When Las Vegas pediatric oncologist and hematologist Ron Kline leaves Las Vegas this month for a year in Washington, D.C., it won’t be for a new job or an extended vacation. Instead, he’ll be wrestling with how to fix the nation’s notoriously costly and arcane health care system. Kline is one of six recipients of the National Health Policy Fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—a good sign that Las Vegas’ often-criticized healthcare sector includes some dedicated idealists.
Why undertake a fellowship in healthcare policy instead of pediatric cancer research, your specialization?
Since college I’ve always done medicine and policy. I was one of a few pre-med students to do student government. I chose to do medicine and have no regrets, but this will be a great opportunity to explore my other passion.
The award can be used for a second year in Washington or to fund work in fellows’ home states. What’s your plan?
I will see what opportunities present themselves in D.C. and here in Nevada. I certainly enjoy clinical medicine, and I can see myself doing some hybrid of those two.
Do you have political aspirations?
I don’t envision myself running for public office, but I do see myself in a staff position. Part of the reason I’m going back to D.C. is because I’ve always done medicine first and politics as a secondary cause. If I have a chance to do policy at the highest level, I can find out if it’s something I enjoy and could do more with.