Pitsor currently works as a Medicaid Fellow at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Before Duke, he worked as a health policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver, providing technical assistance to state legislators and staff across all 50 states on health costs and coverage issues. He also served for a year with an international volunteer organization working at a juvenile detention center in Belize.

Pitsor received his bachelor’s degree in health administration and policy from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He said his passion for health policy has been engendered by personal and professional experiences.

“In addition to health policy work experience, personal experiences have engendered my passion for policy, such as working at a youth prison in Belize and losing my father to cancer,” he said.

Pitsor will graduate in May. “While my immediate plans are to work on the federal level through the Winston Fellowship, I eventually want to boomerang back to state government and legislative work on Medicaid and health care costs issues,” he said.

Natalie Wong MPP'24

Two additional MPP students were finalists for the fellowship: Stephen McCarthy MPP/MBA ’24 and Natalie Wong MPP’24.

Wong is a 4+1 Accelerated Master of Public Policy candidate concentrating in healthcare policy. She received her bachelor’s degree in public policy studies with an economics minor from Duke in 2023. 

Driven by a passion for making healthcare more affordable and accessible to all Americans, Wong focuses on health policy issues including prescription drug pricing, value-based care and price transparency. She is currently an ORISE Fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, where she works with the Physician-Focused Technical Advisory Committee to shape alternative payment model policy.

Wong is an alumna of the Duke Margolis Health Policy and Management Scholar program and continues to support the Center as the Program Coordinator for the Undergraduate Health Policy Certificate. Her experience in health policy includes roles with Johnson & Johnson, Booz Allen Hamilton, ZealCare, and various positions at Duke’s Global Health Institute, School of Medicine, and School of Nursing.

"After graduation in May, I will work at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C. to support federal agencies in advancing critical health policy initiatives,” Wong said.

Stephen McCarthy
Stephen McCarthy MPP/MBA'24

McCarthy is also a finalist for the fellowship. He first became passionate about improving healthcare as an undergraduate when his senior thesis showed that hospital-physician integration did not lower hospital costs. Then he worked on health policy research at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he co-authored an academic article that examined access to primary care for dual-eligible Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries. This experience motivated McCarthy to return to school to find and implement solutions to the problems that people face in obtaining access to healthcare.

While at Duke, McCarthy has completed two summer internships, first at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services working on child health and welfare, and then as an MBA intern at Merck in its global vaccines division. He is currently the co-president of the Duke MBA Health Care Club, where he leads an 18-person team that conducts a wide variety of professional development events for over 200 students.

McCarthy is concentrating in health policy with his MPP and pursuing a certificate in health sector management and a concentration in marketing in the MBA. At Duke, he is a Fuqua Impact Scholar and the recipient of the Richard and Mamie Howerton Scholarship. He received his bachelor's degree with high honors in economics from Wesleyan University. He plans to work in federal health policy in Washington, D.C. after graduation.