Kimberly Elliott

Director of Policy Outreach

Kimberly Elliott, a distinguished policy expert with long experience in shaping public policy and in the federal government, joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2013 as director of policy outreach. Located in Washington, Elliott helps to marshal the Foundation’s various policy-related resources to achieve a greater impact on critical health and health care issues at the national level. In executing this goal, she provides policy-makers with evidence-based information and research about RWJF programs in order to help inform their work on issues that impact the health of Americans.

Before joining the Foundation, Elliott served as associate director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). She served as principal advisor to the CTP director, with day-to-day responsibilities for coordinating the FDA’s tobacco regulation activities.

Prior to her work at the FDA, Elliott served as the deputy director at the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making disease prevention a national priority. A leading national expert on pandemic influenza preparedness policy, she co-authored a number of reports on cutting-edge public health issues. Previously, she was the chief operating officer for the worldwide Special Olympics movement for nine years. In this role, she oversaw the global expansion of the nonprofit sports program to more than 160 nations. Elliott also served as the Special Olympics liaison with the White House, members of Congress, various Cabinet and government agencies, and several foreign nations and their embassies in Washington. In 1995, she conducted a series of public policy forums at Yale University and the United Nations that focused on the global rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

During the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska, she organized a U.S. Senate field hearing on the health status of people with developmental disabilities. This hearing culminated in a landmark report issued by the U.S. Surgeon General. Elliott has devoted much of her career to celebrating the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.

For nearly a decade, Elliott served as a senior advisor and legislative director to former Senator Lowell Weicker of Connecticut. From 1992 to 1995, she was then-Governor Weicker’s special assistant on the Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee, an event that drew 9,000 athletes from nearly 150 nations.

Elliott graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University and received an MA degree in Spanish Literature from the Universidad de Granada, Spain. She has taught courses in political science, government, and disability policy at The University of Virginia, George Washington University, and The Johns Hopkins University. She also served as a member of the 20th Century Fund’s Task Force on the Common School, which issued its landmark report, Divided, We Fail. She has written or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on a wide range of issues, including pandemic influenza, emerging infectious diseases, and developmental disabilities.

Born in Phoenix, Ariz., she now resides in Bethesda, Md., with her husband, Mark, a mutual funds executive. She enjoys swimming, volunteering with her family at Special Olympics events, and teaching herself new languages in addition to the several in which she is already fluent. 

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