Health Care

Training the next generation of principled, free-market policy reformers

April 11, 2023

When tackling America’s greatest problems, some watch and worry, and others do something about it.   

Josh Archambault and Scott Darnell are the people who do. With funding from Stand Together Trust, co-founders of Reformers Academy, Archambault, and Darnell, are leveraging their decades of experience in policy to train up the next generation of policy, communications, and advocacy leaders in underserved policy areas — starting with healthcare.   

The challenges America’s healthcare system will face in the coming decades are only expected to grow. National healthcare expenditures are predicted to increase at a higher rate than economic growth, “creating enormous affordability pressure,” according to McKinsey and Company. The United States is facing physician and nurse shortages and the problem is expected to get significantly worse in the coming years. Health care is one of the most regulated industries in America, but this looming crisis calls for a new approach. 

The time for a fundamental change in how America delivers healthcare is now.  Archambault and Darnell know training the next generation can help principled, free-market solutions advance more quickly.  

Archambault has over 15 years of experience working as a health policy researcher and wide-ranging government experience working in 35 states and Washington, D.C., gives Reformers Academy participants a unique perspective on getting meaningful reform across the finish line.   

Darnell’s experience as communications director, spokesman, and deputy chief of staff to a governor means he can quickly train aspiring policymakers in best practices to quickly frame and communicate pressing and difficult public policy challenges and free-market solutions. His experience overseeing half of New Mexico’s cabinet agencies during his time in government gives him an appreciation for the talent pipeline gap and how that gap makes elected officials less effective than they could be.   

Their combined experiences and professional connections enable them to bring in the most effective and innovative leaders in the healthcare field for best-in-class instruction. Their first policy advocacy organization, Health Reformers Academy, which has received funding from Stand Together Trust, is just getting off the ground, and already it’s gaining prominent support and showing promise for positive change.  

Growing interest and support for Reformers Academy 

There are two ways for young professionals to participate in Health Reformers Academy. 

The first is Health Reformers Academy Bootcamp 101. It’s a 1-day “crash course on the basics of America’s healthcare system and advocacy strategies for improving it.”  

“We’re teaching not only subject matter content, but also the skills necessary to drive change inside or outside of government,” says Darnell. 

“The need for knowledgeable policy staff to drive reform of our healthcare system is essential if we want to avoid the coming healthcare crisis and the damage it will cause to our economy as well as the physical health of our communities,” says Archambault. “We need more young Americans to connect the dots on why this policy area is so important and that they have a real opportunity for a rewarding career fighting for reform.” 

Participants in the 101 Bootcamp have come from 23 states, ranging from state legislators, health practitioners, think tank policy staff, and Capitol Hill staffers.   

This sort of engagement is only the beginning

The second – and the linchpin – HRA opportunity is a Fellowship, an intensive cohort-based training program. Curated readings, webinars, and hands-on learning assignments give participants a strong knowledge base in healthcare policy and “change-maker” skills. Participants will not only be networked with other participants in the cohort, living and working across the country, but they will also be given direct connections to mentors in various sectors of healthcare policy work. After the fellowship, which is a few months long, individuals will have gained knowledge, skills, and connections comparable to working years in the field.   

The first cohort of 14 fellows has already found jobs on Capitol Hill and at think tanks and had their capstone projects published. They have learned from experts who have run the Medicare program, overseen state Medicaid programs, served as senior health advisors at the White House, and worked at the highest levels of state government. 

Longtime leaders inside and outside of government and health care see the value of HRA’s work and are also eager to help.   

Former Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico attended an HRA event and shared with them her support of their efforts: 

“Certainly, one of the things that was challenging {as Governor} was to find enough well-trained health care policy staff … there just isn’t enough to tap into in state government.”  

The former governor is on the executive advisory board of HRA, alongside leaders across government, health care, and business who make up the board of directors and policy advisory board, too.  

Solving the problems Americans face in health care will demand expertise across the spectrum of medicine, policy, business, and more. Our country can’t afford principled leaders who can create change and sit on the sidelines, watching and worrying.   

“We want you — no, we need you — to help save the American experiment by fixing healthcare. It’s time to demand better outcomes — and more transparency and accountability — from our healthcare system. Our quality of life, economically and physically, depends on it,” Archambault says.  

To learn more about Reformers Academy and how to get involved, visit