Public Health Executive Fellowship


The Program

The Tennessee Department of Health's (TDH) Public Health Executive Fellowship is a prestigious career development and mentorship opportunity for recent graduates interested in public health. The program allows fellows to gain practical, hands-on experience addressing critical public health challenges with the support of an experienced team. More than an internship or practicum, the length of the program and full-time nature of the experience allow fellows to become integral contributors to the mission and vision of TDH.

Based in Nashville, the fellowship provides exposure to the diversity and depth of work performed in a state health department. Along the way, fellows serve as core members of the TDH team. Graduated fellows have proceeded to successful careers within TDH and have been accepted to distinguished graduate programs.  

The Position 

The Public Health Executive Fellowship is a one-year program that can be extended for a potential second year. During the first year, the fellow serves primarily in a home office, where the fellow will serve as a full-time team member alongside seasoned public health professionals. If TDH and the fellow mutually agree to a second year, the fellow will continue to serve in the home office while pursuing a capstone project. Previous projects have included a detailed history of TDH’s response to the opioid epidemic, literature reviews, and the development of resources and recommended practices for TDH programs. Previous fellows developed deliverables that were presented to the Governor and state legislature.

Fellows will apply to a home office based on their individual career goals and interests. The home office will be the primary factor in determining the fellow’s responsibilities and projects. The fellow’s work plan is also tailored to support professional growth along their desired career path. The Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Division of Family Health and Wellness are the current home offices available. A description of each home office, along with examples of responsibilities, are located below.

Home Office Descriptions: 

Office of Strategic Initiatives

The Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) is an executive-level office that supports the department's senior leaders in making the best decisions to further the trust and impact of TDH’s work to protect, promote, and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee.

OSI’s purpose statement is as follows:

    1. We guide the Department of Health’s strategic planning process.

    2. We support Tennessee’s County Health Councils with the help of
        local, regional, and central office TDH staff and TDH partners.

We do this to implement upstream, innovative solutions to public health challenges.  The strategic planning team stewards the department’s strategic planning process, facilitates strategic planning processes in TDH regions, divisions, and offices, creates tools and visualizations to highlight strategic milestones, communicates strategic updates, and evaluates strategic development.

Example Responsibilities:

  • Provide facilitation support to strategic goal teams, including management of action items, measurement of progress metrics, and mid-course adjustments to tactical action steps      
  • Support the evaluation of strategic goal team activities and other TDH initiatives
  • Develop processes and products to implement strategic planning at local and regional health departments and within central office divisions and offices
  • Assist with development of strategic plan, including dashboards, visualizations, and reporting systems
  • Assist with development of tools and resources that build capacity of County Health Councils to successfully complete their community health improvement process
  • Foster team building and community for a growing group of strategic planners within TDH
  • Conduct policy research on key legislative and population health topics, including writing issue briefs and white papers

Division of Family Health and Wellness

The Division of Family Health and Wellness (FHW) is responsible for initiatives spanning much of the life course, including women's, perinatal, infant, child and adolescent (including those with special health care needs), and adult health. We work to understand and address the needs of these populations through direct, enabling,
and system-level services, including over 30 programs such as newborn screening, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and diabetes prevention to name a few.

 Example Responsibilities:

  • Work on the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant action plan development, implementation, monitoring, and quality improvement with guidance and support from a supervisor. This federal block grant is the cornerstone of our work within the division. 
  • The fellow could also take on other projects within the division based on their interest and availability of support.
  • Training will be made available for responsibilities undertaken.


Each fellow will receive a base salary of $47,496 with State of Tennessee benefits. Information on the benefits available to state employees can be found here:


  • Graduation from an accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s program in public health or health-related field within the last twelve (12) months and prior to the start of the Fellowship (Fall 2023)
  • Ability to operate independently and confidently within a team setting
  • Flexible, self-starting, and enthusiastic about learning new concepts
  • Proficiency with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is required

All questions should be directed to Casie Higginbotham, Academic Health Department Coordinator, at