Level of Experience

We seek senior health care executives, not emerging leaders, including founders and/or executive directors, CEOs and C-suite executives, and senior leaders in government or academia who have created and/or oversee sizeable, impactful programs. We define health care broadly and look for leaders from a wide range of sectors within health care.


Candidates must demonstrate that they have developed and implemented cutting-edge businesses, programs, or approaches that have improved the health and well-being of Americans. We also value candidates who have weathered professional or personal challenges or even failure.


Candidates should be at an inflection point in their personal or professional lives—ready to pause, re-evaluate their values, and reflect deeply on how they can have an even greater impact addressing U.S. health care challenges.


Candidates must be at least 35 and no older than 50 by the end of the year the class launches.


Candidates must commit to full participation in all aspects of the Fellowship.

  • 100% Seminar Attendance: We expect Fellows to participate fully in all four seminars; seminar dates are non-negotiable.
  • Develop a Leadership Venture: Each Fellow must create a leadership venture that leverages their energies, skills, and resources to address a U.S. health care challenge.
  • Full Engagement: Fellows must be willing to be fully present at seminars and welcome different points of view with an open mind and heart.

Note: We seek candidates who represent the diversity of the U.S. and health care with respect to geography, health care sector, political beliefs, religion, life experiences, marital status, race, ethnicity, and gender/sexual orientation. 


Candidates for the Health Innovators Fellowship must be nominated by a third party—individuals cannot apply for the Fellowship. Nominators must fill out and submit an online nomination form describing their candidate. Once the nominator submits the form, the Aspen Institute will immediately notify the candidate and ask them to complete a confirmation form that confirms their interest and ability to participate fully in the Fellowship and asks them for additional information.


The Aspen Institute thoroughly researches and reviews each candidate’s qualifications over many months before selecting 20 candidates each year to participate in the program. The Fellowship’s executive director interviews candidates throughout the spring, and the new class is announced in summer. Each class is composed of senior health care leaders who span a wide variety of sectors, backgrounds, and lived experiences—this diversity ensures that participants can both teach and learn from one another. Unfortunately, many exceptional, impressive individuals are not chosen to be Fellows because they don’t fit the class mosaic for that particular year. That’s why we choose a small number of candidates each year to reconsider in a future year. Some of these candidates are reconsidered for multiple years to determine if they can fit the mosaic of a future class.