Jamie Bussel, MPH, a senior program officer who joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2002, is an inspiring, hands-on leader with extensive experience in developing programs and policies that promote the health of children and families. Her work focuses on ensuring that all children have the building blocks for lifelong health. As she puts it: “we must empower all the key stakeholders—parents, health care providers, schools, early childhood centers, policy makers, families, and all the caring adults in a child’s life—to help kids learn, succeed and thrive.”
For many years, Bussel has provided strategic leadership in developing RWJF’s approach to supporting a healthy childhood. Her work has stressed the importance of ensuring that all children have access to healthy environments that support a healthy weight. She also led high-impact national programs, several of which ultimately influenced the development of federal programs. Her efforts to scale-up and spread the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), which increases access to healthy food and stimulates local economies, enabled many states to replicate this approach and motivated the federal government to support it at the national level. And her work with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership helped to leverage more than $180 million in federal funds for improved access, nationwide, to walkable, bikeable, and safe communities.
Bussel is deeply committed to community partnerships that improve public health through changes in local policies and the built environment. She helped design, build and manage one of the foundation’s largest community-action initiatives, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, which addressed the root causes of childhood obesity through integrated changes in policies, practices, social supports, and the physical environment.
A strategic leader and problem solver, Bussel has been the program officer on National Academy of Sciences workshops (“Dynamic Relationships between Biology, Environment and Early Childhood Development on Rise of Childhood Obesity”). She is a keynote speaker at national meetings and serves on the National Academy of Sciences Early Care and Education Innovation Collaborative and the Active Living by Design advisory committee.
Previously, Bussel held research positions at Rutgers University-School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania. She received an MPH in behavioral sciences/health education from the Rutgers University School of Public Health, and a BA in English literature from the University of Michigan.
A New Jersey native, Bussel lives in Bedminster with her husband, two daughters, and rescue dog, Sasha. An advocate for active living, she loves to cook, explore the outdoors with her family, and read just about anything, plus U of Michigan football, and Orangetheory Fitness. Most important, she is passionately committed to a healthier future for all our children.