Pediatric hospitalist Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, has become the first hospitalist accepted into The White House Fellows Program, a spokeswoman for the program says.
Dr. Conway had just reported to a new job at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center when he found out he’d been accepted into the White House program. He’s serving with 14 other fellows, including one other medical professional, until August. He’ll return to Cincinnati with a deeper understanding of how physicians can affect federal health policy.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience, to see policy setting at the highest level of government,” Dr. Conway says.
Throughout the year, Dr. Conway, 33, will work in the office of Michael Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and with Carolyn Clancy, MD, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
“He’s an amazingly sharp physician who brings a great wealth of expertise, both because of the research he’s done but also in a clinical sense,” says Dr. Clancy, one of Dr. Conway’s mentors in the program. “He has a great grasp of policy.”
Dr. Conway has had to hit the ground running in his new role.
“We’re involving him directly in a number of very high-priority areas” including the improvement of healthcare quality and value, Dr. Clancy says. “He’ll be doing some research and a lot of trying to distill what we know from research to try and influence policy.”
The year will also bring another achievement: Dr. Conway will become a dad for the first time; his wife, Heather, is due March 30.
“I’m sort of peripherally involved,” he says ruefully. “I haven’t made it to any OB appointments.”
Dr. Conway, originally from College Station, Texas, received a master’s in health services research from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his MD from Baylor College of Medicine and did his pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital Boston, the primary pediatric teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School. He worked with healthcare clients as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Chicago, and he was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 2005 to 2007. He’s done volunteer work in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Ghana. When he returns to Cincinnati Children’s, he’ll resume work as assistant professor in the Center for Health Care Quality and the Division of General Pediatrics.
On the Radar
While a Robert Wood Johnson scholar, Dr. Conway’s primary mentor was Ron Keren, MD, MPH, attending physician and director of the General Pediatrics Fellowship Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They worked together on a study of the use of prophylactic antibiotics in recurrent urinary tract infections in children, published last summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study found that, contrary to expectations, prophylactic antibiotics are not associated with a lower risk of recurrent infections and are associated with a higher risk of resistant infections.1
Dr. Keren was one of the people who recommended Dr. Conway on his application for the White House fellowship.