Michelle A. Larkin, JD, MS, RN, assistant vice president and deputy director for RWJF’s Health Group, helps to shape the Foundation’s strategies and policies. She views her role as one of “contributing to the Foundation’s intellectual and organizational development, and managing program operations to ensure that we meet RWJF’s goals of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic, driving fundamental improvements in the nation’s public health system, and addressing the needs of the country’s most vulnerable populations.”
Larkin also co-leads the Foundation’s major initiative on public health law. In this capacity, she strives to establish effective public health laws, regulations and policies; enhances the public health law infrastructure to support practitioners, advocates and their legal counsel in improving health; and promotes the use of law in fields that impact health.
In supporting the Foundation’s commitment to tackling some of the nation’s toughest health and health care problems through evidence and policy, Larkin seeks to fulfill the promise she made to herself early in her career: “to create a positive impact on the lives of many and make it easier for people to live healthier lives.”
Previously, Larkin directed the Foundation’s Public Health team in its work to improve federal, state, and local public health systems, build the evidence for effective public health practice and policy, and advocate for the use of law and policy to improve health. From 2003 through 2006, she co-led the Foundation’s Tobacco team, promoting increased tobacco excise taxes, state and local smoke-free air laws, and funding for tobacco prevention and treatment. She has also worked on the Foundation’s key areas of nursing, leadership development, and end-of-life care.
Before joining the Foundation, Larkin worked as a health policy analyst at the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, D.C., developing and analyzing policy proposals related to state, national and international tobacco prevention and control and contributing to the development of Healthy People 2010. She served as a Presidential Management Fellow, working as a policy analyst at CDC and as a legislative fellow for the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Previously, she was an oncology nurse at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, Md.
Larkin is a member of the American Public Health Association, the Public Health Law Association, the American Bar Association and the New Jersey Bar. She also serves on the National Board of Public Health Examiners.
Larkin received a JD from Seton Hall University School of Law, an MS in nursing/health policy from the University of Maryland and a BSN from the University of Pennsylvania. She and her spouse have one child and live in Bordentown City, N.J. She enjoys martial arts competitions, distance walking, and plays a “mean” game of Scrabble.