Alumna Harris on the Hill

Photo of Lindsey Harris

By Amanda E.H. Pritchard

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing alumna Lindsey Harris, DNP, RN, FNP-BC (MSN 2011, DNP 2016), is midway through a year-long Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C.

The Fellowship is designed to immerse health care professionals in health-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress and the executive branch.

Now in the second phase of the program, Harris is working in the office of Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL). Underwood is a nurse and the first woman, first person of color and first millennial representing her community in Congress.

“The first three months of the program was in the classroom learning about health policy where we’re listening to representatives from the different agencies, think tanks and interest groups brief us on their work and other issues,” Harris said. “After the classroom portion was complete, each Fellow interviewed with different offices within the government and were placed where our skills and interests best matched. I’m excited about being in an office with someone who’s very likeminded. Representative Underwood is also a nurse, so her issues are issues that are near and dear to my heart.”

The nine-month assignment with Underwood affords Harris the opportunity to be involved with health-related legislation and policy development. Harris started the fellowship in September 2022.

“Initially, I came to this Fellowship because I’m an advocate by nature,” Harris said. “I truly just love helping people. I love being able to help those that cannot help themselves. I’ve been put here to do something big and beyond myself. This will propel me to identify that advocacy voice within.”

For the first time in the 50 years of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows, the cohort comprises all women. The six Fellows are physicians, nurses, health department directors and licensed professional counselors, and were chosen for their interdisciplinary skills. The other Fellows were placed on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee in the Senate, in the Vice President’s office and with the Departments of Energy and Commerce.

“My last two years in Birmingham, I was President of the Alabama State Nurses Association speaking out for nurses on the front lines, even though I was working myself on the front lines. I was compelled to speak out about what our nurses needed and desired,” Harris said. “To help others, whether it’s our citizens of Alabama, the country or the world, I want to be able to have a greater voice, and this Fellowship is proving me the tools and experience to expand my advocacy work.”

Upcoming Events