Micheal Schmeltz portrait

Cal State East Bay Professor of Public Health Receives Prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship

  • BY Kimberly Hawkins
  • July 5, 2024

Cal State East Bay Professor of Public Health Michael Schmeltz was selected for one of the nation’s most prestigious fellowships in health policy. Schmeltz is among seven named to the 2024-25 class of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows at the National Academy of Medicine. 

Schmeltz will spend a year in Washington, D.C., where he will meet with national health and health policy leaders and get experience in the federal policymaking process. 

“In an election year, the intersection of health policy, politics, and public health become front-page issues,” said Gregg Margolis, director of Health Policy Fellowships and Leadership Programs at the National Academy of Medicine, “but we know that health policy decisions impact the lives of every American every year. Our 2024-2025 cohort of fellows will bring their expertise in health and healthcare to the nation's capital and provide new and needed perspectives to policy conversations occurring at the highest levels of government. We take pride in their unparalleled expertise and commitment to finding solutions to our nation's most pressing health concerns.” 

The fellows were competitively selected from highly accomplished national health, behavioral and social science professionals who have an interest in health policy. Their experiences in Washington are meant to enrich their understanding of federal policy formation and how federal and state governments relate to the mission of their home institutions, in this case, Cal State East Bay and local communities.

“Being in academia, I am accustomed to teaching about the fundamentals of public health and doing my own research,” said Schmeltz. “The opportunity with the fellowship really allows me to be integrated into the government and learn about the policy-making process. With my expertise, I can bring a unique perspective to this process that benefits me and the office I am placed in.”

Schmeltz has over a decade of experience working on occupational and environmental health issues at local, state and federal government organizations. His research and work focus on risk assessments to examine social and structural vulnerabilities communities face due to environmental and climate hazards. His research has also expanded into climate change governance and policy development, specifically addressing extreme heat action plans; GHG emission reduction in the transportation sector; and exploring ways to achieve a ‘just transition’ towards electrification and decarbonization.

“One of the greatest features of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows Program is bringing in fellows with new and engaging ideas,” said Schmeltz. “The exchange of knowledge and perspective is so important to improve policy for society's changing needs. I have been on government advisory boards before that meet a couple of times a year, but being situated in a government office for an entire year allows for so much more.”