Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

La Follette’s Fletcher honored with Romnes Fellowship

La Follette’s Fletcher honored with Romnes Fellowship

Jason Fletcher, a professor of public affairs and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, received an H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

“This is a wonderful recognition of the extraordinary quality of Jason’s work,” said Professor Don Moynihan, director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs. “He is a star scholar on our campus; the type of professor that students and faculty come to study with.”

Promoted to full professor in 2016, Fletcher received his doctorate from UW-Madison in applied economics in 2006 and served as on the faculty of the Yale School of Public Health between 2006 and 2013. He is an economist who studies the intersection of health, education, public policy, and genetics.

Fletcher and Dalton Conley of Princeton University recently published The Genome Factor: What the Social Genomics Revolution Reveals about Ourselves, Our History and Our Future.

Among his many accomplishments and honors, Fletcher was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar between 2010 and 2012, and he is a current William T. Grant Scholars Award recipient (2012-2017). He has won more than $1 million in research funding at UW-Madison and has published articles in top-ranked journals of public policy, political science, sociology, labor economics, public health, demography, as well as highly visible cross-disciplinary journals.

“He is a relentless collaborator, working with co-authors from multiple policy fields (education, health) and disciplines (including political science, sociology, economics, demography, genetics, and computer science),” Moynihan wrote in his nomination.

Trained as a health economist, Fletcher has made substantial research contributions in various areas, most notably examining policy impacts on obesity in the United States. He also has contributed to a growing body of work at the intersection of health policy and education policy, where health policy is shown to be relevant to education outcomes, and vice versa.

Fletcher has been one of a handful of pioneers in what is sometimes called socio-genomics, which involves the integration of social science and genetics. This approach to policy seeks to understand how biological factors make a difference not just in human behavior, but in the efficacy of policies directed to shape that behavior.

“This form of research has both enormous promise and challenges, and Jason has been at the forefront of mapping out its possibilities for policy scholars,” Moynihan said.

Funded by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Romnes Fellowships recognize and support faculty up to six years past their first promotion to a tenured position. Recipients receive an unrestricted award to support their research. The awards are named in recognition of the late WARF Trustee President H. I. Romnes.