James S. Marks, MD, MPH, senior vice president, directs all program and administrative activities of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's work on strengthening vulnerable families, violence prevention, catalyzing demand for healthy places, bridging health and health care, and disparity reduction.
Prior to joining RWJF in 2004, Marks retired as assistant surgeon general after serving as director of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for almost a decade. Throughout his tenure at CDC, Marks developed and advanced systematic ways to prevent and detect diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; reduce tobacco use; and address the nation’s growing epidemic of obesity.
A national leader in public health who has been an advocate of strengthening public health systems and services for more than 35 years, Marks has received numerous federal, state, and private awards, including the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Award, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Pump Handle Award, the Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Directors’ Award for Excellence, the American Cancer Society’s Distinguished Service Award, and the National Arthritis Foundation’s Special Award of Appreciation. In 2004, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine. He is emeritus board chair of C-Change, whose members are the nation’s key cancer leaders from government, business, and nonprofit sectors. He has published extensively in the areas of maternal and child health, health promotion, and chronic disease prevention, and has served on many government and nonprofit committees devoted to improving the public’s health.
Marks received an MD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He trained as a pediatrician at the University of California at San Francisco, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University, where he received his MPH. He and his wife, Judi, a retired high school guidance counselor, live in Princeton and have two children, both pursuing careers in medicine.