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FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellowship

If you wish to receive a reminder for the next Call for Application, please
Download the 2014 Call for Applications FOR REFERENCE: 2014-2015 Call for Applications

Launched in 2012, this regulatory science fellowship is a collaborative program between the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). It is designed for mid-career professionals to gain experience and expertise to further define and develop the field of regulatory science as it relates to the regulation of tobacco products and FDA's new authorities under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

The fellowship is a 12-month, multidisciplinary residential program at CTP in Maryland. Fellows will be placed in one of six areas within the CTP: Compliance and Enforcement; Health Communication and Education; Management; Policy; Regulations; or Science.

Fellows are expected to complete the full 12-month residential fellowship. Each fellow will be awarded up to $95,000 based on salary history. Fellows may choose to enroll in a health insurance plan through the IOM or get reimbursed for a Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act plan (COBRA). Fellows with a sponsoring institution may be compensated for fringe benefits. In addition, each fellow may be eligible to receive a relocation fund (not to exceed $10,000).

Eligibility Criteria

Exceptional professionals with a minimum of five to seven years of experience are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals of the United States, or have been admitted to the United States for permanent residence and have a valid green card number before applying to the program, and must have an advanced degree in one of the fields listed below.

  • Behavioral Science
  • Biomedical Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Consumer Education
  • Economics, Political Science, and other Social Sciences such as Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology
  • Law
  • Medicine/Nursing
  • Physical Science and Toxicology
  • Public Health, including Public Health Ethics
  • Public Policy/Public Administration

NOTE: All degree requirements (including thesis or dissertation defense) must be complete before the program start date of September 8, 2015.

For any questions, call (202) 334-1506 or email info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

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Fellowship

The fellowship is a 12-month, multidisciplinary residential program at CTP in Maryland. Fellows will be placed in one of six areas within the CTP: Compliance and Enforcement; Health Communication and Education; Management; Policy; Regulations; or Science. Click on the Placements tab for a description of each office.

Fellowship Core Curriculum

This is an excellent opportunity for exceptional professionals to actively participate in the development of science-based public health strategies, serve as the lead for defined projects, meet with policy leaders, and develop new knowledge, skills, and experiences related to tobacco products and their use, which is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Fellows will participate in structured orientation and professional development activities, including opportunities to meet with FDA, CTP, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leadership.

Each fellow will be given a specific project assignment to work on over the course of the fellowship year. The fellowship culminates with formal presentations by each fellow to the CTP leadership and others describing the outcome of that project and lessons learned while participating in the fellowship program.

Stipend and Benefits

Fellows are expected to complete the full 12-month residential fellowship at CTP in Maryland. Each fellow will be awarded up to $95,000 based on salary history. Fellows may choose to enroll in a health insurance plan through the IOM or get reimbursed for a Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act plan (COBRA). Fellows with a sponsoring institution may be compensated for fringe benefits. In addition, each fellow may be eligible to receive a relocation fund (not to exceed $10,000).

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Placements

FDA Mission

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the regulatory, scientific, public health and consumer protection agency responsible for ensuring that all human and animal drugs, and medical devices are safe and effective, that cosmetics, foods, food additives, drugs and medicated feeds for food producing animals, and radiation emitting devices are safe, and for regulating tobacco products to protect the public health.

FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP)

The CTP was established by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 22, 2009. Its mission is to protect Americans from tobacco-related death and disease by regulating the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products, and by educating the public, especially young people, about tobacco products and the dangers their use poses to themselves and others.

CTP Offices

Office of Compliance and Enforcement

The Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) activities ensure that regulated industry fully complies with the law. To achieve this end, OCE uses a three pronged approach: 1) developing and providing compliance training and education, 2) monitoring regulated industry's compliance with the law through surveillance, inspections, and investigations, and 3) initiating advisory and enforcement actions such as issuing Warning Letters and Civil Money Penalties against noncompliant industry, as appropriate. Some of the major functions that OCE is responsible for include: contracting with states and territories to conduct compliance check inspections of tobacco product retailers; surveillance of promotional activities of tobacco product manufacturers and distributors; compliance review of tobacco product document submissions; providing small businesses with the technical assistance they need to comply with requirements of the law; and implementing, overseeing, and enforcing the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act that regulate the sale, manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products. OCE seeks individuals with excellent writing, analytical, and communication skills. They should be able to analyze legal and compliance issues and work well as part of a team. A background in law, health care, law enforcement, marketing, science, or public health is recommended.

Office of Health Communication and Education

The Office of Health Communication and Education educates the public about the Tobacco Control Act, FDA's regulatory authorities, and the tobacco products that the FDA regulates. Through this office, FDA conducts multiple, integrated public health campaigns focused on preventing tobacco initiation and promoting cessation among the nation's youth and young adults by educating on the dangers of regulated tobacco products. The Office seeks expertise of behavioral scientists, tobacco and public health experts in risk communications, and other professionals with experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations.

Office of Management

The Office of Management provides objective, valid, accurate information and guidance on human capital, travel, information technology, financial management, training, and logistical services to enhance operations and support the public health goals and objectives of the CTP. The Office empowers the pursuit of public health and regulatory achievement by providing excellence and high quality services - attracting, retaining, and developing a world-class workforce. The Office seeks individuals with excellent writing, analytical, and communication skills, and a strong desire to work in public service. The Office is interested in individuals with a Master's of Public Administration Degree, a Master's of Public Policy Degree, or a Master's of Business Administration Degree.

Office of Policy

The Office of Policy works closely with the CTP Director and its offices to provide policy, legal, and economic analysis on a wide range of priorities, options, and issues. The Office works to ensure that the CTP's statutory public health goals and policy needs are integrated across all science, regulation, compliance, public education, and management programs. In addition, the Office provides public health and economic analysis and modeling of policy options, and works closely with all CTP offices on evolving issues in tobacco product regulation and control, such as impact on population health, development of tobacco product standards, modified risk products, and regulation of tobacco product marketing. The Office also engages with external stakeholders to inform and educate them about the policy implications of the Tobacco Control Act and FDA regulations and to gather useful facts and insights. The Office relies on individuals with expertise and backgrounds in the law, economics including cost-benefit analysis, public policy, and public health.

Office of Regulations

The Office of Regulations leads and coordinates the development of regulations, guidelines, and other regulatory documents related to the review and regulation of tobacco products. It also is responsible for responding to citizen petitions, obtaining appropriate delegations of authority, and managing the CTP's information collection activities. The Office serves as the Center's experts on issues involving the interpretation and application of the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable laws, Executive Orders, and FDA/HHS/OMB policies. The Office works closely with other CTP offices as well as FDA's Office of the Chief Counsel and Office of the Commissioner. The Office of Regulations is currently seeking fellows with the ability to analyze complicated legal, scientific, and policy issues as well as excellent verbal and written communication skills. Candidates with expertise in administrative law issues are particularly desirable.

Office of Science

The Office of Science provides the scientific expertise needed to support regulatory decisions, reviews tobacco product applications, evaluates the knowledge base for regulatory decisions, and carries out research to fill the gaps in scientific knowledge related to tobacco product regulation. To accomplish this, the Office conducts product-related, toxicological, clinical, consumer behavior, epidemiological, and consumer perception research regarding the initiation, use, cessation, and adverse health impact of tobacco products. Currently, the Office seeks candidates who have advanced education (Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent) and experience relevant to methods of reporting and analyzing constituent concentrations in tobacco products; analysis of exposure parameters in diverse tobacco-using populations; the toxicological basis of dose-response relationships between constituents and tobacco-related disease; assessing the risks of tobacco products to users and nonusers; human health risk assessment modeling; qualitative and quantitative research on the impacts of product labeling, advertising, or marketing on consumer perceptions and behaviors; epidemiology in both clinical studies and large surveys evaluating the impact of tobacco product use on biomarkers of exposure and disease.

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How to Apply

The 2015 Call for Applications (CFA) will be available beginning January 5, 2015. The deadline to submit all application materials via the electronic application system is 5:00 pm (ET) on March 2, 2015.

FOR REFERENCE: Download the 2014 Call for Applications 2014-2015 Call for Applications

Helpful tips to help you prepare your application:

  • Read the Call for Applications before registering and beginning your online application.
  • Go to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to read questions from past applicants and answers provided by the program office.
  • Register for one or both of the informational webinars to receive an overview of the fellowship program and ask questions. Webinars will be held on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:00 am (ET) and Thursday, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm (ET).

Eligibility Criteria

Exceptional professionals with a minimum of five to seven years of experience are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals of the United States, or have been admitted to the United States for permanent residence and have a valid green card number before applying to the program, and must have an advanced degree in one of the fields listed below.

  • Behavioral Science
  • Biomedical Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Consumer Education
  • Economics, Political Science, and other Social Sciences such as Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology
  • Law
  • Medicine/Nursing
  • Physical Science and Toxicology
  • Public Health, including Public Health Ethics
  • Public Policy/Public Administration

Note: All degree requirements (including thesis or dissertation defense) must be complete before the program start date of September 8, 2015.

Selection Criteria

Fellows will be selected through a national competition on the basis of:

  • Professional Achievements
  • Expertise in an Area of Relevance to the CTP
  • Quality of Essays
  • Quality of Letters of Recommendation

If you are selected as a finalist, you must participate in an in-person interview at the IOM in Washington, DC. Important dates for selection, notification, and interviews are listed under "Key Dates" section on the right.

Online Application

Submit all application materials via the electronic application system by 5:00pm (ET) on March 2, 2015. The online application consists of the following sections:

  • Eligibility - Answer questions regarding your eligibility to apply
  • Personal Information - Provide your contact information
  • Education   Employment - Respond to questions about education and employment
  • References - Identify three (3) references and provide their name, phone number, and email address
  • Uploads - Prepare and upload the following required supporting documents
    • Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) (no page limit)
    • A one-page Biography (limited to 300 words - Please do not use the biosketch format required for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application)
    • Two (2) Essays in response to the topics below (each limited to 300 words)
      • Explain how this fellowship would contribute to your career development
      • Describe an instance or an issue related to your discipline which challenged you to come up with an innovative and collaborative problem-solving solution

For any questions, call (202) 334-1506 or email info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

Information Webinars

There will be two information webinars for any interested applicants to receive an overview of the fellowship program and ask questions. Webinars will be held on Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:00 am (ET) and Thursday, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm (ET). Register for one or both of the informational webinars to receive an overview of the fellowship program and ask questions.

For any questions, call (202) 334-1506 or email info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org

2013 Fellows

Sara Bodnar, M.P.H..

Sara Bodnar, M.P.H.
Office of Policy, FDA/CTP

Sara Bodnar most recently served as the Regulatory Analyst within the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention   Tobacco Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). At NYC DOHMH, she identified and promoted effective regulatory mechanisms that help tobacco users quit, and also tracked emerging issues relating to tobacco control and health care. Prior to joining NYC DOHMH, Bodnar served as a Research Associate at Yale University for a clinical trial assessing the efficacy of a tobacco cessation intervention in an emergency department, and directly counseled patients in helping them end their tobacco use. She also worked in public affairs at New York Methodist Hospital, and contributed to numerous media-based initiatives that promoted hospital programs in the community. Her interest in public health began seven years ago when she was reporting on health issues for leading national magazines. She earned a BA from Bowdoin College, a MPH from Yale University, as well as various academic distinctions, including Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Amy Henes, M.P.H.

Amy Henes, M.P.H.
Office of Policy, FDA/CTP

Prior to the fellowship, Amy Henes served as Senior Program Analyst for the tobacco and diabetes projects at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). In this role, she provided training and technical assistance to local health departments, facilitated dialogue with local program staff across the country, and disseminated information about national policies, emerging issues, and challenges at the community level. Henes began her career in tobacco control as Communications Manager at the American Lung Association of New York, where she promoted advocacy initiatives and led campaigns to improve lung health, especially in the areas of asthma, influenza, and tobacco-related diseases. Previously, she worked in the communications department of Parenting magazine. Henes received her MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was elected to the Theta Chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society, and her BA from Amherst College.

Darren Mays, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Darren Mays, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Office of Science, FDA/CTP

Darren Mays is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and member of the Cancer Prevention   Control Program at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC). Mays's training is in public health with a focus on behavioral sciences, or the interplay between health, behavior, and society. His research interests lie in understanding how to design high-impact public health interventions to prevent cancer by targeting behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use. Mays's work in this area includes studies to prevent youth smoking uptake and promote cessation among young adults. Ongoing studies include experiments to determine how persuasive smoking prevention messages, health warning labels, and other tobacco packaging regulations can be optimally designed to influence tobacco-related perceptions and behaviors. This work examines diverse contexts of implementation for these interventions (e.g., healthcare and community settings) and leverages novel experimental and assessment methods (e.g., behavioral experiments, neuroimaging). In addition to his work on tobacco prevention and control, Mays is also involved in research examining health behaviors, health promotion, and health outcomes among adolescent survivors of pediatric cancer. Mays earned his PhD and MPH in behavioral sciences from Emory University, and his BA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Xiaoquan Zhao, Ph.D.

Xiaoquan Zhao, Ph.D.
Office of Health Communication and Education, FDA/CTP

Xiaoquan Zhao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the George Mason University. Zhao's general research areas are health and risk communication, persuasion, media effects, and information seeking. The substantive topics of his work include smoking, drug use, cancer, medical adherence, and climate change. Zhao's recent projects include research on the effectiveness of graphic warning labels on cigarette packets, evaluation of climate change communication campaigns featuring TV meteorologists as message sources, and studies of self-affirmation as a method to reduce resistance to health and risk communication messages. Zhao has published in leading journals both within and outside of the field of communication, such as the Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, and Nature Climate Change. His work has received support from both public and private foundations. Zhao received his PhD in communication from the University of Pennsylvania, his MA in mass communication from Indiana University, his MA in English linguistics from Beijing University, and his BA in English language and literature from Shaanxi Teacher's University in China.

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2012 Fellows

Atanaska Dineva, M.S.M.

Atanaska Dineva, M.S.M.
Office of Health Communication and Education
FDA/CTP

Atanaska (Nasi) Dineva joined FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) as an inaugural FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellow in the Office of Health Communication and Education. Her fellowship project focused on evaluating CTP's communication efforts with stakeholders and identifying opportunities to increase their reach and impact. Dineva has over 10 years' experience working in tobacco control at the local, state, national, and international levels. Prior to joining CTP, she was a communications associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). In this capacity, she developed and implemented communication strategies to effectively disseminate the work of JHSPH's Institute for Global Tobacco Control through multiple channels, including the Web and electronic media. She also supported the Institute's capacity building activities under the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use and played an instrumental role in the development, translation, and dissemination of JHSPH's online training, Global Tobacco Control: Learning from the Experts. Dineva received her MS in marketing from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business and a BA in communication and mass media studies from Goucher College.

Candice Jongsma, Ph.D..

Candice Jongsma, Ph.D.
Office of Science
FDA/CTP

Candice Jongsma served as an inaugural FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellow in the Office of Science. Prior to joining CTP, Jongsma worked as a research chemist for ConocoPhillips where she established the Analytical Sciences Liquid Chromatography Laboratory. Her responsibilities included serving as lead scientist on method development projects, coaching scientists and engineers in the basics of liquid chromatography, and providing guidance and oversight to multiple laboratories utilizing chromatography to develop biofuels, fuel additives, and to improve refinery processes. Jongsma received her PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M University and BS in chemistry and biology from Grand Valley State University. She completed a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Jongsma's research experience includes using chromatography to study organic molecules, proteins, and polymers in complex matrices

Elizabeth Laposata, J.D.

Elizabeth Laposata, J.D.
Office of Policy
FDA/CTP

Elizabeth Laposata was an inaugural fellow in the Office of Policy at the FDA/CTP. Before becoming an FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellow, she worked at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. In that capacity, she conducted research into the tobacco industry documents to examine tobacco industry tactics to affect state laws. Prior to that position, Laposata worked in childhood obesity as well as tobacco control at the Public Health Law and Policy (now Changelab Solutions), where she helped draft model ordinances. Laposata received her JD from University of California, Hastings, her MPH in environmental health sciences from University of California, Berkeley, and her BS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Frequently Asked Questions

General Program Information

Q: How many fellows will be selected this year?
A: The program seeks six fellows to serve in each of the CTP Offices.

Q: How long is the fellowship program?
A: This is a 12-month program, which runs from September until August of the following year.

Q: What is the start date?
A: Fellows typically start on Monday after the Labor Day.

Q: Can a fellow split his/her time between the home institution and CTP so that the fellowship is a part-time residential experience?
A: Fellows are expected to commit 100% of their time from the first day of orientation in September until the end of the following August.

Q: What are examples of experiences offered by the program?
A: Fellows will participate in structured orientation and professional development activities, including opportunities to meet with FDA, CTP, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leadership. In addition, fellows will have opportunities to participate in DC-based fellowship activities and gatherings under the direction of the Office of Health Policy Educational Programs and Fellowships at the Institute of Medicine.

Q: Can a fellow extend the fellowship time?
A: There is no option to extend the fellowship beyond the 12 months.

Q: What happens after the fellowship regarding work opportunities at FDA?
A: This is a fellowship program that offers an educational opportunity. Fellows may return to the employment that they held prior to the fellowship or seek new opportunities with the knowledge, skills, and experiences gained through the fellowship.

Q: Where can I get more information about the program?
A: For more information, please visit the Fellowship tab or contact the fellowship office at (202) 334-1506 or info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

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Eligibility

Q: Is the fellowship open to U.S. permanent residents (green card holders)?
A: Yes, applicants must have been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence and have a valid green card number before applying to the program.

Q: Am I eligible to apply if I will get my Master's degree in August?
A:Yes, all degree requirements (including thesis or dissertation defense) must be completed before the program start date.

Q: Is there any age limit for the applicant?
A: No.

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Application Process

Q: Can I apply to be placed in more than one participating CTP office?
A: Yes, you may indicate up to three CTP Offices as your preferred fellowship placement in the online application. Please bear in mind that due to the limited number of available fellowships, your placement in a specific CTP office cannot be guaranteed.

Q: Is there a preference regarding who should write the reference letters?
A: No, applicants are free to choose any individuals to write the reference letters. However, reference letters provided by individuals who know you well and can speak to your professional achievements, expertise in an area of relevance to the CTP, and potential during the fellowship and beyond tend to be most helpful for an applicant.

Q: Can an applicant forward the reference letters to the fellowship office? Or do they need to be submitted directly via the online application system?
A: All reference letters should be submitted by the reference writers via the online application system. Applications cannot be submitted unless all the sections-including the References section-are complete. If there are any technical difficulties, please contact the fellowship office immediately at (202) 334-1506 or info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

Q: Is there any flexibility on the deadline for reference writers to submit their letters?
A: If there are any technical difficulties, please contact the fellowship office immediately at (202) 334-1506 or info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

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Selection Process

Q: Who makes the final decisions?
A: The selection committee makes the final decisions. It consists of the director or a delegate of each of the participating FDA CTP Offices and experts in the field from outside the CTP.

Q: How is an applicant's background used to determine which FDA CTP office would be most interested in a specific candidate?
A: Education and work experiences provide a strong indication of individual competencies. To the extent possible, this fellowship draws upon past professional accomplishments while offering the opportunity to add new skills and abilities.

Q: What type of work experience would be considered when assessing whether a candidate has the number of required years of work experience?
A: Any paid or unpaid work experiences relevant to the wide range of professional skillsets at the FDA CTP are considered when determining whether an applicant has the requisite background.

Q: What professional accomplishments would you recommend candidates highlighting in their applications? Would academic accomplishments also be considered when assessing applications?
A: All relevant professional accomplishments should be highlighted and academic accomplishments are highly valued in the evaluation of all applicants.

Q: Can you share the background of last year's fellow?

A: Yes, please visit the 2013 Fellows and 2012 Fellows tabs to read the bios of the fellows who participated in the program.

Q: Can current fellows be contacted by applicants?
A: Yes, applicants may contact current fellows. Please note that all program correspondence will originate through the fellowship office.

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Benefits and Pay

Q: What is the stipend?
A: Each fellow will be awarded a stipend of up to $95,000 based on salary history. Exact stipend amounts will only be provided to those applicants who receive tentative offer letters.

Q: Will the fellows receive benefits?
A: Fellows may choose to enroll in a health insurance plan through the IOM or get reimbursed for a COBRA plan. Fellows with a sponsoring institution may be compensated for fringe benefits. In addition, fellows may receive a monthly reimbursement of up to $50 to compensate for travel expenses related to fellowship meetings held offsite. For more information, please contact the fellowship office at (202) 334-1506 or info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

Q: Is there an additional budget for training while participating in the fellowship?
A: The fellowship program provides funding for the fellows to participate in specific learning opportunities during their 12-month fellowship, which will enable them to fulfill their work responsibilities. These opportunities may include travel to a tobacco industry site, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and approved conference attendances.

Q: Is there a moving allowance or relocation assistance?
A: Yes. Each fellow may be eligible to receive a relocation fund (not to exceed $10,000). For more information, please contact the fellowship office at (202) 334-1506 or info@tobaccoregulatorysciencefellowship.org.

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