Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship

Practitioner counseling patient

Leaders working to alleviate inequalities and support social mobility are often keenly aware of questions that, if answered, could result in policy and practice changes that could improve lives. Yet they rarely have the time or support to explore these questions and produce answers that benefit their work and that of the field. The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship offers an opportunity for leading practitioners and their home organizations to advance evidence-based solutions in partnership with senior researchers at the Urban Institute. 

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship chooses one practitioner each fall who focuses on inequality and economic and social mobility and can pose a critical research question about their work to be answered—or at least advanced—by the research, evidence-based analysis, and evaluation done at Urban. The fellowship aims to

  • empower a practitioner in the government, nonprofit, or social enterprise sectors to partner with researchers on a research concept with significant potential to reduce inequalities and promote social mobility;
  • engage nationally recognized researchers to evaluate and synthesize the best evidence available to shed light on the issues the practitioner raises;
  • generate actionable insights that can inform policy and build the capacity of the practitioner’s home organization and others in the field to improve lives in vulnerable communities; and
  • foster a culture of researcher-practitioner collaboration so that more research draws on experience from the field and more organizations make decisions grounded in evidence.

Honoring Janice Nittoli

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship was developed with support from the Rockefeller Foundation to honor the late Janice Nittoli, the foundation’s former associate vice president and managing partner. During her distinguished career, Nittoli provided leadership and strategic direction for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Campaign for American Workers, which focused on repairing and strengthening the work-based safety net. She also was a senior executive at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation dedicated to improving the lives of low-income children, their families, and communities. Nittoli also held positions in the New York City government, including senior positions in the Department of Health, where she managed the health system for the city’s correctional facilities. She retired as president of The Century Foundation in 2014.

Throughout her career, Nittoli combined a strong commitment to removing barriers to opportunity with a belief that rigorous research and evidence-based decisionmaking could contribute to that cause. In honor of her life’s work, the Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship will support practitioners working toward social change and provide them research and strategies to improve their workplaces and communities of practice.

How It Works

The Urban Institute encourages the fellow to spend a minimum of 30 days in residence at the Urban Institute, but the time spent in residency does not need to be consecutive. The fellow receives a $70,000 stipend over the duration of the fellowship and receives funds to cover travel and lodging.

The Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship is made possible by generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation. We are grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation and to all our funders, who make it possible for Urban to advance its mission.

For more information on the fellowship’s application process, see our How to Apply page.

All inquiries regarding the fellowship can be directed to RKenney@urban.org.

 

Fellowship Highlights

In this brief, we examine the health coaching model of Harlem-based City Health Works. City Health Works coaches use an evidence-based curriculum and motivational interviewing to educate clients about their chronic disease and help them improve their nutrition, medication adherence, physical activity, stress management, and engagement with primary care providers. Lay coaches are hired locally, receive intensive training, and consult with a registered dietician/diabetes educator and a social worker. The clients we interviewed were usually effusive in their praise, and said coaching helped them better understand and manage their condition. Some credited the trusting friendships they developed with their coach as making them more receptive to their coach’s advice. Coaches focused on teaching clients how to eat healthier, and most clients reported lowered hemoglobin A1c levels and feeling better physically and emotionally.

What Do Patients with Diabetes Think of Health Coaching?