Najaf Ahmad has vivid childhood memories of helplessly watching as her older sister suffered from perioidic grand mal seizures. Chaos would follow as her frantic parents rushed the family to the hospital. Her sister, who had cerebral palsy, required intensive day to day care. Najaf witnessed her parents' tireless efforts to access sensitive medical care for her sister, build collaborative relationships with providers and struggle with environmental and architectural barriers. As a result, Najaf learned about shortcomings in the health care system firsthand.
Her early experiences fueled a keen interest in public health and health policy, which Najaf believes hold the potential to improve lives on a large scale. She went on to earn a Master’s in Public Health and after spending her early career researching state health policy, Najaf eventually arrived at her current position in communications at RWJF.
The vision of a Culture of Health energizes Najaf's devotion to a vast range of projects. They've included managing campaigns to make health care coverage for all a top national priority, and maintaining visibility of key health policy issues on Capitol Hill through Foundation-sponsored activities with the Alliance for Health Reform. She has also managed key initiatives aimed at building a strong health and health care workforce.
These days Najaf applies her passion for public health to spreading vibrant stories about the Foundation’s work as managing editor of the Culture of Health Blog. She believes in the power of story to deeply inspire audiences and connect them to the Foundation’s brand and mission. In her role, she works closely with staff and leads a team of writers in telling stories about how a Culture of Health is taking shape and impacting lives in communities across the nation. Najaf has also personally written on diverse issues spanning global health, nutrition, and equity while also imparting valuable lessons from leaders and experts.
Najaf earned a Master's degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Administration from the Yale University School of Public Health. She earned a BS in public health from Rutgers, The State University of N.J. where she graduated with honors.
She lives in Lawrence, N.J. with her husband, a pediatric cardiologist, and their children. In her spare time she is an avid traveler and voracious reader. While she's tried to limit the amount of time she spends on her IPhone, Najaf admits to being a podcast junkie.