Copello Health Advocacy Fellowship

The 2018 focus of the NPA Copello Physicians Health Advocacy Fellowship is on high drug costs — an issue that’s at the top of the list of public concerns and one that we, as physicians, confront daily — and introduce our 2018 NPA Copello Health Advocacy Fellows.

Ten fellows have been selected with particular interest in identifying potential leaders in states where prospects for legislative action are favorable. Fellows will analyze the range of policy options guided by pioneering work led by Reshma Ramachandran, MD, MPP, past NPA Copello Fellow and current NPA FDA Task Force Co-Chair, outlined in the report “Curbing Unfair Drug Prices: A Primer for States released last summer by the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP), in collaboration with the National Physicians Alliance and the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut.

Additional issue education and support will be provided by experts at Public Citizen, a leading voice for consumer protections, high-quality, affordable health care, and lowering Rx drug prices, and other NPA partners and allies working for health justice. Fellows will hone their leadership and advocacy skills and apply what they’ve learned in their practices and at the state and national levels. The 2018 Copello Fellowship co-directors are Steve Smith, MD, MPH, Cheryl Bettigole, MD, MPH, and Greg Lam, MD (read their bios below).

Fellows will also develop their advocacy and media skills, network with like-minded colleagues, and learn how they can make their case most effectively with state and federal policy-makers.

The NPA Copello Fellowship is specifically designed to support physicians in becoming effective patient advocates in their communities and nationally. Fellows will build skills in collaboration and work to implement strategies at the state and national level to reduce high Rx drug costs and promote “patients first” health policies and practices.

The year-long program includes a series of interactive advocacy training sessions, expert presentations from inspiring leaders, practical skill-building around how to build, support and effect change, and expectations for on-the-ground projects developed with support from experienced mentors. Fellows will join a vibrant learning community and gain staff support from NPA for local and national organizing efforts.

In Memory of Dr. A. Gene Copello

Launched in 2010 as the A. Gene Copello Physician Leadership Summit, the NPA continues to provide professional development to selected physicians from across the country through the expanded Copello Health Advocacy Fellowship. This fellowship honors the life and work of Dr.  Gene Copello through ongoing action on behalf of patients. Read more about Gene’s legacy.

Link to information on the NPA 2017 Copello Fellowship, learn more about NPA’s 2017 Copello Health Advocacy Fellows.


NPA 2018 Copello Physician Health Advocacy Fellowship Co-Directors

Cheryl Bettigole, MD, MPH
Family Medicine
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Cheryl Bettigole is the Director of Get Healthy Philly, the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.  She is a board certified family physician and has previously served as the Chief Medical Officer of Complete Care Health Network, a federally qualified community/migrant health center in southern New Jersey, and as the Clinical Director of City Health Center #10 in Northeast Philadelphia.  While with the city health centers in Philadelphia, she worked to improve services for patients of limited English proficiency and to implement chronic disease management programs.   She is also a Past-President of the National Physicians Alliance, a multi-specialty group of physicians that works to improve health and well-being, and to ensure equitable, affordable, high quality health care for all people.  She is a magna cum laude graduate of Jefferson Medical College, completed her residency in Family Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and completed her Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she received a Capstone award for her work on interpretation services in a public health clinic setting.

Gregory K.W. Lam, MD, FACC, RPVI
Dublin, Ohio

Dr. Gregory Lam is a Cardiologist in Circleville, OH where his advocacy interests including health inequalities particularly for minority groups and addressing the opioid crisis. He currently serves as the Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services of Berger Health Systems.

Dr. Lam received his Bachelors of Science from Yale University and his Medical Doctorate from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Health Science from Duke University, where he performed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Cardiology and Vascular Medicine. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke University and a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner School of Medicine. He also serves on the faculty of the Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine and is the Principal Investigator of two clinical trials affiliated with the McConnell Heart Health Center in Columbus, OH.

Dr. Lam is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and the American Association of Physician Leadership. He is the recipient of the American Heart Association Scholar Award, the American Medical Association National Leadership Award, and the 2012 Columbus Business First Forty Under 40 Award. Originally from Honolulu, HI, he now resides in Dublin, OH with his wife and two sons.

Stephen R. Smith, MD, MPH
Family Medicine
New London, CT

Stephen R. Smith, MD, MPH, is professor emeritus of family medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He retired in 2007 as associate dean, a post he had held for 25 years. During his tenure as associate dean, Dr. Smith earned an international reputation for innovation in medical education. He was the architect of the competency-based curriculum at Brown that has been replicated at many medical schools around the world. Since his “retirement,” he has worked part-time in the community health center in his hometown of New London, Connecticut, organized physicians in Connecticut for the National Physicians Alliance (NPA), and consulted for the Partnership to Advance Conflict-Free Medical Education. He also served as the principal investigator of NPA’s Good Stewardship Project, which inspired the celebrated Choosing Wisely initiative. He earned his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1972 and his master of public health degree from the University of Rochester in 1977.

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