The goal of the ACL/NCOA National Falls Prevention Fellowship Program is to cultivate leaders who will explore research and champion systems change solutions focused on mitigating older adult falls, falls risk factors, and fall-related injuries to reduce the personal and financial costs of older adult falls and improve the lives of older adults. 

What are the objectives of the National Falls Prevention Fellowship Program?

  1. Increase and enhance leadership in falls prevention 
  2. Increase fellows' knowledge and skills in falls prevention policy, service delivery, and research
  3. Produce novel practices and systems change solutions that address gaps in knowledge and barriers to reducing falls, falls risk factors, and fall-related injuries among older adults

What is the National Falls Prevention Fellowship Program?

The National Falls Prevention Fellowship Program aims to cultivate leaders in the falls prevention network. Up to four fellows will each be awarded up to $50,000 to conduct a policy, research, and/or programmatic project that addresses systemic barriers to preventing falls. Fellows will be selected based on their: experience; commitment to falls prevention issues; leadership potential; and interest in systems change approaches to reduce falls, falls risk factors, and fall-related injuries, aiming to improve the lives of older adults and reduce the personal and financial costs of older adult falls. The fellowship program has an interdisciplinary focus and seeks applicants who are forward-thinking individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests including addressing the needs of traditionally underserved populations at high risk for falls.  

Core components of the year-long fellowship will include: engagement with a broad range of national experts from public, private, and non-profit sectors to foster collaboration across diverse sectors; development opportunities to enhance fellows’ knowledge around key falls prevention and related issues; mentorship to develop leadership skills and build knowledge and skills that support fellows’ career goals and enhance their ability to affect change; and monthly meetings with the NCOA Policy and Advocacy Team to provide insight into the policy-making process and regulations that impact health and social care concerning falls and injury prevention, aiming to foster systems change approaches and solutions that reduce falls among older adults in the U.S.   

Fellows will create a fellowship plan and individualized learning objectives in collaboration with NCOA to ensure that the fellowship experience supports their current and long-term goals. NCOA will review these plans with each fellow during regular meetings throughout the program to identify areas for assistance as needed.

Fellows will develop and implement a capstone project that identifies and addresses a barrier, problem, or need related to falls among older adults and is designed to have long-term impact and significant contributions to the field. These projects may vary in topic, but all will share the theme of systems change approaches to reduce falls, falls risk factors, and fall-related injuries. They should demonstrate the potential to impact policy, contribute knowledge, build partnerships, develop solutions, and/or identify collaborative strategies encompassing clinical, community, and technological interventions to advance the recognition and management of older adult falls as a chronic condition. Capstone projects may include studies, practical experience at regulatory agencies and/or organizations, workshops, public lectures, or other professional experiences. Capstone project topics will be determined by each fellow in collaboration with NCOA, ACL, and the Fellowship Advisory Committee.

Fellows will present their capstone project plans at NCOA’s National Falls Prevention Summit, Sept. 9-10 in Arlington, Virginia, and submit a paper to a peer reviewed journal on the capstone project process and/or findings.


This fellowship opportunity is open to applicants from diverse backgrounds and interests,including, but not limited to, practitioners, clinicians, academics, and community leaders. The fellowship program seeks forward-thinking individuals who contribute diverse perspectives related to race, ethnicity, gender, and discipline. Candidates from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or its territories who have career plans and anticipate continued work in the U.S. after the fellowship period. It is expected that, barring unforeseen emergencies, fellows will engage in the fellowship for the full one-year tenure of the award. We seek to award fellows at any point in their career trajectory, with at least 5 years of relevant experience.

Application timeline

Application portal opens

April 1, 2024

Information sessions

Watch recorded session 
(passcode: ezD@R@z2)
Please see the Frequently asked questions section below for questions answered during the information sessions.

Submission deadline

May 17, 2024 (3 p.m. ET)

Notification of fellowship awardees

July 26, 2024

Fellowship program

Aug. 1, 2024 - July 31, 2025

Capstone Project Plan presentations

Sept. 9-10, 2024

How do I apply for the National Falls Prevention Fellowship Program?

The fellowship application consists of three essay questions and supporting documents including a CV/resume and three letters of reference (one from applicants’ current institution or organization and two from colleagues or mentors). Learn more or complete an application.

Applicants should log in to the application portal and familiarize themselves with the online application requirements well before the submission deadline. Please note that in the 24-hour period leading up to the application deadline, staff may not be able to assist all applicants with any system-related issues. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application well before the deadline so that any unforeseen difficulties or technical problems may be addressed in advance.

While late submissions will not be accepted, NCOA may choose, at its sole discretion, to extend the application deadline for all applicants. NCOA strives to give all applicants any support needed to successfully submit their application prior to the deadline. Submission is defined as all sections completed, marked finished, the application “submit” button used, and the application status shows “Submitted.”

Frequently asked questions

What are the fellowship selection criteria?

Selection criteria are based on experience, commitment to falls prevention issues, leadership potential, and interest in developing systems change that would have a long-term impact on reducing falls, falls risk factors, and fall-related injuries to improve the lives of older adults.

What are examples of fellowship topics you would like to see in the applications?

Fellowship topics may include but are not limited to falls prevention in relation to:

  • Age-friendly communities
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Emergency response services/first responders
  • Health disparities
  • Health systems
  • Health technology
  • Home and community-based services
  • Clinical and community models of care
  • Housing
  • Nutrition
  • Implementation science
  • Interprofessional practice and education
  • Long-term care and long-term services and supports
  • Person-centered care
  • Policy and/or regulatory change
  • Public health
  • Rural health
  • Service delivery
  • Social determinants of health

Fellows are also encouraged to explore how the field could move toward recognizing and managing older adult falls as a chronic condition. 

What personal qualities, skills, or experiences is the program seeking?

The program seeks forward-thinking individuals who are willing to challenge themselves. They will demonstrate leadership in their work, initiative, curiosity, openness to new ideas, and problem-solving skills. Other preferred qualities include critical thinking, strong written and verbal communication skills, a commitment to their work, and an understanding of the U.S. heath and aging policy landscape.

What is the estimated time commitment each month of the fellowship?

Fellows will devote an estimated 10-15 hours per month of the one-year fellowship to fellowship meetings and planning and conducting the capstone project, plus participation in a two-day National Falls Prevention Summit in Arlington, VA where they will present on their capstone project plan. The Summit is scheduled for September 9-10, 2024.

Can multiple individuals apply for the fellowship from a single organization?

Yes. An application should be submitted by an individual, and multiple individuals from the same organization may submit separate applications.

Can two people apply as co-fellows?

No. The fellowship program was designed for individuals, and unfortunately cannot accommodate co-fellows.

What are the requirements of my organization to support the fellowship if I am granted one?

There are no specific requirements of organizations if their employee is awarded a fellowship. Applicants should ensure they can balance their commitment to the fellowship program with their work responsibilities. Fellows must confirm that there is no conflict with their involvement in the fellowship program with their employer, if awarded.

What type of organization is required?

No organization is required to apply for the fellowship or complete the fellowship application.

Are American Indian tribes included? Can a support letter be from a tribal leader?

American Indian Tribe members are eligible and encouraged to apply to the fellowship. If the applicant is employed or has a supervisor, the first letter of reference should come from that person, including if that person is a tribal leader. The second or third letter may come from a tribal leader, as well. 

Does academic experience qualify as relevant experience in terms of eligibility requirements? 

Yes, academic experience qualifies as relevant experience for eligibility.

If I am self-employed, can I have another associate provide a reference?

If self-employed, you may request a letter of reference from a former supervisor, director, or leader. Another associate may also provide a letter of reference that supports your qualifications for the fellowship program.

Are the application questions available outside of the application itself or do you have to create a profile to see each section?

Applicants must create a profile in the application portal and complete the LOI form to access the application questions.

Does the LOI have to be submitted sooner than the application?

Yes, the LOI must be submitted in the application portal to open and access the fellowship application.

Can I save my work while filling out the application? 

When writing your application, we strongly recommend that you draft your responses in a Word document and then copy and paste the responses into the online application form. You can save the application before submitting, and we advise that you save your application draft frequently.  

What will fellows present about their capstone projects at the National Falls Prevention Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on Sept. 9-10, 2024?

Fellows will discuss their plan for their capstone project at the National Falls Prevention Summit. This will include an overview of the problem their project aims to address, capstone project overview, goals and objectives, target populations, geographic scope of work, and anticipated impact and outcomes.

What if I am awarded the fellowship and I cannot present at the National Falls Prevention Summit in September?

If a fellowship awardee cannot present on their capstone project plan at the National Falls Prevention Summit, they should identify a colleague or other person to present in their place.

Will I need to pay for travel to the National Falls Prevention Summit in September?

Fellows’ travel and lodging expenses for the National Falls Prevention Summit presentations will be covered separately from the Fellowship stipend.  

May a fellow complete a capstone project associated with an organization and then expand upon the research for that now-completed capstone project?

The capstone project remains the fellows’ intellectual property and they may build upon it post-fellowship as they choose.

As part of the fellowship, fellows will submit a manuscript on their capstone project process and/or findings to a peer reviewed journal. Is it the expectation that the journal article will be completed in the same year as the fellowship?

No, fellows are to submit a manuscript to a peer reviewed journal as part of the fellowship, but it is not expected that the article will be completed in the same year as the fellowship.

If awarded, am I able to have the stipend directed to my organization to pay for my time instead of having it paid to me as an individual?

Yes, the stipend can be directed to an organization that employs a fellow and can be used for time spent by the fellow on the funded fellowship project, but not on other programs/projects/research that the fellow may be working on at their place of employment.

Can you please specify what the fellowship award may be used for, and if there are any restrictions?

The fellowship award is intended to support fellow time, help defray living expenses during the fellowship, and expenses related to project development, management, and execution. Restrictions: the fellowship award may not be used for the following purposes:

  • To influence any member of Congress, state, or local legislator to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation with respect to this agreement.
  • For publicity or propaganda purposes, for the preparation, distribution, or use of any kit, pamphlet, booklet, publication, radio, television, or film presentation designed to support or defeat legislation pending before the Congress or state and local legislatures.
  • To pay the salary or expenses of any grant or contract recipient, or agent acting for such recipient, related to any activity designed to influence legislation or appropriation pending before the Congress or state and local legislatures.

Can the funding be used to help pay for a research assistant at the university level? Will this depend on if you're able to release the funds to the university for them to be able to disperse to a student worker?

No, the fellowship award may only fund the fellow directly.

I am a student; can I use part of the stipend to cover tuition?

No, the stipend is intended to support fellow time, help defray living expenses during the fellowship, and expenses related to project development, management, and execution. This does not include tuition.

Can the fellowship award be used for presenting research at other professional conferences?

Yes, a portion of the fellowship award may be used for registration and travel expenses to present at professional meetings. Conference presentations are encouraged as part of the dissemination process for a fellowship project.

Can fellowship be used to purchase resource materials on fall prevention that may not be available for free?

Yes, if the resource materials are directly tied to accomplishing the goals and objectives of a fellowship project, then a portion of the fellowship award can be used for this purpose. 

Can you elaborate on budget aspects?

A budget is not required for the fellowship program.

If the fellow’s employer is a university, may the university take indirect costs from the fellowship award?

An institution may not take an indirect rate from the fellowship stipend. The university may charge an Institutional Allowance to cover their costs associated with the fellowship. The Institutional Allowance must come out of the fellowship award (and may not be added to it). 

Is there the expectation that fellows would be engaged in ongoing falls prevention related activities after the one year beyond their capstone project?

Yes, the fellowship program aims to cultivate new leaders in falls prevention, and fellows are expected to be engaged in ongoing falls prevention-related activities after the end of the fellowship. This could take different forms, for example: joining one’s state falls prevention coalition, keeping up with falls-related research, exploring ways to leverage what the fellow did in their fellowship, and continuing to be a leader in the field and championing the falls-related focus areas of their fellowship. 

Will another opportunity like this be available next year? 

It has not yet been determined if funding will be available to support another fellowship opportunity. 

How does NCOA work in falls prevention?

NCOA is funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to lead the National Falls Prevention Resource Center. The National Falls Prevention Resource Center (NFPRC) provides leadership, guidance, and technical assistance to the falls prevention network of partners, including ACL-funded Falls Prevention grantees, state and local aging and public health agencies, and community-based organizations to increase public awareness about the risk of falls and how to prevent them.

The Resource Center also serves as a national clearinghouse to highlight and share best practices, resources, and information on evidence-based falls prevention programs and other evidence-based programs and practices. 

The Fellowship Program will support the mission and efforts of the National Falls Prevention Resource Center by exploring gaps in service and barriers to service delivery, identifying solutions, and advancing systems change approaches to address the barriers that many providers encounter in their work to support the health, safety, and independence of the older adults they serve. 

Please email with any questions regarding the National Falls Prevention Fellowship program opportunity.