The Scholars in Health Policy Research Program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the most sought-after interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship program in the social sciences.  Its purpose is to foster the development of a new generation of creative thinkers in health policy research, although scholars need not have any prior experience in this field.  Scholars come from the disciplines of economics, political science, and sociology and normally return to these disciplines after their fellowship is completed. Each year, the program enables up to 12 highly qualified individuals up to five years post-Ph.D. to undertake two-year fellowships without any of the usual obligations of teaching and university administration. Four of the 12 scholars are specially selected to spend their two fellowship years at Harvard totaling 8 in residence at any one time, with the full range of the University's resources at their disposal.

The primary units participating in this Program at Harvard are the Departments of Government, Economics, and Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health; and The Institute for Quantitative Social Science, where the program's administration and scholars' offices are housed.

The Program Director is Katherine Swartz, an economist who is on the faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health. During the academic year, three Associate Directors (one from each of the three disciplines of economics, sociology, and political science) are also involved in running the program; they and five other faculty comprise an executive committee. The executive committee and members of the core faculty help select Scholars, as well as provide mentoring to Scholars while in the program. There is also a wider group of faculty who are connected to the program and they, too, serve as mentors to Scholars while in the program.