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Sheridan Fuller Named Robert Wood Johnson Scholar

IPR graduate research assistant will seek to advance “culture of health”


Sheridan Fuller
Sheridan Fuller focuses on how families'
interactions with the social safety net influence
the direction of their lives.

IPR graduate research assistant Sheridan Fuller is one of 40 students nationwide who has been named a 2018 Health Policy Research Scholar by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

The leadership development program is designed for second-year doctoral students who are interested in translating their research into evidence-based health policy. As part of the program, Fuller will learn how to advance a “culture of health,” enabling people to live longer, healthier lives both now and for future generations. This is the third year the foundation has made the awards, which are valued at $120,000 each and will be disbursed over the next four to five years.

Fuller, who is a human development and social policy doctoral student in Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, focuses on how families’ interactions with the social safety net influence the direction of their lives, including their long-term health.

His research interests stem from his time as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). While at HHS, Fuller saw how economic stability, such as that provided by cash assistance programs, can shape health outcomes.

“More research describing the benefits and costs of early financial investments on child and family health outcomes would broaden the policy discourse,” Fuller said. “It could expand our understanding of the effectiveness of the social safety net while also addressing an important driver of health inequity.”

Fuller’s desire to shape policy with research led him to Northwestern, where he is advised by IPR Director Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist whose research focuses on safety net programs.

“Sheridan is emblematic of an emerging generation of scholars,” Schanzenbach said. “This award will enhance his research training and policy experience, boosting his ability to find innovative solutions to build healthier and more equitable communities." 

Fuller’s goal is to actively integrate his research interests and training with his professional policy background to influence the design and implementation of policies that improve the health and well-being of children and families.

“I’m excited about participating in the Health Policy Research Scholars program because the program complements the toolkit and skills I am developing at Northwestern so that I can make meaningful contributions to these important policy issues,” Fuller said.