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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, entering the Master Public Policy (MPP) degree program in Fall 2018. Margolis Scholars are linked with the world-class experts and leading-edge research of Duke-Margolis on the Duke University campus and in Washington, DC. Margolis Scholars will be considered for competitive scholarships, as well as paid summer internships that provide hands-on experience in health policy and management.


About the program

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.

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  • Delvecchio Finley

    Delvecchio Finley focused on health policy while earning an MPP degree at Sanford. Now, Finley is CEO of Alameda Health System. He has become known as a turnaround specialist – a guy who can take a struggling health care system and make big changes. In 2014, The American College of Healthcare Executives named Finley their 2014 Young Executive of the Year.

    Finley was raised in public housing in Atlanta, and he often uses his personal story to encourage staff members to respect all patients equally. “As you might imagine, my personal story kind of parallels many of the patients that we serve as a safety-net organization,” he said. "And so I approach what I do and how I serve [patients], in a way that I would want my family and my friends to be treated."

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 will also participate in consulting projects, a summer internship, professional skills training, and opportunities to interact with policymakers and health policy thought leaders. The robust classroom and hands-on experience will prepare Margolis Scholars for dynamic careers as leaders in health policy management in government, nonprofits, and corporations in the United States and abroad.

The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy is a new university-wide center that 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.


The Duke Sanford Office of Career Services and Duke-Margolis provide MPP students one-on-one assistance with policy internship placement. Margolis Scholars are eligible to complete paid internships with Duke-Margolis in Durham, NC, or Washington, DC, as members of policy research teams working on leading-edge issues in health care delivery and payment reform and biomedical innovation at the local, national and global levels.

Scholars may also choose a meaningful health policy/health policy management internship at another organization.

Andy Allison, MPP alum“[Sanford's] emphasis on structured, focused and, in particular, succinct communication has served me well. Also, growing up in the home of a researcher and administrator, I knew that if a solution doesn’t work on the street, it doesn’t work at all. The budgeting and financial management course really hammered that home.” - Andy Allison MPP'92, director of medical services for the state of Arkansas and founding president of the National Association of Medicaid Directors

Opportunities for Applied Research

Margolis Scholars have opportunities to conduct research on current topics in health policy as part of multi-disciplinary faculty-led teams. In the 2017-2018 school year an interdisciplinary Bass Connections research team of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students crafted a Medicaid reform proposal for North Carolina. Team members investigated the political and legal procedures involved in Medicaid reform as well as potential health coverage models and business opportunities to meet the needs of North Carolina’s Medicaid beneficiaries. 

Madhulika Vulimiri smilingI 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 [Project findings here.]


Margolis Scholars in Public Policy apply within the application for admission to the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program at the Sanford School of Public Policy. 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 direction

The statement of interest can be uploaded with your application to the MPP program. Apply by January 5, 2018 5:00pm Eastern Standard Time.

Scholars will receive admissions notification in early March. Applicants for the Margolis Scholarship must demonstrate a strong interest in health policy.

Contact Us!

Jessica Pan, MPP Admissions, Duke Sanford School, (919) 613-9244

Hilary Campbell, Research Fellow, Duke-Margolis, (919) 660-8007

Learn More

Read about our 2017-2018 Margolis Scholars here.

Health Policy


Duke Receives $5.9 Million to Launch Global Food Policy Center

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University will use $5.9 million in grants to bolster efforts to improve global food policy and inform issues such as malnutrition and food safety.

Nancy Schlichting

Alumna Profile: Health System CEO Reflects on Career as 'Unconventional Leader'

How do you save a hospital system? That’s the question Nancy Schlichting PPS ’76, had to answer when she took over as CEO of the Henry Ford Hospital and subsequently became system CEO. The Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System was losing millions, the city of Detroit was in decline, and employee morale was low. Schlichting and her team managed to turn the system around, bringing it to profitability by 2003.

Two students smiling

Students Craft NC Medicaid Reform Proposal

The Bass Connections Medicaid Reform Advisory Team combines Duke’s expertise in public policy, law, medicine and business under the umbrella of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Team members are crafting a Medicaid reform proposal designed to fit the constraints and demands of North Carolina politics, especially in light of the revised political landscape resulting from the 2016 elections.