Nicole Ruggiano, associate professor of social work, has been selected a 2018-2019 American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow Program Health and Aging Policy Fellow.

As a Congressional Fellow, Dr. Ruggiano will conduct a year-long health policy project with policymakers in Washington, D.C. with a focus on improving health and supportive services for older adults with dementia and their family caregivers, especially those in rural communities.

Fellows represent outstanding scholars and practitioners from across a range of disciplines who promise to continue the tradition of excellence in shaping policies for older Americans. Dr. Ruggiano, interim director of the UA School of Social Work’s DSW Program, also will receive intensive training in health policy and career development opportunities.

With an aging population, one of the greatest challenges for the U.S. is ensuring that policies provide the best possible quality of life for all across all dimensions of society – from the communities where we live, the transportation we depend on, the food we eat, and the health care we receive. Success will require the translation of cutting-edge science and practical clinical experience into sound health policy. The goal of the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program is to provide professionals in health and aging with the experience and skills necessary to help lead this effort, and in so doing, shape a healthy and productive future for older Americans.

Dr. Ruggiano’s research focuses on community-based services for older adults with chronic conditions, dementia caregiving, health information technology, health policy and health self-management. She also is a John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Scholar.

About the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program

Fellows are selected each year through a national competition based on their commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential, and interest in impacting policy. The program has a broad interdisciplinary focus, and fellows have included physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, dieticians, healthcare administrators, epidemiologists, economists, and lawyers from academic and practice settings, spanning career stages from newly minted PhDs to senior professors and community leaders. The program is open to U.S. citizens at all career stages. The program seeks to achieve racial, ethnic, gender, and discipline diversity; applicants from groups that historically have been underrepresented are strongly encouraged to apply.