The Distinguished Career Award is AcademyHealth’s highest career award, recognizing leaders who have made significant and lasting contributions to the field of health services research (HSR). Awardees have impacted the field through advancement of science and methods, leadership, mentorship, scholarship and teaching, and/or the application of health services and policy evidence to improve health and health care. Recipients are established leaders in the field, and may reflect expertise and impact across multiple sectors (e.g. academic, government, delivery systems, industry), and disciplines. They may be based in the U.S. or elsewhere internationally. The award will be presented at the Annual Research Meeting and the winner will receive one complimentary registration and one night lodging to the conference.

2022 Recipient


John headshot

John F. Holahan, Ph.D.

Institute Fellow - The Urban Institute

John F. Holahan, (Ph.D. in Economics, Georgetown University), is the founder of the Urban Institute’s Health P... Read Bio

Nomination Timeline


The nomination period is now closed.

Eligibility and Nomination Criteria


  • Nominees must have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to the field as would be expected from a career or ‘capstone’ award. Careers spanning 25 or more years will be typical.
  • Nominees from minority-serving institutions and individuals from minoritized and historically excluded groups are encouraged. 
  • Nominations must include two letters of nomination: 
    • Letter reflecting on the contributions of the nominee, including a description of the nominee's specific contributions to health services research (described in sufficient detail to distinguish these from generic activities). Nominators should describe the corresponding significance and/or impact of these contributions, especially as they relate to Distinguished Achievement and Review Criteria.
    • Letter from at least one mentee, current or past, outlining service as a mentor and how the nominee has trained emerging leaders. 
  • Nominations must include a curriculum vitae
  • Self-nominations are accepted. 
  • Nominees and nominators must be members of AcademyHealth.
  • Distinguished Achievement may include activities such as (1) Contributions of lasting value, (2) Leadership role(s), (3) Development of new ideas, techniques, methodologies or technologies, (4) Outstanding service to multiple organizations serving the field

Review Criteria


  • Unique and lasting contributions to the field of health services and policy research
    • Advancement of science and methods through development of new ideas, frameworks, analytic techniques, methodologies, or technologies
  • Meaningful service to the field of HSR including mentoring and training emerging and diverse leaders 
  • Demonstrable impact or legacy
    • Contributions that had measurable impact on our health care system through their research, advocacy, government service or private sector leadership
    • Outstanding service to multiple organizations serving the field
    • Exemplary application of HSR to improve health and health care delivery, including services to minoritized and historically excluded individuals and communities.
  • Leadership
  • Additional Contributions
    • Contributions of lasting value, i.e., legacy
    • Contributions that may be spectacular and rare

More Information


For awards related questions, please contact Troi Jones.