One of the most important aspects of a fellowship program is determining how it will be funded and how to make it a sustainable program. The OMFC recommends having a 5-year sustainability plan that includes a detailed expense and revenue budget.

There are a number of ways to fund fellowship programs. Early in the process, you should:

  • Reach out to your institution’s graduate medical education office early in the planning process. You may be able to connect with other fellowships at your institution and learn how they funded their programs.
  • Connect with your institution’s development office. This office can be vital in connecting you with potential funders and helping with applications for funding.

Obesity Medicine Fellowship Program Development Grant

The Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council (OMFC) has been awarded grant funding to help expand fellowship opportunities. The OMFC will select qualified programs to receive seed funding to aid in establishing new obesity medicine fellowship programs. The application deadlines are March 1 and July 1, 2024.  Click here to access the funding application.

Click to see frequently asked questions regarding this funding:

  • Who is eligible to apply for the OMFC funding?
    • Obesity Medicine Fellowship programs in development that will provide full-time training of physicians may apply for this funding.
  • What types of costs can the OMFC funding cover?
    • You may request funding for expenses related to the fellowship program. All applications must come with a detailed budget justification.
  • How many programs will the OMFC be able to fund?
    • The OMFC has budgeted for support of at least 8 new programs until the end of 2025.
  • Can fellowship programs have more than one fellow?
    • Fellowship programs can be of any size but the amount of funding from the OMFC is limited to approximately 50% of 1 fellow’s salary for 2 years (a maximum of $100,000).
  • Can all the funding be used in the first year?
    • No. The budget should reflect no less than 2 years and no more than 3 years of funding support. 
  • Can I include indirect costs in the budget?
    • Yes, the OMFC can include up to 10% indirect costs (total funding of $110,000).
  • Whom should I name as the institutional official responsible for financial management of outside educational grants?
    • This person should have the authority to accept the OMFC’s indirect cost rate of 10%. It is the person who would sign a cover page for an NIH grant application. Example titles include: Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, Chief Financial Officer, or Director of the Office of Grants and Contracts, among others. 
  • Does my proposed program need to be approved by my institution’s GME oversight committee?
    • The program needs to be approved by the time of funding, but not by the time of application.
  • Can the Obesity Medicine Fellowship be a part of a different fellowship program, for example, an additional year of focused obesity training in an Endocrinology fellowship?
    • To be eligible for this funding, programs need to be independent Obesity Medicine Fellowship Programs, separate from other fellowships.
  • Which department should the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Program be housed under?
    • Programs are ideally housed in Departments of Medicine, Family Medicine, or Pediatrics. We do not recommend housing obesity medicine fellowships in surgical departments. Oversight of obesity medicine fellowships should be provided locally by the home institution’s Department of Medicine education office and GME committee.
  • What are the faculty requirements? 
    • The Program Director must be an ABOM Diplomate and have an academic or equivalent educational leadership appointment, preferably in the Department of Medicine, Family Medicine, or Pediatrics.  Program Directors with appointments in Surgery will be asked to seek out a dual appointment in Medicine. 
    • There should be at least one other faculty member with a specialized expertise in obesity medicine, in addition to the faculty members who will oversee other core and elective rotations (e.g., sleep medicine, psychiatry, endocrinology, hepatology, etc.). 
  • What should be included in the letter of support from my institution? 
    • Leadership from your institution should pledge their support of your program administratively and financially. For programs that will use clinical revenue generated by fellows to sustain the program financially, the chair of your department or the responsible institutional financial official should state that they will commit funds to support the program for at least five years in the event of any shortfall in projected clinical revenue.
  • What is the source of funding for this program?
    • Novo Nordisk has provided a grant to support this Fellowship Development Program. The funding is in the form of an unrestricted educational grant. The grant funding is being managed by The Obesity Society under the direction of the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council.
    • The American Board of Obesity Medicine provides in-kind support for the staffing of the Obesity Medicine Fellowship Council.

Other Possible Funding Sources:

1. Clinical revenue

Depending on the volume of patients, some portion or all of the fellowship budget can be supported by reimbursement arrangements for clinical services. Reach out to OMFC members to discuss how obesity medicine fellows at other institutions generate clinical revenue to help support their positions.

2. Institutional support

The academic departments, residency programs, or clinical units in your institution may contribute some degree of support. Fellowships may receive “in kind” help from experienced Program Coordinators and other administrators who work with other GME programs. Fellowships also often share facilities and equipment with residencies and departments.

3. Private sector support

Philanthropic donors, both large and small, can greatly benefit fellowship programs. Businesses in your area that have an interest in healthcare, your institution, or obesity treatment specifically may also be interested in supporting your program.

4. Government grants

Because Obesity Medicine is not a recognized subspecialty, direct federal funding is not currently available; however, research and training grants may be helpful to some programs as an indirect source of support if obesity-related grant activities complement scholarly activities in the fellowship (e.g., a grant-funded faculty member mentoring a fellow in obesity research).