Who would benefit from participating in this Fellowship?

The Fellowship is designed for senior executives in U.S. health care—entrepreneurs and innovators who have reached a point in their lives and careers when they are ready to pause and reflect on their leadership and explore how to use their skills, experiences, and resources to broaden their impact on U.S. health care.

Why would a busy leader in health care make so much time for this Fellowship?

Fellows who have committed their time to the Fellowship tell us that their participation was one of the best investments they've ever made. The Fellowship provides a rare opportunity to step back and think with and draw inspiration from other successful leaders who are facing similar life and professional challenges and looking to have greater impact.

Who is an ideal candidate?

We seek highly successful entrepreneurs and innovators in U.S. health care who have reached a point in their lives when they are ready to pause and reflect on how to use their skills and experiences to broaden and/or deepen their impact on U.S. health care.

You say you want “highly successful leaders in U.S. health care." What does that mean?

We seek senior executives, not emerging leaders, who are founders and/or executive directors; CEOs or C-suite executives; and senior leaders in government or academia who have created and/or oversee sizeable, impactful programs. The key is that they are leaders and true innovators who have already made a difference in the health care field and are ready to have an even greater impact.

How do you define the health care field?

Broadly. We are looking for Fellows from a variety of industries and sectors throughout the health care ecosystem—including medicine, the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, the life sciences, mental and behavioral health, government, public health, health care systems, medical equipment and supplies, veterans’ health, and more.

Do you accept nominations for candidates who are focused on international health issues?

Unfortunately, we do not.

Can Fellows from other AGLN programs be considered for the Health Innovators Fellowship?


Is someone eligible if they turn 51 the year the class launches?

No. Eligible candidates must be at least 35 and no more than 50 on Dec 31 of the year the class launches.

How can a nomination be most effective?

To be most effective, a nominator must convince us, with concrete examples, that the candidate is a successful, influential health care leader; an innovator/entrepreneur; at the right point in their life and career to be able to step back and reflect on how to strengthen their leadership and have greater impact; not daunted by the sorts of challenges that may scare away others; and understands and can commit to the requirements of the Fellowship.

Should a nominator tell their nominee that they are being nominated?

Yes. Before nominating a candidate, please ensure that they are interested in and can commit to full participation in the program if selected. Potential candidates should review our website and ideally reach out to Health Innovators Fellows or other members of the Aspen Global Leadership Network to fully grasp the Fellowship experience and required commitment.

How well should a nominator know their nominee?

Very well. We look to nominators to provide an in-depth look into a candidate’s background, values, and readiness to take full advantage of this opportunity. We don’t want nominations for someone a nominator has merely met at a conference or read about in an article who impresses them and appears to fit our criteria.

How can candidates prepare if we ask them for an interview?

When we interview candidates, we aim to get to know them as individuals and see how they might fit into our class mosaic. Everything said at the interview is confidential, so candidates should feel comfortable sharing anything they feel is important about who they are as a person, a leader, and a potential member of the Health Innovators Fellowship community. In addition, we strongly encourage candidates to reach out to a few Fellows to get a feel for the Fellowship; our team can help make these introductions if candidates don’t already know someone in the program.

What can derail a candidate?

We expect candidates to research the Aspen Institute and what the Health Innovators Fellowship experience entails before they are nominated. We also ask them to make a couple of non-negotiable commitments: to attend the seminars in their entirety and to complete a meaningful venture. We will not consider any candidate who cannot fully commit to both requirements. We ask nominators to stress to candidates the importance of examining the published seminar dates, venture-related criteria, and FAQs. We have had candidates who have accepted interviews knowing that they cannot make all seminar dates. Some believe we will grant them an exception, which is not the case, as the seminars are an essential component of the Fellowship, and missing any part is unfair to the Fellow and their class. Any candidate who accepts an interview slot expecting that they may get an exception prevents another candidate from being evaluated.

When do Fellows have to decide what they will do for their venture?

Fellows are not expected to arrive at the first seminar with a venture plan. Rather, the Fellowship experience and the other members of their class can inspire them to discover what they are best suited to do. We do, however, expect Fellows to identify and commit to an idea within the first six months and to begin implementing the initiative during the two-year active Fellowship period.

Why do ventures have to address a U.S. health care challenge?

The Health Innovators Fellowship aims to connect health care leaders with a diverse group of peers and inspire and challenge them to create new approaches to tackling what ails U.S. health care. Given this mission, we require that all Health Innovators Fellows focus on a U.S. health care challenge as one expression of their commitment to moving the needle on the Fellowship's ultimate goal.

What counts as “U.S. health care” in the context of ventures?

The Fellowship defines "U.S. health care" broadly—a venture will fulfill this requirement as long as it aims to improve the health and well-being of Americans. Most Fellows don't have a problem designing a venture that fits our parameters, but our team is always available to talk through ideas if a Fellow is unsure if their idea meets our requirements.

How are ventures vetted and approved and by whom?

After the first seminar, the Health Innovators Fellowship executive director and program associate will discuss each Fellow's venture concept with them and work with them to ensure that their venture is positioned to be successful. After their concept is approved, Fellows will have regularly scheduled check-in calls between seminars with the Fellowship team, though the team is always available to provide assistance and support outside of these calls.

Does a venture have to operate as a nonprofit?

No. Ventures can be for-profit, nonprofit, or government initiatives and can be programs, products, or organizations. We have no preference regarding a venture’s legal status. The key is for the venture to make an explicit and positive impact on the health and well-being of Americans.

Do ventures have to involve starting a new organization?

Fellows do not need to start a new organization, although some choose to do so. Ventures can take many forms, from launching a new organization to creating a new program or service within an organization to scaling an existing program so that it impacts more people.

Do venture ideas have to be original?

We believe that Fellows are innovative, mission-driven leaders who have the potential to devise breakthrough ideas. While some Fellows have an original idea for their venture, others build on existing ideas to make them more effective or to move them in a new, more fruitful direction. Whatever they ultimately end up doing, we strongly encourage all Fellows to learn about successful models that address the challenges they aim to tackle, if and where they exist, so that they don’t duplicate programs that work. This includes models already launched within and outside of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Fellows can build on these efforts as long as their contributions are additive rather than duplicative.

What if a Fellow's job is already a social/community program/venture?

Many Fellows are already social entrepreneurs in the nonprofit or government sector. In these cases, we want to challenge them to step back and see with a fresh perspective how they might augment their leadership in areas they are concerned about. Are there other approaches they have wanted to try? An experiment they’d like to test? Fellows should use their ventures as an opportunity to creatively engage in a different approach to the challenge they are addressing or as an opportunity to do something that they would not have started or done if not for the Fellowship.

Do ventures have to be completed/running/fully functional by the time Fellows complete the Fellowship’s four seminars?

Each venture is unique and has its own timeline, but Fellows need to demonstrate significant progress toward their goal by the fourth seminar, as well as a clear plan for the future. We expect that the venture will live long past the two-year active Fellowship period, and we’ll continue to reach out for updates and be available to provide support far beyond the fourth seminar.