Policy Summit

Why You Should Apply for the Congressional Policy Fellowship

Diane Berry, PhD - August 21, 2023

Dr. Berry explains why ASGCT members should apply for a unique opportunity to explore the intersection of science and policy.

If you are curious about the intersection between science and policy, and excited about the opportunity to share your cell and gene therapy insights and expertise with legislators, ASGCT and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have an opportunity for you to make an impact on patients and our industry.

In partnership with AAAS, ASGCT launched an advocacy initiative that will start in the fall of 2024. We'll select one applicant for a one-year Congressional Policy Fellowship. Every year, a fellow will be embedded in a legislative office on Capitol Hill to provide high-quality, science-based, independent guidance to federal policy makers and elevate awareness of the Society among policymaking circles.

ASGCT strives to inform legislators and regulators about the profound potential of gene and cell therapies, and to develop policy relationships that will help facilitate development, approval, and broad patient access to new therapies. The Fellowship was created with these efforts in mind.

In your role on Capitol Hill, you’ll learn to look at issues through a 360-degree view and balance disparate perspectives, including those from academia, industry, government, patient and physician communities, and others. The Fellowship offers the opportunity to help shape policy through a data-driven, scientific lens. You’ll apply your knowledge of cutting-edge science and the technology of gene and cell therapies to help create new policies, modernize outdated ones, and knock down barriers that could stifle future innovations or prevent today’s gene and cell therapies from reaching patients.

Did you ever want to learn how to “mark-up” a bill? (And no, it doesn’t mean what I thought it did on my first day on Capitol Hill as I took out a red pen to start editing!) Through the Fellowship, you’ll gain exposure to the legislative process and learn how to best influence and inform policymaking such that policy keeps pace with the rapidly evolving field of gene and cell therapy. Fellows will help to bridge the divide between legislators and scientists and develop invaluable communication skills – distilling very technical issues into easily understood concepts and actionable recommendations for members of Congress. The skills gleaned from this opportunity will carry fellows into the next stage of their careers, all while promoting informed, inclusive, scientific policy.

As a former AAAS fellow myself, I can attest that this opportunity with ASGCT will provide a life-long network of fellows that stretches across the executive and legislative branches of government. These are connections that will open doors, create opportunities, and help you navigate many stages of your career journey. This fellowship can help set the foundation for your future opportunities, whether that be in public policy, bench science, or wherever life takes you. For ASGCT members who are more advanced in their careers, this program will provide you with new perspectives and skills that will help you bring the field and your career to the next level. 

Don’t just take my word for it, hear from other AAAS science and technology fellows on their experiences preparing for the fellowship term.

The Society will accept publications through January 15, 2024. Applicants must be ASGCT members with a doctoral degree. AAAS has additional resources for interested candidates, including application tips. Be sure to review the online materials and FAQ, and consider applying for the 2024-2025 Confessional Policy Fellowship this fall!

Want to hear more from Dr. Berry? She's moderating a patient access panel at next month's Policy Summit, Sept. 18-19 in Washington, D.C. + virtually.

Learn more + register

Dr. Berry is Executive Vice President, Chief Global Policy & Advocacy Officer​ at Sarepta Therapeutics. She is chair of the ASGCT Government Relations Committee.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sarepta Therapeutics.

Related Articles

Policy Summit

Special Podcast Episode: Fifth Annual Policy Summit Highlights with Emily Walsh, PhD

Watch on demand through Oct. 23 - September 25, 2023
Policy Summit

Watch the Policy Summit On Demand Through Oct. 23

Register Now - September 21, 2023
Policy Summit

Hear from Congressmen Scott Peters + Brett Guthrie

Don't Miss: Sept. 18-19! - September 12, 2023
Policy Summit

Why Anyone in CGT Can Benefit from ASGCT’s Policy Summit

Podcast With Francesca Cook - September 08, 2023