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Policy Honors Program


The Policy Honors Program (PHP) at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing encourages students to explore the ways that health care providers can engage with policymakers in any area of nursing they pursue. Graduates work to improve the health of individuals and diverse communities locally and globally, and this program provides students with a foundation of skills to address critical health challenges and be more effective change agents and leaders.

Students who are eligible for this two-semester program will have successfully completed their first semester of the MSN Entry into Nursing Program. Selected students will be paired with a faculty mentor after an interview and matching process.

The PHP seminar course must be taken both semesters that the student participates in the program. Discussions and assignments will provide opportunities for students to identify and evaluate – and then influence – local, state, federal, and global policy issues. Students will be introduced to common approaches to policy advocacy and gain the skills and confidence to connect with policymakers. Through the assignment of varied writing and presentation exercises, students will advance their ability to effectively communicate their analyses and policy proposals. In their second semester, students will produce a policy-relevant project.

This program will help strengthen students’ analytical and communication skills, learn how conflicting perspectives of health care stakeholders impact policy decisions, and provide an opportunity to learn from policy experts and seasoned advocates across a range of disciplines.

Program Details
  • 2 semesters
  • Onsite
  • Open to current JHSON MSN Entry into Nursing students


We will open the Policy Honors program application on March 11th and it will close on March 29, 2024.  Interviews will be held April 8-19, 2024.

  • Students who have successfully completed their first semester of the JHSON MSN Entry to Nursing program are eligible to participate.

  • Students may not co-enroll into the Policy Honors Program with either the Research Honors Program or the Fuld Fellows Program.

  • Program entry is competitive based on an evaluation of the application questions and essay.

  • Applicants should demonstrate an interest in health policy and advocacy.

  • Only those applications submitted by the due date will be considered.

  • Finalists will interview with faculty mentors in a two-way matching process.

  • Policy Honors Program participants will be enrolled in a 1 credit (pass/fail) seminar each of the two semesters.

  • Participants will work with their faculty mentor on policy-relevant projects throughout the program, attend discussion-based seminars, and complete required activities.

  • Students will present their final project in class.

The 2023 Policy Honors Program will be taught by Sarah Szanton, PhD, RN, Dean and Patricia M. Davidson Professor for Health Equity and Social Justice and Natalia Barolin, BSN, RN, Senior Health Policy Advisor in the Dean’s office.  Dean Szanton is leading JHSON’s bold vision to reshape nursing and influence health care for the next century. Nurses are ideally situated to lead a vision of health for all, and this program is a new addition to JHSON’s curriculum preparing graduates for the important work promoting whole-person and population health.

The distinguished mentors and areas of policy study for the 2023 Spring, Summer and Fall semesters are:

All of these mentors regularly engage with policymakers and advocates and will share their tremendous expertise with their mentees and all of the participants in the program.

The program director and mentors will change every year. Students interested in the program should ask questions during the interview process to ensure the areas of policy study of their mentor is a good match with their area of interest.

“The Policy Honors Program is part of our bold vision to reshape nursing and influence health for the next century. We want to introduce students early on to the impact they can have engaging in policy. As more nurses are involved in policy and advocacy, more people will have access to care and better outcomes in life.”

Dean Sarah Szanton, PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN